A little while ago I went to a book event, Warming the Blood, where I was introduced to lovely Rebecca Tinnelly and we were able to chat for a while. However, it simply wasn’t long enough so I invited Rebecca over to stay in with me and bring a book along. I’m delighted that she accepted the invitation.
If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.
Staying in with Rebecca Tinnelly
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. It was so good to meet you in person recently. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve bought my first novel, a psychological suspense entitled Never Go There. It follows Nuala Greene, a young widow desperately seeking some sense of family and stability in the wake of her husband’s death. She travels to his home village in Somerset, a place he begged her never to go. What ensues is a twisty, turny exploration into dark, village life and the secrets no one wants to be uncovered.
(I love a twisty thriller Rebecca and am so glad I have Never Go There on my TBR.)
What can we expect from an evening in with Never Go There?
Reader’s so far have all agreed on two things; the novel is very, very dark and it’s hard to tear yourself away from. One reader described it as being more addictive than a pot of Pringles!
(Now that IS saying something in this household – help yourself to those over there!)
The setting is deepest, darkest Somerset at the beginning of winter; the trees have lost their leaves, the wind is beginning to bite and the nights are drawing in. Nuala is a town girl through and through, not used to living in the countryside at all and the setting takes her by surprise, as this extract, taken from the first chapter of the book, shows:
It wasn’t like she had imagined. The pictures online had been blue-skied, not night-dark. The branches above her car, those thin wire fingers from the stunted oaks, hadn’t featured at all. But here they were – this was the road, the hill, the place.
A crack and scrape of metal, a rock hitting the car’s underside. She wasn’t even driving on tarmac anymore, just dirt, the creaking sound reminding her of the letterbox opening that morning.
She felt for the letter on the passenger seat, the paper already soft from re-reading despite having had it for just a few hours, her finger tracing the words in the dark.
The trees were close, the half-moon hidden by their thin branches, twisting to meet each other inches above the car. She could feel the thud and bump of the aerial bristling against bark. No leaves, of course, not in November with the wind lashing the hill. She knew about that, the wind. But she had always, regardless of his warnings, expected sunshine. Her fault for leaving London so late in the day. Her fault for waiting until November when she should have come in May, but it had taken her months to stockpile the courage.
(Fantastic! This is so atmospheric – I’m off to bump Never Go There up the TBR pile. Back in a minute…)
Nuala discovers that the village her husband grew up in is somewhat different to the place she imagined. If you go on to read the novel you will unearth a range of secrets, heartache, murder and a twist that, so far, no one has managed to predict.
(It really does sound a brilliant read.)
What else have you brought along and why?
Well, you can’t have an evening in without a tipple or two. I’ve brought along one of my favourite gin and tonic combinations; Cotswold’s Gin with Fevertree tonic water. Add a wedge of lime, a stick of cucumber and a couple of ice cubes and you’re in G&T heaven.
Writing is a very solitary pursuit and I live in a remote village in Somerset myself, hence the setting for Never Go There, so it can often get rather isolated. Whenever I get lonely or crave company I like to have a small G&T because it reminds me of my sisters, Hannah and Alice, who converted me to gin years ago. Whenever I have a sip I always feel closer to them. I’ve poured us both a glass… chin, chin!
(Oh thanks Rebecca – I’m quite partial to a G+T and haven’t tried this one though I have found where I can buy it – here!)
I’ve also bought a photo along to get you in the mood for the creepy setting of Never Go There. I live in a fantastic part of the country, the Quantock Hills, and they have a unique and varied landscape, full of twisted, close-growing oak trees that look so eerie and yet so beautiful. They never fail to inspire me:
(Gosh yes. They are creepy and quite primeval I think. I spent a lot of my childhood holidays in Somerset so the Quantock Hills are very familiar to me as we used to go walking there.)
I’ve always been an avid walker, ever since I was a child and my parents’ took me on walking holidays to the Lake District, Scotland and Wales. When I first moved to Somerset from London I was awestruck by the scenery on my walks and it’s definitely infiltrated my work.
The last thing I’ve bought is my yoga mat. I spend my days and evenings writing very dark, twisted stories, but I also have two children; it’s so important for me that, once I’ve stopped writing, I leave my work on the page and can be the cheerful, calm, attentive mother my children deserve. Yoga helps me make that transition from writer to parent. You can never switch either role off completely, I am both all the time, but yoga refocuses my mind, lets me leave all thoughts of plot and character with my book and brings me back into the real world. I’ve been doing it every day now for a few years and, along with mindfulness and meditation practices, it helps me achieve a positive work/life balance.
So, Linda, if you want to don your lycra leggings and give yourself a stretch, we’ll begin with downward facing dog…
(Ah! Well! You see, lycra isn’t really my thing… However, my husband and I have just started adding stretching into our daily exercise routines so I’m happy to try the yoga. Last time we tried it, doing the clock and knowing the lion pose was coming, we laughed at each other so much we had tears running down our faces so I might need a bit of encouragement…)
Thanks so much for staying in with me and telling me more about Never Go There Rebecca. It was lovely to have a bit more time together.
Thank you so much for having me this evening, Linda! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself, I hope you have too.
Never Go There
He told her that she must never, EVER go there…
Nuala knows nothing of her husband James’s past. He made her swear that she would never contact his family or visit the place he was from. But now James is dead, and Nuala is alone. Grieving and desperate, she decides to ignore his warning.
But was he protecting her… or himself?
Nuala is about to find out that some secrets are better left buried – and that uncovering the truth about the man she married will have terrible consequences…
Never Go There is published by Hodder and Stoughton and is available for purchase here.
About Rebecca Tinnelly
Rebecca Tinnelly lives amongst the twisted sessile oaks of the Somerset coast with her two children and two cats. No doubt fuelled by the stories she was told by her stepmother, a consultant pathologist, Rebecca is most interested in writing about the darker side of society and family life.
After a successful career in sales, most recently selling wicker coffins, she waved goodbye to the office to pursue a career in writing. And, when not writing, enjoys baking the odd cake or two. Never Go There is her debut novel.