Book giveaway: Local Girl Missing - Claire Douglas
This giveaway is sponsored by Michael Joseph
Twenty years ago
Twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanishes one night. She leaves nothing behind but a trainer on the old pier – and a broken-hearted best friend, Francesca.
A body has been found. Francesca is drawn back to the seaside town she’s tried to forget. Perhaps what happened to Sophie will finally be revealed, yet Francesca is starting to wish she hadn’t returned. Everywhere she turns are ghosts from her past - the same old faces and familiar haunts of her youth. But if someone knows what really happened to Sophie that night, then now’s the time to find out.
However, sometimes discovering the truth comes with a cost – your family, your sanity and maybe even your life...
"Compelling and page-turning, wonderfully written and impossible to second guess with a brilliant twist" – Debbie Howells, author of The Bones of You
"Dark, twisted, suspenseful, complex and full of surprises... Douglas had me completely hooked from the first page to the last" – 5* Amazon review
"One of the most atmospheric novels I've ever read... chilling, intelligent and un-putdownable" – 5* Amazon review
Meet the author: Claire Douglas
What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished reading Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase which was so beautifully written that I felt bereft once I’d finished reading it. I’ve now started reading a book called Minty by Christina Banach. My mum read it first and said she couldn’t stop thinking about it and that it made her cry. Books hardly ever move my mum to tears, so the fact she cried is an excellent endorsement! It’s about twins and I’m already gripped. I love stories about twins!
What is the last book you bought someone as a gift?
I bought my dad the latest Wilbur Smith book for his birthday in May. He’s a huge fan. And I’ve just bought my six-year-old son a Claude book by Alex T Smith – he’s obsessed with them!
Is research a big part of your writing process?
I don’t really do much research as generally my stories are character-driven and usually inspired by something I might have read in a newspaper or heard about as a journalist in the past. Personal experiences find their way into my stories as well. Local Girl Missing has a mid-1990s time thread where one of the main characters, Sophie, goes to indie clubs and drinks K cider. I was the same age as Sophie in 1997 so it was easy to recall the things I used to do. I do like to research places though; I travelled to Weston-Super-Mare before writing Local Girl Missing to try and capture the atmosphere of an out-of-season seaside town. When I saw Birnbeck Pier, which is an old disused pier in Weston, shrouded in the mist coming off of the sea, and overlooked by a row of Victorian properties, I knew I had to use it in my book.
Do you have any peculiar writing rituals or habits?
When I get back home after the frantic school run I make myself a cup of tea and some toast, and I’ll sit in my favourite chair at the kitchen table and spend half an hour or so looking at Twitter and Facebook. I can’t begin writing until I’ve done that!
What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?
To read a lot, especially books in the genre you want to write in. It’s amazing how much you can learn about pacing, plot development, character arcs, by reading other writers’ books. Try to write a little bit every day. It’s hard to fit it in around work and/or children but even if it’s only a hundred or two hundred words a day it soon adds up. Now it’s the summer holidays I try to write when the kids are in bed. And – the most important thing really – never give up!
Could you describe the room that you write in?
I always sit at the kitchen table to write because it’s near the kettle and the food cupboard! It also has a view of the garden and is peaceful (once the kids are at school!)
Can you tell us about your book?
Local Girl Missing is about a girl called Sophie who disappears from a disused pier in the fictional town of Oldcliffe On Sea in 1997. Nearly twenty years later her best friend, Frankie, receives a call from Sophie’s brother, Daniel to say remains have been washed up. Frankie returns to Oldcliffe to help Daniel uncover what really happened to Sophie all those years ago. We also hear from Sophie through diary extracts in 1997 in the weeks leading up to her disappearance. It’s a story about childhood friendships, secrets, guilt and facing up to the past.
Claire Douglas has worked as a journalist for fifteen years, writing features for women's magazines and national newspapers, but she's dreamed of being a novelist since the age of seven. She finally got her wish after winning the Marie Claire Debut Novel Award with her first novel, The Sisters. She lives in Bath with her husband and two children. Local Girl Missing is her second book. You can find her on Twitter @Dougieclaire.
We've got 50 copies of Local Girl Missing to give away to Mumsnetters.
This giveaway ends on Monday 15 August.
We ask all winners to share their thoughts about the book on the discussion thread. However, you don't have to win a free copy to take part in the discussion - anyone who has read Local Girl Missing can post their feedback (and you can buy the ebook now for just £2.99).
Everyone who posts on the thread before 27 September will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2shop voucher.
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Last updated: over 1 year ago