As I sign off from 2018 and stagger towards 2019 with a few festive pounds to lose, I want to send heartfelt thank yous to all who've bought, read, reviewed and recommended OUR HOUSE so far! It's been a joy to find it on so many prestigious Books of the Year lists, including the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, the Guardian and the Daily Mail, but word of mouth in bookshops and libraries and offices and trains (if people still talk on trains) is just as valued. I really hope 2019 will bring me the opportunity to meet and thank lots of supporters in person. Meanwhile, I am about to sit down and begin the one after the one after OUR HOUSE... A very Happy New Year!
After Our House, my favourite of my own novels (that sounds very self-regarding, as if I re-read them in constant rotation, but let's go with it) is probably The Disappearance of Emily Marr. It’s the story of a scandal that erupts when a lonely young woman has an affair with a married neighbour and sets in motion a chain of tragic events she could never have anticipated. In despair, she leaves her life in London and heads to France – to atone, to grieve, to hide.
Having researched extensively the outcomes of missing persons enquiries, I decided that this was a novel that might bear an open ending. More often than not we don't get an answer in reality, so why must we have one in fiction? Boy, did I come to regret this! In my clever nod to authenticity, I forgot that readers like a proper ending. It doesn’t have to be a happy one (and rarely is with me), just the right one for the characters. Before long, I’d received thousands of emails asking me what happens next – and I duly supplied notes. Many readers enjoyed the game, but others most assuredly did not: ‘I am disgusted!!! 'I HATE this author!’
In cutting a long story short, I had, it seemed, Ruined Lives.
So now, with this reissued version, there is an ending. It was a joy to write, because, by now, I’ve needed the closure as much as the next person. There’s also a new cover, which I absolutely love. So, if you enjoyed Our House, let me introduce you to Emily Marr – and I promise you’ll find out exactly what becomes of her.