Here at The Glass House, we love nothing more than helping put words out into the world that need to be heard, and stories into the world that deserve to be read. During a time of such uncertainty, being a Debut Author in 2021 is no easy task, so when we were given the opportunity to feature the cover reveal of a new debut writer, Sophie Flynn, we jumped at the chance to help spread the word.
As you may have seen on social media this week, we have been teasing you with little glimpses of the cover over the last 5 days, and although we know you are all desperate to see the final product, we thought we would eek out the suspense just a little more, and speak to the author about her journey to publication and the inspiration behind this much-anticipated debut.
Anna wants to escape.
She doesn’t know when her marriage to James began to feel like a trap or when he became so controlling. All she knows is that she needs to leave before it’s too late.
And she has a plan.
When Anna reconnects with her childhood sweetheart, Sam, she sees it as the answer to her problems. Finally, they’ll have a life together, like they’d always planned – the life she was meant to have.
But the lies are catching up with her . . .
On the morning of their escape, Sam goes missing. Anna knows he wouldn’t leave her, that something must have happened to him.
Her search for answers will force her to confront her past, something that she has been running from for a very long time . . .
In the spirit of ‘teasing’ – can you give us an idea, in three bullet points or less, what we can expect to find on the pages of your debut novel?
- A cottage by the sea
- Obsessive love
- Text messages
I suppose we should delve a little deeper now that we have piqued the interest of others, tell us a little more about your book
All My Lies is about a woman who tries to escape her toxic marriage by running away with her childhood sweetheart, but her plans come unstuck when he disappears. The book is set between Oxford and Cornwall and is really about the lies we all tell ourselves and others in order to get what we want, and the repercussions that can have for the rest of your life.
It certainly sounds like a relatable concept; I can imagine many people have considered what it would be like to have their childhood sweetheart enter their lives again. It sounds great! Location often plays an important part in thrillers; can you tell us why you chose to set your story in Cornwall and Oxford?
I have always found Cornwall really fascinating; it’s where I spent my childhood holidays and a few years of my twenties living and studying.
In certain areas, many of the properties are owned as second homes and only inhabited during the summer months. Generally, people have a really romanticised idea of what life is like for people living there. With many books out there showing the lighter side of life on the coast, I was drawn to finding a slightly darker edge.
With many books out there showing the lighter side of life on the coast, I was drawn to finding a slightly darker edge.
I knew I wanted my two main characters (Anna and Sam) to be from very different backgrounds and Cornwall and Oxford fitted that perfectly. Sam is from and lives in Cornwall, whereas Anna grew up in the city and only visited the family holiday home in Sam’s town every summer.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
I like to start with a ‘what if’ question when I write, and for All My Lies I started with ‘What if your first love came back to your life but you were already married?’ That led me to ask many, many more questions which (many drafts and years later) resulted in All My Lies.
It sounds like a concept that could very much have resulted in a romcom-style book, what drew you to considering a thriller edge?
I was brought up on a diet of Katie Fforde and Sophie Kinsella, so romance was familiar territory. But when I first started writing, I was working in the police, hearing terrible true stories every day, and reading authors such as Gilly Macmillan, Paula Hawkins, and Gillian Flynn. I think that had a big impact, and my original ‘What if’ scenario evolved: What if you fell back in love with your childhood sweetheart but were trapped in a toxic marriage? What if leaving your childhood sweetheart was so traumatic that you never quite recovered from it?
We look back on first love as something sweet and innocent but, in reality, most young relationships aren’t like that at all. They are all consuming. As adults, we learn to control our emotions, to put other people before us (occasionally) and that there is more to life than one person, even when they feel like your whole world. Teenagers often can’t see this – they don’t have that sense of perspective. So, I began wondering how destructive it would be if a teenage romance was rekindled years later, without doing the necessary growing as adults to maintain it.
Given that we have spent all week teasing people about your cover, we should probably talk about that next. Is this the kind of cover you had in mind when writing the book?
What I really love about my cover is that you immediately know what genre it is; I think the designer has really captured the sense of foreboding in the image. Now more than ever (and especially as my book is out as an eBook first) it’s so important to capture a reader’s attention, often within seconds, so they can make a decision to buy and I think (I hope!) that my cover will help a buyer make that choice. As much as we like to think that you ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, I think we all know that we do.
I had quite a lot of ideas of what my cover would be, but really was very happy for the team at Simon & Schuster to run with what they think is best; they’re the experts!
The red wine spill on your cover is really quite striking; though we worry for the fate of the carpet. What’s the worst red wine spill incident you’ve ever had?
Ha! I actually hate red wine so it’s one of the only drinks I’ve never personally spilled but my friend did once spill red wine all down my wall in my new house once during a drunken argument quite literally about her not drinking red wine in my new house. Really confirmed my hatred of red wine…
You’ve said a theme in your book is the lies we tell and how that impacts our lives. What’s the most outrageous lie you’ve ever told?
I couldn’t possibly say! One of the most innocent and random lies I’ve told was during a plane journey to New York with my husband I may have eaten a child’s chocolates which dropped onto my seat from the plane seat in front of me, and then when the mum was looking for the chocolates (a special gift form Granny) denied ever seeing them. Still feel kind of bad sometimes. But mostly just enjoyed the free chocolate.
We love the shoutline for your book:
A controlling husband
A promise of escape
A secret that could trap her…
If you had to sum up your current situation in three lines, what would they be?
A novel that won’t write itself
A hope of lockdown ending
A series of never ending zooms
All My Lies is being released on April 23. What books would you recommend readers read until then?
I’ve read so many amazing debuts recently who deserve a big shout-out, as launching any book during lockdown is tough but especially your debut! In terms of crime and thrillers, I’d have to recommend:
- The Appeal by Janice Hallett: a super fun, twisty novel that unpicks a crime in a small-town community. Told through email/text correspondence.
- The Islanders by S.V Leonard: Love Island but with murder. Super fun beachy read.
- People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd: a twisty thriller about an instamum that will make you never want to use Instagram again.
- My Best Friend’s Murder: by Polly Phillips: ever wanted to kill your best frenemy? You’ll love this twisty murdery thriller.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing my next book which is another psychological thriller about a mother of twins whose life starts to unravel when her private posts on a popular online mum’s forum get released into the wild by an apparent stranger…
So – I think we have teased you long enough now… without further ado… here is All My Lies by Sophie Flynn, in all it’s glory!
You can PRE-ORDER this fabulous book by clicking on any of the links below, and if you would like to know a little more about the author herself, you can find Sophie tweeting far too much from @sophielflynn, on Instagram @sophieflynnauthor, or via her website sophieflynn.com