Today I am pleased to welcome Rachel Sargeant on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some fascinating answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I like writing the world exactly how I want it. Characters say what I want them to say and I can even control the weather. I find the first draft very hard but I quite like editing and will spend ages – a year probably – redrafting. After the writing’s finished and the book is out there, it’s both exciting and nerve-racking to find out what readers think. It’s the best feeling in the world when someone likes something I’ve written, and it’s kind of them to tell me.
Who is your favourite character in your books and why?
I have a soft spot for Louisa in my psychological thriller, The Perfect Neighbours. She’s a bit of a fright with her regimented coffee mornings and stifling dinner parties, but she was fun to write. I‘ve tried to hint at her vulnerable side and hope I’ve done her justice.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Black coffee mostly and, if my husband’s at home, he makes delicious Chinese tea.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Flicking to social media every five minutes.
How do you research your books?
I stockpile newspaper articles that I think would make interesting ideas for plot. When I get round to writing them, I research the source stories online. If I want to include a particular issue, I trawl the internet. To create my settings I visit places that are like the place I’m trying to describe. When I was writing Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty, set on a hospital ship during World War One, I did extensive research online and in books. I was impressed with how many books my local library service was able to provide. I included an extensive bibliography at the end of the novel.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotting all the way. In life, I make lists and plan the week or month ahead. I adopt the same process in writing. I have to know where I’m going as I’m not good at spontaneity.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I quite like the look of St Mary Mead – not too much traffic and lots of afternoon tea. Shame about the murders.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
I’d rather like to meet Poirot’s chum, Captain Hastings. I’m sure he’d be the perfect gentleman with interesting stories to tell of his time in the British Army and in Argentina.
About the Book
The perfect neighbours tell the perfect lies… When Helen moves to Germany with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to join the expat community of teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare.
Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret… As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace.
When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the neighbourhood, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything.
About the Author
Rachel Sargeant grew up in Lincolnshire. The Perfect Neighbours is her third novel. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. Rachel has a degree in German and Librarianship from Aberystwyth University and a Masters in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. She spent several years living in Germany where she taught English and she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.