An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.
Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…
When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits' end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…
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I’ve always had a need or a passion to write – journals, short stories, poetry, articles. But, even though I always had the urge to write a novel, I didn’t do anything about it until I felt myself to be in an imaginary world (in my head) after my father passed away. His death was very sudden and knocked me sideways. Once I came through the process of grieving, a story emerged in my head. I found it very cathartic, getting it all down on paper.
In the beginning I used certain people to help me create my characters – that is, used their idiosyncrasies, or their specific type of body language. Putting those things on a character that looks differently, or of a different sex, created a whole new person in my head and that’s how the characters developed. In the end, they were their own people, they emerged with their own backgrounds, needs and desires, hopes and dreams. That’s how the novel became a story – it’s their story, not mine.
I found the whole writing process fascinating, addictive and certainly enjoyable. Also very challenging. Once I’d completed my first draft, I worked with a mentor/editor and she really helped me to focus on re-drafting several times, adding depth and suspense – right up to the fifth draft. The hardest part was re-reading. I read it so many times (internally, out loud, on a computer, on a kindle, on paper) that I lost sight of the meaning of it all for a while. I did get it back though, thankfully. Sometimes, I pick up the book now, open a page, begin reading and think ‘ooh I don’t remember writing this bit’. Then I read on and think ‘wow, this is good – did I really write this’?
I can be pretty self-disciplined when I want to be. When I set up my event business in the late 1990s, it was easy because then I deadlines to meet, and client’s to impress. I find the writing business very solitary though, and it’s harder not to get distracted. I find I have to manage my time more thoroughly, and give myself small rewards when I’ve completed so-many-thousand words, or a chapter, or something similar.
I’m looking forward to writing the next novel. I have in my head the idea of a sequel, including the same characters, but from different points-of-view and a different time. I feel I have a bit more experience now and no so many more people, and where to get advice and help, I’m hoping the journey will be a slightly less bumpy ride.
After over thirty years of working in the corporate sector in London Justine John left the rat race for the stunning countryside of the Surrey Hills where she lives with her husband, horses and two dalmatians.
Website - http://www.justinejohn.co.uk/
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