Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Elizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst, a civilian role that involves determining patterns in offending and criminal behavior. Her novels include: Human Remains, Dark Tide, and Into the Darkest Corner, which was selected as Amazon UK's Best Book of 2011. She lives in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son.

Her latest novel is Under a Silent Moon.

Recently I asked Haynes about what she was reading. Her reply:
I’ve just finished reading The Book of You, by Claire Kendal, which is being published in the UK in April and in the US in May. This is the story of Clarissa, who is being stalked by Rafe, a colleague. Through Clarissa’s careful documenting of Rafe’s harassment of her, we feel something of the terror of being constantly watched. There is so much truth in this fictional account, so much that happens to real people every single day, making it even more frightening. This could happen to me, or to you, or to any one of us.

From a loved one, Rafe’s level of adoration would be a precious thing – from someone odious, it becomes creepy and terrifying. What makes it worse is that there is very little that can be done to stop it. The police need evidence, which is up to the individual to collect; friends and family can be dismissive, disbelieving, and even sympathetic to the stalker, used by him as a means to isolate his target further.

These are all themes I explored in my debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, and so The Book of You feels especially close to home. Here in the UK, new legislation making stalking a criminal offence was introduced in November 2012, and yet recent news reports suggest that victims are being let down by the system.

The Book of You made me think: what would I do? Clarissa battles to maintain a normal life – she goes out of her house when I think I would stay indoors, but then she is braver than I am, and determined not to let Rafe win. As a result, Clarissa’s bravery and Rafe’s obsession both escalate to the point where the book is so petrifying it made me fidgety and breathless.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting some high school students in France who were busy writing. One of them, Genny, had at the age of sixteen recently completed her first National Novel Writing Month challenge and had been working on her manuscript, called Dark Chocolate and Summer Grass. I asked her if she’d send me her novel to read, and she did that. I was blown away by it, especially the prologue and the first two chapters which brought me to tears - not just because of the subject matter, a ten year old boy who is trying to be grown up for his hard-working mom, and missing his absent father – but because of the beauty of the writing, and the immense talent on display from someone so young. I’m honoured to be asked to comment on other people’s writing, whatever the circumstances, but this one is particularly special. I’m looking forward to seeing Genny’s writing career develop, because she has such an exciting future ahead of her.
Visit the official Elizabeth Haynes website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Elizabeth Haynes & Bea.

The Page 69 Test: Under a Silent Moon.

--Marshal Zeringue