Ellis Andrews wakes to a knock on the door in the middle of the night to find a policeman bearing bad news. Devastated to learn that his wife Rae has been killed in a car accident in the New England town of Chareham he sets about searching for answers.
Was Rae’s death simply a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ as the local police would have him believe or something more sinister?
When Ellis uncovers Rae’s diary and reads the disturbing accounts of the ‘night terrors’ she’s been suffering since childhood he’s unwilling to accept that there could be a link between them and her fatal car accident… until he begins to dream of Rae each night…
Ooh, we can’t tell which way the story is heading.
Essentially Ellis’s search for answers is the main thrust of the story but this book is different to my first two in that it’s told from the perspectives of multiple characters. So as Ellis (and Rae’s) story unfolds in Cardiff we also see it from the point of view of fisherman Josh Hancock and police officer Sally Riley who live in the seemingly picture-perfect town of Chareham in Cape Cod, a small town full of secrets.
You mentioned other books you’ve written, and we’ll talk about them later, but for now tell us what genre this novel is.
It’s a psychological crime mystery set between Cardiff, South Wales and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA – two very different worlds!
It reminds us a bit of Gone Girl.
Think Ruth Rendell meets Patricia Highsmith, with a pinch or two of Kate Atkinson or Gillian Flynn thrown in.
If you like dark, creepy, crime dramas where you are forced to question the behaviour of the protagonists, and multiple character points of view keep you guessing, then you’ll like ‘Dreamcatcher’.
Tell us about Ellis.
Ellis is the character we meet first. He is woken in the middle of the night with the terrible news that his wife Rae has been killed and from then on he’s living a sort of waking nightmare. He’s a chiropractor and a practical man, grounded in the world of science and facts. But, in his grief and his search for answers he suddenly finds himself doubting his own neat and tidy view of the world. He begins to see there were sides to his wife he didn’t understand, and elements of his own behaviour during his relationship with her that he’s not proud of which might have played a part in her death.
Any other characters we need to meet?
I don’t want to reveal too much about the other characters but Sally Riley is a young police officer who lives in the supposedly ‘picture-postcard’ New England town where Rae is killed. She’s a stickler for detail, says little but notices everything, including the tensions and rivalries that lie beneath the chocolate-box façade of the ‘perfect’ town that the tourists see. She becomes convinced there’s more to Rae’s death than meets the eye. But, like Ellis, Sally’s not above a few little obsessions and jealousies of her own!
Is either character based on you or anyone you know?
All my characters have elements of me in them, but I’m not saying which ones! One of the inspirations for this novel was learning that, like my main character Rachel, I’m in a small percentage of people who can ‘lucid dream’ at night. This means I’m usually aware I’m dreaming and can often control and direct my dreams and basically have adventures – this can be great fun, but it’s not so good if you find yourself in a nightmare you can’t wake from.
I thought this was a fascinating idea, how we experience the fine line between ‘dreams and reality,’ especially after a traumatic experience such as the death of a loved one. Rae is grieving a loss in her family and this manifests itself as recurring and disturbing dreams that make her question whether they are trying to tell her something -though at heart it’s a crime mystery, not a ‘supernatural’ novel.
Thankfully, I’m far more balanced in my take on dreaming. Mostly I just fly to interesting places and get involved in adventures like I’m in a movie – that’s much more fun!
Sounds like a lot of fun.
You mentioned other books you’ve written.
My first novel, Telling Stories, featured a cynical young journalist, Liz Jones, a reporter who begins to suspect that her university friends might be involved in a story she’s writing. It involves the sudden death of a young woman found in a river, a girl they all happened to meet one night in a nightclub, the same night Liz’s friend’s husband disappeared until morning! Untangling the story of what happened to Jenny, Liz begins to untangle the jealousies and betrayals of her own life and ‘stories’.
My second novel Holiday Money was e-thriller of the month in December 2012 and is about a press officer called Jen. After an out-of-character one-night stand, she finds herself in a spot of blackmail bother, but Jen doesn’t see herself as a victim and is determined to track down her tormentor. The unexpected consequences show that you can’t always tell predator from prey!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a former journalist born in a small village in the South Wales valleys, north of Cardiff. I started my career with Trinity Mirror newspapers, writing stories for The Rhondda Leader and The Western Mail, before becoming a broadcast journalist with BBC Wales Today TV news, based in Cardiff. I’ve worked on all aspects of crime reporting (as well as community news and features) producing stories and content for newspapers and live TV.
Most recently I worked as a press officer for South Wales Police, dealing with the media and participating in criminal investigations, security operations and emergency planning, most notably for the 2012 Olympics that turned out so well all our emergency plans were never needed!
They say, write what you know, so I’ve channeled my experiences of ‘true crime,’ into psychological thrillers. What fascinates me is how the worst human emotions can surface from the most ordinary of circumstances. You won’t find any sophisticated serial killers in my books with elaborate death scenes and ‘calling cards’. Real ‘evil’ if you can call it that, resides far closer to home, often in the faces we know well. It’s that tipping point that my novels explore – the little things that can mean a lot.
Do you have a website?
What about Twitter?
I’ve just finished my fourth novel ‘The Other Woman’, a modern day ghost story with a media-based twist, so watch this space for publication details!