Laura Salters is a YA/NA suspense author (represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media Inc) from Berwick-upon-Tweed, the northernmost town in England. Her debut novel, RUN AWAY, will be published by HarperCollins (Witness Impulse) on 05/05/15. When Laura isn't writing, reading or thinking about writing or reading, she's a music lover (and terrible singer), pet cuddler, beach-goer, runner (*cough* jogger), passionate foodie, caffeine addict, tennis player, lipstick wearer, Harry Potter fangirl (yes, still), housework dodger and relentless chatterbox.
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Where did the idea come from for your story?
I’d been going through a two year-long phase of obsessively reading crime fiction, from courtroom dramas to fast-paced thrillers to cosy mysteries. And I kept seeing the same protagonists over and over again: the exiled detective determined to prove himself, the fiesty young cop, the former FBI agent. And I just thought, what would happen if I threw some of John Green’s characters into a Harlan Coben-style situation? What would happen if a drunken party holiday turned bad? I’ve used all the components I love to read in RUN AWAY – witty banter, exotic locations, psychological suspense. I hope the result is as exciting as I wanted it to be!
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’d be lying if I said yes! I mean, you can attach meaning to anything in retrospect. So while I’ve always loved to read and write, I don’t remember consciously thinking, “Yes, this is what I need to do with my life.” Throughout the years, I’ve wanted to be an artist, a vet, an actress, a fashion designer, a doctor, an entrepreneur...but the writing thing seemed to prevail through it all. And when I found myself studying a creative writing module during my journalism degree, that’s when the penny dropped. As cliché as it sounds, it was a lightning bolt moment. I knew I’d found my passion.
Who inspires you?
So many people! Mainly kick-ass women. Malala Yousafzai, Emma Watson, Sophia Bush, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Michelle Obama, JK Rowling. My mum. My best friend, Toria, and her beautiful daughter Millie.
Any tips for people who want to become authors?
Persevere. Even when you think your work sucks, persevere. You wouldn’t get halfway through a marathon and think, “Well, I’ve got this far, but I think I could have done it better, so I’ll go back and do the first half again.” It’s the same with writing – don’t get halfway through a project and be tempted to go back and edit the first half. Reach the end. Once you have a first draft, then you can think about editing, restructuring and polishing. Oh, and you should, you know, still go outside and stuff. Don’t let writing take over your life. Look after yourself, socialise, work out, relax. Writers burn out a lot, and it’s entirely our own fault. It’s so important to maintain balance in your life.
How do you get past writers’ block?
I don’t believe in writers’ block! I worked as a magazine journalist for two years, and in that industry, you just have to churn out thousands of words a day, even if you’re not feeling it. You have to let go of preciousness and self-awareness and just...write. That’s trained me well for a career in fiction writing – I tend to power through most blah days!
Who are some of your favourite authors?
There’s the obvious ones, like JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien, and my childhood wouldn’t have been so imaginative and creative if it wasn’t for Enid Blyton and her fantastical worlds (and she legitimately named two kids’ characters Dick and Fanny, which will never not be hilarious). In terms of crime and mystery, I love Sophie Hannah, SJ Bolton and Gillian Flynn. And lately I’ve been on a huge YA dystopian/fantasy kick, so I’m loving Victoria Aveyard, Sara Raasch, Leigh Bardugo, Veronica Roth (all my New Leaf sisters!) and Tahereh Mafi. I’m sure if you ask me again next month, my answers will be completely different!
Drenched in blood and sitting in the sweltering interview room of a Thai police station, Kayla Finch knows that Sam, the love of her life, is dead. It doesn't matter that there's no body. All that blood can only mean one thing.
It isn't the first time Kayla's had blood on her hands. After finding her brother dead by his own hand, she tried to outrun her grief by escaping to Thailand. Heart-broken, the last thing she expected was to find love on the smoggy streets of Bangkok. But everyone Kayla loves seems to wind up dead.
Returning home to England, Kayla is left with a barely-functioning family, a string of gruesome nightmares and the niggling feeling that nothing is as it seems. And as she confronts her brother's suicide, she starts to suspect that something is very wrong.
Three months. Two tragedies. One connection: there's more to both cases than anyone is willing to admit. And Kayla’s determined to uncover the truth…no matter what the cost.