A Brilliant Guest Post from Helen Pryke!
I’m so pleased the first guest post on this blog comes from Helen Pryke.
Helen is a fellow author. Since we ‘met’ through social media she has been so encouraging and supportive. She’s answered lots of my questions and beta read my books too. Helen is a fabulous being!
I have read the Innocenti Saga. Her eye for description and creating believable characters is top-notch.
I’m really looking forward to reading The Lost Girls. Psychological thrillers rock my world and I know with Helen’s writing I’m in for a treat.
Enough of me. Over to you, Helen…
Helen Pryke on The Lost Girls
I’m probably best known for my series, The Innocenti Saga, historical fiction set in Tuscany, Italy. But earlier this year, I thought I’d take a break from dragonflies and healers, and write something completely different.
I love reading psychological thrillers and suspense, and I wanted to try and write one. Three months and fifty-two thousand words later, The Lost Girls is the result.
About ten years ago, I wrote a couple of chapters and a brief outline for a novel called The Missing, then got caught up in other projects and forgot all about it. When I found the file again a few months ago, I liked what I’d written and decided to continue with it.
As so often happens, when I started writing the story took off in a completely different direction from the one I’d originally planned!
The teenage brother and sister of the missing girls were supposed to be the protagonists, but then another character popped into my head and insisted it had to be her. So Maggie Dupont, a 45-year-old ex-investigative journalist with an auto-immune illness, was created. Traumatic events from her past influence her decision to help the teenagers find their sisters, and she has no idea just how much that is going to affect her.
Maggie is partly based on myself. I always wanted to be a journalist when I was young, but never chased my dream and ended up being a secretary before moving to Italy and becoming a housewife and mum, and later a writer.
I also have an auto-immune illness, so I know only too well what it’s like to be running on little or no energy, praying your body won’t give up just until you finish this one last thing you really need to do, then having to spend days on the sofa afterwards to recuperate. As well as having to face past demons, Maggie also has this to cope with.
When it came to choosing the setting for The Lost Girls, I went with an area I know pretty well. I used to live in a town called Emsworth, on the south coast, so set the book in the Portsmouth area, including Cosham, Bedhampton, and Farlington Marshes.
I’ve been living in the north of Italy for the last 29 years and don’t often go back to the UK, so it made me quite nostalgic looking at the area on Google Maps!
When I jotted down those notes a few years ago, I didn’t have a motive for the antagonist abducting the girls, or even know who he was. So when I picked it up again, I had fun figuring out the reasoning behind his madness.
I particularly enjoyed writing the chapters from his personal point of view – getting inside his head was scarily easy to do! The antagonist has ‘issues’ with his mother and sisters, which come to a terrifying head in the book. Oh, and he likes fire. A lot.
The Lost Girls is Available Now at a Bargain Price!
The Lost Girls was released on 26 June 2019, and you can get the ebook at the special price of 99c/99p until 7 July.
Also available in paperback format.
Blurb for The Lost Girls
Four years ago, two teenage girls were abducted.
Four years ago, a ten-year-old boy was murdered.
Both cases are still unsolved.
Desperate to find their sisters, Michael and Chloe beg investigative journalist Maggie Dupont to help them. What starts as a simple investigation soon turns into a frantic race against time as they realise that the kidnapper took the girls to replace his sisters. The sisters who died sixteen years earlier.
Forced to face traumatic events from the past, Maggie finds herself in the middle of a nightmare that’s about to get worse…
A chilling suspense novel set in the south of England.
About Helen Pryke
Helen Pryke is a British author who has been living in the north of Italy for almost 30 years, learning everything about Italians, their culture, and their way of life.
She now considers herself more Italian than British, even though she has never lost her British accent.
Addicted to coffee and chocolate, she has also developed a passion for good food, having married an Italian who is a wonderful cook!
Helen writes emotional women’s fiction set in Italy that deals with the difficult subject of abuse in a sensitive way.
She also writes middle grade fiction under the pen name, Julia E. Clements.
When she’s not writing, she works as a proofreader/editor for indie authors.
She loves reading, and will read anything and everything.
For all the latest information, excerpts from her upcoming books, general fun, or for a chat, follow Helen on: