Clare Carson is the author of new thriller Orkney Twilight. She tells us a bit more about where the idea for the book came from and about her writing life.
"Jim says he's an undercover policeman. His daughter Sam thinks he's a liar. On holiday in Orkney, beneath an endless midsummer sky, Sam spies on Jim as he runs secretive errands across the island. What did he take from the old watchtower on the edge of a cliff? Why is he so interested in Norse mythology? And why does Sam have the eerie feeling that she too is being watched? When Sam finally discovers the truth, it will draw her into a dangerous world of darkness and deception."
Orkney Twilight by Clare Carson is out now from Head of Zeus for £14.99.
Sum up your book in three words
Someone is watching.
Where did the initial idea come from?
My dad was an undercover cop when I was a kid. I always knew he was doing something secret. I didn’t know exactly what. As an adult, I saw a television documentary about his job and all my strange childhood perceptions fell into place. I wanted to convert that experience into a story. The book is supposed to be unsettling, because that’s what it was like...
How was the title chosen?
My original title was Pocket Litter – that’s a spy term for the stuff in your pockets that gives away your identity. Bus tickets, sweet wrappers, receipts. I thought it was a brilliant title. Unfortunately, nobody else did, apart from my mum. So I suggested Orkney Twilight, and everybody loved it. Apart from my mum. Now I’ve seen the book cover I have to say that this is one of those rare occasions when my mum was completely wrong.
What is your writing routine?
Get up, wave girls off to school, run upstairs to attic, turn on computer, write. Hopefully keep writing until daughters come home from school. Sometimes I carry on writing while shouting directions down the stairs about remembering to switch the grill off and I feel like I’m a one-person cheap airline – dishing out instructions about snacks and safety while trying to keep an aging plane from crashing.
Which book do you wish you’d written?
The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
What is your favourite word in the English language?
Who is your favourite fictional character?
I still think it’s hard to beat Alice from Alice in Wonderland. A feisty girl, not given to navel-gazing. She manages to defy her creator as well as the passing of time.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Part of me is forever hoping to discover that I possess the powers of the Old Ones. If my radio crackles when I pass, I allow myself a moment of thinking it must be because I exude some strange disruptive current before I acknowledge that, more likely, the batteries are dying.
Which book are you recommending to everyone at the moment?
Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi. Set in Portugal, 1938. It conveys difficult political and emotional truths without resorting to cliché or tricks.
What do books and reading mean to you?
They are my food.