Today we welcome the fantabulous thriller author, Adele Parks MBE to Novels Alive! Welcome, Adele!
What drives your story forward in your books the most, the characters or the plot, or do you feel they are intertwined?
As a psychological thriller writer, who prides herself on challenging and surprising the reader, I’m very focused on plot. I like imagining an extreme situation and developing a plot that compels the reader to continue to turn pages, all the while guessing what might come next. I want my readers to get a sense of satisfaction by predicting some of the reveals and twists, but I do enjoy delivering a shock or two that’s unexpected. All that timing and suspense depends on incredibly careful plotting. However, that’s not to say characters can be in the least bit neglected. The plots are the tracks of a roller-coaster ride but the readers’ emotional investment in the characters is essential if I want my readers’ hearts to leap or skip a beat. For example, in my most recent novel WOMAN LAST SEEN—a case where not one but two women go missing within a week – the plot has to answer questions such as: where are they? Were they taken? Did they run? Will they come back? How are they connected? But none of that really matters unless the desperately reader cares about the missing women and their families so deep, honest and raw characterization is essential too.
If you were a character in one of your books, which would you be? The protagonist, mentor, villain, love interest, etc.?
That is one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked and I’m not sure how honest I dare be! In real life, I’m incredibly law-abiding, rule-obeying, compliant and polite. I think I’m a bit of a people pleaser as instinctually I put other people’s comfort, happiness and desires before mine. I’m not unhappy about that being my personality; it makes for a very pleasant, positive life on many levels. However, I find that I use my books as an outlet to roar. I explore darker places that are lurking deep in my psychology; parts I suppress because they are troublesome. Which means, I suppose, I’d want to be the protagonist or the villain of my novels.
If you had the power to make any of your books into a film, which would it be and why?
Well, exactly that is happening right now! I am part of a production team that is developing LIES LIES LIES, JUST MY LUCK and WOMAN LAST SEEN. The great news is because multiple titles are in development, I didn’t have to make a choice of just one title! All these novels have shocks, reveals and twist plots that are very zeitgeist; the action is pacey and the settings are visual which means it’s possible for script writers to adapt them. It’s an incredibly exciting and creative process to be part of. I’m loving seeing other creatives bring their vision to my stories. I see the novels as creative springboards. I can’t wait until we get to the stage when directors and actors also bring their talents and vision.
Is there a particular genre of fiction that you have always wanted to write, but haven’t yet tackled?
So far, I’ve written romantic comedies, relationship dramas, historical novels and now psychological thrillers. I’m happy moving from one genre to another. I think it keeps me challenged. I get ideas for books in all sorts of different genres, for a few years I have had a sci-fi YA idea, but I don’t think it’s the correct time in my career to write it. I will get to it, but at this moment in time I’m excited by psychological thrillers.
If you could meet a literary character or author, who would you most like to meet?
Jane Austen. I know it’s not very original, but I have a number of reasons. She was a scathing satirists who has been largely dismissed as a cosy romance writer because of her gender. I’d like to hear what else she had to say.
As with the rest of us, you have a real life to live. So, in your most recent book, what was happening in your life and how did it influence your writing?
WOMAN LAST SEEN is set in the week running up to the first lockdown in Britain. What a peculiar, disconcerting time that was for all of us, globally. We had no idea what we were facing, or how we would manage. Everyone had their own domestic dramas to solves, everyone felt losses, felt cheated and frustrated. I channeled all of that into my characters in the novel. At times the characters are lonely and isolated, literally lost in some cases but they also determined, resilient, focused on the future and certain that things will get better. All emotions are helpful in the book writing process. I’ve used lockdowns to explore how it feels to be restricted and thwarted.
Was there something in your first edit that didn’t make it in the final copy that you sometimes wish you would have kept?
I have written over twenty novels and so I’m quite honed when it comes to the process of editing. I am self-aware (which is a euphemism for self-critical) so I continually self-edit as I write. I don’t really have one draft, then another and then a third. It’s an organic process for me. I strip back quite ruthlessly. By the time my editor receives my novel, she is unlikely to ask me to lose more than the odd line here or there. I never regret what I chop. I callously forget it the moment it’s gone.
What do you do to prepare your mind to write? To get into the mind of your characters.
I read a lot and I think that’s vital because reading creates empathy by osmosis and it’s a way of allowing a number of voices and viewpoints to naturally settle in our heads. Because I read such a lot it seems a natural next step for me that the characters I create start to find space in my head too. They do have conversations and find tone before I sit at my desk and write. I don’t really understand the process and I’m a little nervous at examining it too closely because I fear if I do, I might lose the magic and cause it to fail.
What book as a child/adolescent most influenced you as a writer?
I read anything I could get my hands on. I remember when I was twelve and my sister was fifteen my mother read Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. She told us we were not to touch it, we had both already read it by then but didn’t confess! I knew as I was reading it that I wasn’t the target audience, but I devoured it! It stayed with me. Probably because it was illicit and forbidden; a little too adult, therefore mystifying and thought-provoking.
How much research went into your last book?
I had to research crime procedure thoroughly.
What’s one of the most important things you’d like your readers to know about you? What defines you most as an author?
I write to reach out, to make connections. To highlight what we have in common, not what divides us, which I think gets too much airspace. It’s a wonderful thing that right now we are all on this planet, sharing this time and space, I think that needs to be celebrated, thought about, protected. I write genre novels designed primarily to entertain but I hope they cause people to pause and think about what it is to be human.
What is one thing about you that may surprise your readers?
Can you tell us what prompted you to write your latest release?
I can’t pinpoint an exact moment that identifies where that idea came from. Sometimes I do get an idea in a flash of inspiration – something someone has said, or something I’ve heard on TV – that is an obvious prompt. Other times the process is slower and more of a case of a number of thoughts amalgamating or even colliding. I have always felt a breathless anxiety when I’ve seen posters on lamp posts or community notice boards asking about missing relatives. I’ve always wondered about the stories and the people, behind those posters. I think WOMAN LAST SEEN is a response to that pain.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I’ve just completed my twenty-second novel ONE LAST SECRET. It’s a psychological thriller set in a chateau in the south of France. I’ve written a novel a year for my entire career, and I have no plans to slow down! Between my writing and my foray into the film world I’m keeping myself out of trouble!
Thanks, Adele! It is great getting to know you!
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
HAPPY. MARRIED. MISSING.
“A gripping story of greed, lies and dark family secrets.”
—Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author, on Just My Luck
Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmom to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband, Mark, says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered.
Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman Daan and vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamorous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught.
Detective Clements knows that people disappear all the time—far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run toward and others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds. Their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the detective believes they might be.
How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.
#1 Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks returns with her most provocative, compelling book to date.
Check out these other gripping novels by Adele Parks:
I Invited Her In
Lies, Lies, Lies
Just My Luck
Adele Parks MBE is one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK. She has sold over 4 million books and her work has been translated into 30 different languages.
1500+ 5 star reviews have kindly been written by her fans on Amazon.co.uk 🙂
She has published 21 novels, all of which have been London Times bestsellers.
Adele has written 19 contemporary novels and 2 historical ones, Spare Brides and If You Go Away, which are set during and after WW1. Her latest novels, Both of You, Just My Luck, Lies Lies Lies, I Invited Her In, The Image of You and The Stranger in My Home are twisty, domestic noirs. Adele likes to scrutinize our concepts of family, our theories on love, parenting and fidelity.
During her career Adele has lived in Italy, Botswana and London. Now she lives happily in Surrey, UK with her husband, son and cat.
If you want to stay in touch you can find Adele on Twitter @AdeleParks, Instagram @Adele_Parks or Facebook @OfficialAdeleParks. You can sign up to her newsletter at eepurl.com/cI0l and there’s lots more info about Adele and her books on www.adeleparks.com.