I’m delighted to be joined by Edinburgh based author Rosie Walker. Her first novel, Secrets of a Serial Killer, was published in 2020 and her second, The House Fire was published in January this year. Welcome to the blog Rosie, First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I’m Rosie Walker, an author and editor living in Edinburgh with my husband, daughter and dog. I write psychological thrillers and edit other people’s novels, and in my free time I love to read, go on long walks with our dog in the countryside – particularly by the sea in places like Portobello! – and watch very lowbrow reality TV like Married at First Sight and Love Island. I don’t subscribe to the idea of ‘guilty pleasures’, but if I did reality TV would be mine!
What inspired you to start writing?
I think like many authors, I’ve always wanted to write ever since I was a small child. I kept a diary from very early childhood until the end of my teens (it’s so cringey to re-read it now) and loved to write stories and ‘novels’ – the scarier the better! And I was inspired by so many books, but particularly mystery novels like Nancy Drew, Famous Five, Secret Seven and Goosebumps!
As an adult, what pushed me to commit to writing and completing a novel was a lack of satisfaction in my work life: I just couldn’t find a job that engaged me and filled me with joy in the same way that writing did. I feel very lucky now that I can immerse myself in writing and editing every single day. It’s the dream!
Tell me about your journey to publication
After I completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh, I procrastinated a lot and didn’t actually write properly for a few years. I feel like you need to have an element of stability in your life – whether that’s job, relationship, living situation – before you can commit to writing fiction in your free time around full-time work. It took me a while to get there, but when I did I started to edit my Masters dissertation and flesh it out into a novel-length plot.
Once that was polished, I found my literary agent: Charlotte Robertson of Robertson Murray. We worked together to get the book ready to submit, and then went out to editors. I was lucky enough to be offered a two-book deal with Harper Collins’s One More Chapter, and the rest is history!
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
The House Fire came out in January this year, and is about two sisters: Jamie and Cleo. Jamie is an aspiring documentary maker, and when her documentary investigation gets too close to uncovering the truth behind a series of deadly arson attacks, her family are threatened. Meanwhile, her younger sister Cleo is obsessed with getting rid of her mum’s new husband, who Cleo believes is abusive. If she can prove that he’s responsible for the fires, she’ll get exactly what she wants. All it takes is one spark to send everything up in smoke.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
I’m currently writing my third novel, which has the working title ‘One Hundred Days of Darkness’. I’m nearly at the end of the first draft, and I can’t wait to start polishing it into a finished novel.
Here’s a brief summary:
Miriam has just had her second baby, and something doesn’t feel right: her five-year-old daughter Erica is behaving strangely, and Miriam is convinced she heard a voice speaking to Erica through their baby monitor. But Miriam’s husband thinks it’s all in her head, and that Miriam is struggling to cope with two young children. Soon, Miriam feels like she’s being watched all the time, and her world begins to unravel. She wonders if her husband might be doing it on purpose to make her seem like she’s having a breakdown. What’s he planning, and can Miriam prove she’s fine before it’s too late?
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months?
I was absolutely blown away by The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan, which came out earlier this year. I don’t often cry while reading a book, but this one made me cry several times. It’s heart-breaking, stressful, and very imaginative.
What are you reading just now?
I’ve just finished The Club by Ellery Lloyd, which is a fantastic murder mystery set in a private members’ club on a tidal island. Every character has a secret, everyone has a motive, and once the tide comes in they’re all trapped on the island with no way to leave. Amazing!
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Over 800 pages of fantastic storytelling, amazing characters, and sweeping landscapes in the Wild West.
Is there a book you’d love to see made into a film?
It’s a bit of a cop-out answer but it’s the truth: Secrets of a Serial Killer, my debut novel. The main setting and the core inspiration for the entire novel is a derelict mental hospital which has been overtaken by moss, ivy and graffiti. The broken windows, the crumbling floors, the occasional left-behind relic from its past… I’m fascinated by derelict buildings, particularly large, imposing ones that had a rich history. I would be so excited to see that on screen.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
I’m on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ciderwithrosie
And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rosiejanewalker/
And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rosiewalkerauthor
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
George in the Famous Five. Endless summers, secret passageways, abandoned tunnels, tasty picnics, lots of cousins to join me in solving mysteries, and my own dog. The dream!
The House Fire is published by One More Chapter
and available now in ebook, audiobook and paperback editions.