Twists and turns in latest book from Wolverhampton author
What would you do in their shoes? That’s the question Mark Edwards wants readers to ponder as they follow the trials and tribulations of the main characters in his latest thriller, Keep Her Secret.
“It’s about a couple, Matthew and Helena, who have recently got back together after being boyfriend and girlfriend at university,” explains the author, who lives in Wolverhampton.
“They’ve only been back together for a week when they go to Iceland on a spontaneous trip. They are up a mountain in Iceland and she’s trying to get the perfect photo, and slips off the edge of the cliff.
“She’s saved by her rucksack getting hooked on a ledge. Thinking she’s going to die, she blurts out that she deserves to die, then she gets rescued.
“Matthew asks her what she was talking about and she confesses to something terrible she did in the past, not realising that somebody else is listening.
“They go back to the UK and the start of their relationships is great, exciting and passionate but then this person turns up and tells them she heard the confession of the secret, she recorded it and she wants lots of money to keep quiet.
“They lock her in their basement and try to figure out how they are going to get out of this terrible situation. Everything they do makes this situation worse and worse. They don’t want to kill her, they see themselves as good people, but they are stuck into this impossible situation,” he tells Weekend.
The idea for the storyline was partly inspired by the real-life experience of one of his friends.
“A friend of mine was backpacking in New Zealand 10 years ago and slipped down a crevasse. Her backpack was hooked on some rocks. She was on her own and her whole life flashed before her eyes. She got herself out and as soon as she told me, I thought it would be a great start to a book.
“I stored the idea in my brain for years until I could find a story to use it in. Then I came up with the idea of a someone who is trying to protect somebody else and keep their secret and put the two ideas together,” explains Mark.
He chose to set the couple’s dream holiday in Iceland after visiting the country for a literary festival. “I went to Iceland Noir, a festival that takes place in Reykjavík every November and I did the whole tourist trail, the Golden Circle.
“I just thought it would be the perfect setting for this book. I wanted somewhere the characters could get to and back from easily. It’s such a beautiful place,” explains Mark.
Although some of the action takes place in Iceland, the vast majority of the book covers the characters’ lives in the UK.
“My last three books were set in America but now I’ve got that out of my system, I’m going to be setting my books in the UK. This is set in Sussex, which is where I’m originally from, and my next one is in the Lake District.
“The next book will be bringing back DI Imogen Evans who was the detective in my book The Lucky Ones, which was set in Shropshire and Wolverhampton,” says Mark.
He hopes readers of Keep Her Secret will be rallying behind Matthew and Helena as they try to dig themselves out of trouble.
“I want people to be on their side and believe what happened to her in the past really did happen and that she had no other choice.
“I want people to think ‘what would I do in this situation if I was under intense pressure?’
“The most interesting thing about writing this book was having a character in a state of panic for most of the book. The pressure on him and the stress is so much and I wanted to capture the feeling of a moving runaway train where you can’t find the brake and you don’t know if you going to stop or if you’re going to crash at any moment.
“It was really good fun to write,” Mark tells Weekend. “If you like classic noir like Bonnie & Clyde and Double Indemnity and also Fatal Attraction and Body Heat, you will like this book.”
As with all of his gripping psychological thrillers, readers can expect plenty of twists and turns along the way.
“I never know how my books are going to end when I start to write them. There’s a big twist towards the end and I didn’t come up with the idea until after I had written the first draft. I was then editing and rewriting the book to make the big twist work,” he explains.
Mark’s first solo novel, The Magpies, was published in 2013 and since then he has sold more than four million books and topped the bestseller lists numerous times.
His other novels include Follow You Home, Here To Stay, The House Guest and The Hollows and he has also published six books co-authored with Louise Voss. His most recent book, No Place to Run, published in 2022, has been shortlisted for the 2023 ITW Thriller Awards.
“I’ve been a full-time author for 10 years. I still really love it and I’m still bursting with ideas for books, I just need to find the time to write them,” he tells Weekend.
Keep Her Secret, published by Thomas & Mercer, is available now. Signed copies of Mark’s books are available from Waterstones in Wolverhampton. For more information, see markedwardsauthor.com or facebook.com/markedwardsauthor