This week I caught up with thriller writer Rona Halsall to find out more about her debut novel and upcoming projects.
Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards psychological thriller writing?
Well I didn’t start off writing psychological thrillers, although they’re one of my favourite genres. I didn’t think I’d be able to work out plot twists and plant little clues – all that planning! So I started writing romance. I finished writing my first book and pitched it to an agent at a literary festival. She said she really liked my writing style but didn’t think the story was commercial enough. So I put that to one side and started again. This time I wrote more of a mystery/suspense. When I finished I sent it to the same agent who said she thought my voice would be better suited to psychological thrillers and she suggested a re-work of the story. So, with her help to work out a suitable plot, I did a complete re-write and I so enjoyed it, I realised this was the genre I wanted to write.
What is your background and how did you get in to writing professionally?
I was a business adviser and management consultant for twenty-five years, which involved a lot of writing in the form of business plans and grant applications and notes from meetings. So I’ve always had writing at the heart of my work. When I turned fifty, I decided that I’d better get a move on if I was going to write a novel and when my husband took early retirement, I had a career break to do a bit of writing and this has been my work ever since.
Where do you find your inspiration? Are there any particular places or incidents you draw on when you find yourself with writer’s block?
I have had quite a nomadic life, living in lots of different places and I think I have been through quite a wide range of life experiences – lots that can be spun into stories.
Inspiration also comes from news stories or things that friends say, bits and pieces online and personal experience. Also, once you start researching an idea it can lead you weird and wonderful places!
If I find I’m stuck with a storyline, I tend to take the dogs out for a walk and let my mind sort things out while I get a bit of fresh air and exercise. Or, if the weather’s really horrible, I’ll read the news or do a bit of admin and let my mind wander.
If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, on a writing project, who would it be and why?
I think it would be Lisa Jewell. I love her characters. They are always so fresh and real and different and that’s such a hard thing to achieve. I also admire her writing style, which flows so easily and is a joy to read.
Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
My second book, Love You Gone has just gone on pre-order and is going to be published on 15th November. I’m really happy with the way it has shaped up and the cover is just gorgeous!
Are there any new books you are looking forward to coming up?
The new one by Fiona Barton, The Suspect. I love her books – they are so interesting, seeing things from the view of a journalist. Her plots are really twisty and her writing is a joy to read.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
My debut novel Keep You Safe is out now. This follows the story of Natalie, who has been separated from her baby son for three years. She was wrongly accused of a crime and imprisoned. Now she is free she knows that her son’s life is in danger and she is desperate to get him to safety. But who can she trust?
Readers can keep up to date on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RonaHalsallAuthor/
And on Twitter:@RonaHalsallAuth
It’s been a great pleasure hearing your thoughts and learning more about your books Rona, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.