Today I’m pleased to welcome Holly Seddon to the blog. Holly is the author of Try Not to Breathe and her latest novel, Don’t Close Your Eyes was published by Corvus on 6 July 2017.
Today Holly is talking about her favourite new books.
One of my favourite things about being an author – besides the writing itself – is getting to read proof copies of novels before they’re released. As velvet ropes go, it’s one of the finest to sneak under.
The flipside is that when I’m writing or editing, I have to be careful what I read and I have far less time in which to read, leading to some serious cases of AFOMO (author fear of missing out).
I can’t read anything too similar to my work in progress in case I absorb the style and unconsciously try to ape it, or (probably more likely) have a gigantic secret crisis because I feel like the draft I’m wrestling with can never match the polished genius of someone else’s finished product. So with the major edits on book three under my belt, I’ve been delighted to be able to catch up on some published books I’ve been waiting to read, and tuck into some fresh meat coming out soon.
So Happy It Hurts – Anneliese Mackintosh
I loved story collection Any Other Mouth with a fury, so when I read that Anneliese Mackintosh was bringing out a novel, I pre-ordered it as soon as I could.
So Happy It Hurts is a novel built with the fragments of a person’s life over a year. Emails, texts, receipts, Snapchat messages and straight – devastatingly good – prose. It’s brave, risky in some ways, but builds to an emotional crescendo that leaves a real mark on the reader. And because this probably makes it sound intense and difficult (it isn’t), I want to underline that it’s incredibly witty and easy to read.
An Act of Silence – Colette McBeth
I was given a sampler of this in October 2016 and had been desperately waiting to get my hands on the whole thing ever since. I downloaded it a few Sundays ago and had nearly finished it by the Tuesday, it’s incredibly compelling.
What starts as a seemingly straightforward family crime drama snowballs into a huge, sweeping and damningly moving novel taking in politics, the media, family dynamics, outrageous cover-ups, working women, vulnerable kids, guilt, shame and corruption at every level.
Colette McBeth just gets better and better, but this was something really special.
(I happen to have also read this – you can read my review here)
Sirens – Joseph Knox
I saw Joseph Knox speak at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and when he described a scene in The Great Gatsby that had partially inspired the opening chapters of his debut, Sirens, my ears pricked up. When he talked about walking around Manchester at night, trying to outpace his insomnia and getting to know the darker underbelly of one of my favourite cities, and how that had informed Sirens, I knew I’d read it as soon as I got home. And I did. In two days.
The plot tears along, it’s beautifully crafted and I don’t think the pace ever lets up. Not one sag, not one dip. It’s exceptional.
Anything You Do Say – Gillian McAllister
Out in ebook November 2017 and available to pre-order
I loved Gillian McAllister’s debut, Everything But The Truth, but her follow-up Anything You Do Say is really something special. After a night out, Joanna hears footsteps behind her on a dark London street. Moments later, her would-be attacker is lying at the motionless at the bottom of steep steps and Joanna has to choose her next course of action: fight or flight.
What follows is an intricately plotted exploration of the decisions we make and the paths they set us on. Think Sliding Doors meets Apple Tree Yard.
Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan
Out January 2018 and available to pre-order
A vast novel that starts with a relatively simple question: did a dashing and prominent politician rape the junior member of staff with whom he had an affair? From there – the eye of the scandal – Sarah Vaughan takes the reader on a journey that explores truth, marriage, politics and whether we can ever truly escape our pasts. A seductive and compelling novel whose pages I just couldn’t stop turning until the end.
About the book
Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.
Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…
And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.
But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…
About the author
Holly Seddon is a freelance journalist whose work has been published on national newspaper websites, magazines and leading consumer websites. As a mother of four, Holly divides her time between writing articles, walking her miniature Schnauzer and chasing homework-evaders around the room. And then doing some more writing when night falls. Try Not to Breathe was her first novel; Don’t Close Your Eyes is out now.