Sally-Anne Martyn – Q&A

The Clinic by Sally-Anne Martyn was published by Joffe Books on 3 October 2022.

Sally-Anne kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about The Clinic

The Clinic is a dark thriller set in an ex-asylum. It tells the story of Jenny, an ex-patient who escaped in the 90’s. A local developer pays her to go back into the building to investigate a new diet & beauty clinic that has set up. When she agrees and goes back, she finds things aren’t as bad as when she was last there, they are now much, much worse.

2. What inspired the book?

In the mid 1990’s I worked in one of the last Victorian asylums in England. It was a strange experience in a very dark environment which left its mark on me. I always wondered what would happen to the building when it finally closed, and years later I came up with a diet clinic run by a mysterious female doctor.

3. Do you plan before you start writing or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

I usually choose the setting first, somewhere with dark potential, because this is what I am drawn to (I have been on more than one ‘ghost hunt’!). Then the characters that might inhabit this place and then the story. I know the beginning, part of the journey and the end and make a few notes. Then I sit down and write to see where it takes me, stopping at about 50k words and making sure everything works. I then go back to the beginning and start the second draft and keep working from there.

4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?

How long everything takes. I thought you would find an agent; the book would sell straightaway and the come out within the year! Each part of the journey takes time, and you have to learn to be patient and resilient (especially useful for the rejections that inevitably come). It was my second book that sold, so by the time got an agent I had been writing for two years, then two years after that it was published.

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

Even when I’m not writing, if there’s a book in progress, I’m always thinking about it! When walking with the dogs or feeding my (pet) pigs, it takes over. If I want to switch off, I’ll listen to audiobooks, podcasts or watch horror films.

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

The Magic Cottage by James Herbert, preferably on audiobook. I didn’t often get stories read to me as a child as we were a busy family, now I find them extremely comforting, even the scary ones!

7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

I haven’t been asked about the things that scare me, which is probably because it’s clear from my writing and choices of books / films that I enjoy a scare. The answer is that true crime scares me, being alone at night in a deserted area is the things of true nightmares, fiction is removed from that.

About the Book

Three women with something to hide.
A beauty clinic in a former asylum.
One deadly secret.

Jenny: a troubled woman who spent time at the clinic when it was an asylum.

Amy: a guest at the clinic who will do anything to transform her body.

Rebecca: the doctor who will stop at nothing to make the clinic successful.

What happens to them at the clinic will change everything . . .

Just don’t go down into the basement.

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