How often do you Lie? Jody discusses this.

I Never Lie Book Cover I Never Lie
Jody Sabral
psychological, mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Canelo
11th June 2018
Kindle

Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit?

Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic who is teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. When a series of murders occur within a couple of miles of her East London home she is given another chance to prove her skill and report the unfolding events. She thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?

This gripping psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Fiona Barton, B A Paris and Clare Mackintosh.

An Interview with Jody Sabral

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

I think the topic chose me in a way. I lived with an alcoholic for a year and felt the need to write about it in a realistic way. To capture the absolute denial of it and what the impact of that can be on everyone who comes into contact with it. I think it’s unique in the sense that I lived up close with it and therefore have a real passion for the issue. I’m not just using it as a plot ploy in a flippant manner. I hope it starts a positive conversation around alcoholism as I feel it’s something that is lacking in this country. I’ve always felt that literature and art can have a much longer lasting impact than that of news, the other business I’m in, so I guess I wanted to bring this to my novel, which I hope is also extremely entertaining. I still recall scenes from books I read ten or fifteen years ago and they make me think differently about the world we live in.

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

 Not really, for me it’s a very organic process. I think we all have themes in our lives that we feel strongly about for one reason or another and my writing is born from that. I’ve just completed a screenplay in which the main themes were born out of reading an article in the newspaper and a conversation with my niece. I felt strongly about the issues so I wanted to write about them.

3. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

It depends. I tend to pull off my experiences and those of friends. I’m not writing police procedurals. Yes, I have an investigation and an investigator but the emphasis is on the characters affected by it and the impact it has on them. So I tend to write about people’s emotions, which I think is about connections and the human condition. People fascinate me, so my writing is born out of conversations with others and observations about how people deal with a crisis.

How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

As a journalist I’ve always found them very helpful and happy to cooperate. I have contacts who will read to see if it’s plausible and they will tell me if it’s not working.

5. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I’m proud to say upwards of sixty-five rejections in my writing career. Obviously with this novel it was different as my agent handled those rejections. But with the two earlier books, the first CHANGING BORDERS I sent it out to almost thirty agents and got a heap of rejections. The second, THE MOVEMENT, which I won the CWA Debut Dagger for got me lots of interest from agents, yet many more rejections. I met my agent on the back end of those rejections. He had the foresight to ask me what I was working on next and a partnership was formed. He’s been with me since the conception of I NEVER LIE and it’s a very supportive and nurturing relationship. Finally I have someone behind me, believing in my work. What I will say to aspiring writers is just keep at it, at some point something will give.

Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

I think you self-publish because you want to put it out there. To move on to a new project. To draw a line under it. But self-publishing has its pitfalls. Selling a book is a full time job.

Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I found self-publishing to be a very tough sell even though I had an audience of millions at the time that I wrote CHANGING BORDERS because I was a foreign correspondent on TV regularly. I write. I’m not a marketing person so I found that part of it tricky. It depends on your skills. If you’re good at sales and marketing I suppose you’d be in with a better chance than me. I don’t think there’s one perfect route. It’s a personal journey, but the important point is that you keep writing because at the end of the day it’s the words that will eventually pay off and resonate with someone. I like the support I have with an agent and publisher behind me because writing is a solitary job.

Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Not yet. This is my first novel to be released via a publisher, so let’s see!

What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

I haven’t done a book tour yet, so not sure I can answer this. But some interesting people have a copy of my first book. Sir Patrick Stewart has one via someone I met on a plane, and the musician Moby. I inscribed on Moby’s copy, ‘if you like it Tweet it!’ Obviously he didn’t, but you have to be your own ambassador for your work in a competitive environment. Maybe one day he’ll tweet about I NEVER LIE, who knows!

What do you read when you are ill in bed?

I don’t get ill very often. I write a lot in bed though.

 What is your favourite genre?

Crime obviously. I like Sci-fi too because it makes you think about the bigger questions in life as in ‘why are we here?’

If you recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

That’s tough because there are so many amazing authors dead and alive. J G Ballard is my all time fav. Living, there’s just so many. It’s like asking me what my favourite song is, it changes all the time. I really love Gillian Flynn, S J Watson, Nicki French, John Le Carre’s earlier works…. I mean the list just goes on.

Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre?

Dan Brown possibly? I’m not a literary writer. It’s pacy and not overly descriptive. I don’t read as much as I used to, which may shock some people, but that’s because I find that other writer’s voices get into my own and presently I’m trying to hone my own, which I think I did with I NEVER LIE. I found my voice with this book and that’s a very satisfying feeling.

In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?

I think the best comedy writers of the moment for me are Sharon Horgan and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, oh and Charlie Brooker, but they write for TV, which I’m also attempting to do after attending an evening class in screenwriting. I tend to watch more comedy on TV than read it in books.

Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

When I was retraining from journalist to novelist during my MA at City University I used to copy sentences from Raymond Chandler’s books word for word into a notebook then change the adjectives for my own, I did this so I could try to capture the show aspect of writing rather than tell. As a broadcast journalist I’ve had to work on my description a lot because news writing is stripped back and we don’t use a lot of adjectives. I think Chandler’s writing is all about the atmosphere, which he creates through even just describing the materials in a room. He is my guru of descriptive writing.

What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

Sadly, they’ve been lost over the years as I left home at sixteen and moved endlessly to a million different flats and many countries. So if you find a diary in a charity shop somewhere one day that has me name in it, please return it to me!

About the Author

Jody Sabral is based in London, where she works as a Foreign Desk editor and video producer at the BBC. She is a graduate of the MA in Crime Fiction at City University, London. Jody worked as a journalist in Turkey for ten years, covering the region for various international broadcasters. She self-published her first book Changing Borders in 2012 and won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2014 for her second novel The Movement . In addition to working for the BBC, Jody also writes for the Huffington Post , AlMonitor and BRICS Post .

Twitter: @jsabral

I Never Lie will be followed by Dont Blame Me in early 2019, which will explore the dark side of instant celebrity culture and the deadly  consequences of overnight success.

Canelo books can be found on Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Google Books – some books will be limited to UK publication places only:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

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The Unwelcome Gift

Marriage Pact Book Cover Marriage Pact
Michelle Richmond
psychological, mystery, suspense, contemporary
Michael Joseph
July 27, 2017
432

Alice and Jake are the perfect couple - sort of. On the day of their wedding, a stranger offers them the chance to join a mysterious group, known as The Pact. With its promise of a lifelong marriage of happiness, Jake and Alice are persuaded to accept. The goals of the society seem sound - and the couple are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, sense of community and like-minded couples. But then one of them breaks the rules. Alice and Jake are about to discover that, like marriage, The Pact is for life. The members will go to any lengths to ensure nobody leaves - until the marriage of their dreams becomes their worst nightmare. Under The Pact, 'Til death do us part' has a whole new meaning. . .

A story that gets darker as it develops.

So here is the fairly typical West Coast USA couple. Well educated, good careers with some previous experimentation, living together in a bijou house in a nice neighbourhood. Marriage seems the next and logical step.

And a friend introduces them to this ‘organisation’ that started in Ireland, which aims to help people have better marriages and fewer divorces.

Strangely, to join the organisation you have sign a contract, and then are given a very large book of rules of behaviour. The rules are very precise and specify minutiae – as an example, if your spouse rings you, you must answer within 2 rings. Now you may ask, what happens if you answer in 3 rings? And how would the organisation know? Which is where the story starts getting creepy. Apparently they do know. And you will be ‘reported’ and ‘dealt’ with.

The story is told by Jake, who is a counsellor and therapist, and it is his marriage to Alice that is examined in the book.

If you are married, or about to be married, there are definitely some elements of this story that you might want to think about. How often do you talk to your partner properly? Not just about day to day chores and work. How often do you surprise them with a gift? For no reason other than that you want to?

The statistics about divorce are horrendous and also those about how often marriage counselling fails. So the idea of (self) help and how to make a successful marriage appeals. But, I suspect, that what works for some couples, works for them alone, just because they are who they are, and not someone else. So don’t copy their behaviour!

Which is why I don’t think that the concept of the Pact was useful as an idea from the cult leaders. Who clearly had the wrong sort of psychological training…..

I really like the story and got more and more horrified as the story went on. And the final chapter was completely unexpected.

 

 

 

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Did you see her? Did you see her?

Did You See Melody? Book Cover Did You See Melody?
Sophie Hannah
suspense, psychological,
Hodder and Stoughton
August 24, 2017
400

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can't afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied - by a man and a teenage girl. A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist - but Cara's fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can't possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder. Cara doesn't know what to trust: everything she's read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

 

Cara finds herself unexpectedly pregnant when she, her husband, and her children, thought that their family was complete.

She realises that she needs time away from her family and her life to think about what this new child would mean for her.

And so withdraws a significant part of their savings and books a 2 week  retreat in Arizona. She tells no-one where she is going but gives a date to her family of when she will be back.

The 5 star Arizona resort is luxurious beyond her expectations, and when she is accidentally booked into an already occupied room – she barges in and gives the occupants, a father and daughter, quite a shock – she is upgraded.

Then the mystery of Melody begins to play out. Cara becomes obsessed with finding out the trial details and aided by an American mother and daughter she begins an investigation at the resort as she, seems to have been threatened and is very curious about the father and daughter she saw.

The investigation brings unintended consequences for many people and the book’s final page leaves you wondering just what is the truth? And who is telling the story of Melody? And why?

Read carefully and don’t skip anything because you might miss something important.

 

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