Published by Avon
ebook 12 June 2017 | Paperback 29 June 2017
Its a pleasure to be taking part in the publisher blog tour for Her Last Breath. Firstly, I have a Q&A with Tracy and at the end of the post, my review.
It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the blog Tracy, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
It’s great to be here! I’m the author of four ‘beach noir’ novels with HarperCollins. I’ve been writing for ages and am now thrilled to be able to do it full-time as a job. I live in Buckinghamshire with my husband, our four year old daughter and our puppy, Bronte.
Without giving away too much information, can you please tell us a little about your latest book, Her Last Breath? Where did the inspiration for the story come from?
Her Last Breath is about food blogger whose seemingly perfect life begins to unravel after she’s sent a photo of a missing teenager along with a terrifying note: I’m watching you. I know everything about you. It leads her back to the seaside town she once lived in, uncovering a web of secrets and lies. I was inspired to write is after watching a documentary about landslides – the town Estelle returns to is experiencing them.
You used to work as travel magazine editor. Do your books reflect any of your travel experiences? When I read The Atlas of Us, whether we were in Thailand or Australia, I felt a tremendous sense of place – is this aspect important to you in your writing?
Definitely! The locations in my novels are characters in themselves. Creating an atmosphere is essential, whether that be in a UK location like the seaside town of Lillysands which features in Her Last Breath or more exotic locations like those featured in The Atlas of Us and My Sister’s Secret.
What has been your favourite country to visit and do you have a wish list of places that you have yet to go to?
I probably say a different one in each interview as I keep changing my mind! But I did adore Australia, especially the Red Centre there, was like visiting Mars! I’ve always wanted to go to Russia, maybe one day…
How did you plan/research your books? Do you plot in detail or just see where the story takes you?
I used to see where the story takes me but now I have tight deadlines, I’m much more organised. I usually write a synopsis first for my editor then plan the novel in my details in Excel. Yep, Excel! It’s a great tool for organising plots. I also used Scrivener now to write my novels, it’s amazing, allows you to keep everything in one place.
What is the best writing advice that you have received? And what advice would you give to anyone trying to get their novel published? Is there anything that you wished you had done differently?
The best advice was stick to the core of a novel and try not to go off on tangents. So what’s the main question at the centre of your novel? Figure that out and each scene should be relevant to it.
As for advice, I’d say try not to be too fickle. Find an idea you love and don’t drop it when you fall out of love with it (which inevitably happens when battling with a first draft). Then aim is to get the damn novel written as without that, you have no hope!
I think going back, I’d tell myself to be more patient. Publishing can move at a glacial speed so better to just get on with writing the next novel and let things roll.
Is there any part of the writing process which you enjoy (or find the most difficult) – i.e. researching, writing, editing?
I love exploring a new idea, that exciting initial burst of excitement, like when you fall in love with someone!
Do you have any favourite books or authors which may have inspired you? What type of book do you enjoy reading for pleasure, and what are you reading now?
I love reading novels similar to mine actually: set in interesting locations with a hint of suspense, so the likes of Lucy Clarke, Charity Norman and a US writer I love, Anita Shreve. I’m currently reading Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant. The character of Paul is brilliantly drawn, am gripped!
When you’re not working or writing, what do you do to relax?
I love walking my puppy, Bronte. Nothing better than a walk to start my day!
If you could take 3 books to a desert island, which ones would it be and why
Heroes and Villains by Angela Carter. I adore all her novels and have read this over and over. It’s not one of her most popular books but I love the intensity of it.
A book of poetry, something which collects together lots of different poets. I love poetry and feel authors should read it to get to grips with the rhythm of words.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence, a complete classic and beautifully written.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Tracy and I wish you every success with Her Last Breath.
About the book:
Food writer Estelle Forster has the perfect life. And with her first book on the way, it’s about to get even better.
When Estelle hears about Poppy O’Farrell’s disappearance, she assumes the girl has simply run away. But Estelle’s world crumbles when she’s sent a photo of Poppy, along with a terrifying note: I’m watching you. I know everything about you.
Estelle has no idea who’s threatening her, or how she’s connected to the missing teen, but she thinks the answers lie in the coastal town she once called home, and the past she hoped was long behind her.
Estelle knows she must do everything to find Poppy. But how far will she go to hide the truth – that her
perfect life was the perfect lie?
Her Last Breath is an addictive, page-turning read that fans of Liane Moriarty and Claire Douglas will love.
The prologue begins with a sad tale of a small child being neglected by her parents and subsequently being placed into foster care.
Estelle Forster has made a name for herself as a food writer and blogger. Her first cookery book is about to be launched and she is riding high with hard won success and is seemingly happy with Olympic rower boyfriend Seb. However appearances are deceptive and it appears that someone knows a secret and is sending polaroid photos to Estelle with sinister captions. At the same time, teenager Poppy O’Farrell has gone missing from home and Estelle finds herself drawn into the investigation into her disappearance. This means going back to her past – something she really doesn’t want to do.
Having enjoyed a previous book by Tracy Buchanan, ‘The Atlas of Us’, I was looking forward to this. Her books combine drama with an element of suspense and this is always a hook for me. When Estelle returned to the place of her childhood, a small town called ‘Lillysands’ on the coast, you just knew that there would be trouble ahead. This picturesque town projects perfection, with its expensive looking houses and pretty coastline. However lurking this façade, there is a sense of unease and suspicion. Not only are parts of the town literally collapsing due to coastal erosion but the locals are a tight knit bunch and suspicious of outsiders.
I was quite split on my feelings towards Estelle. On the one hand I felt sorry for her; she clearly had some deep rooted issues and I admired her for having done so well against all the odds only to find herself the target of sinister notes and photos referring to a past that she would rather have kept hidden. But, I also found her to be a very frustrating character and I began to lose patience with her constant paranoia and rather immature manner at times. Having said that, I couldn’t make my mind up at all as to who could be behind the photos and to add to the suspense the chapters are interrupted by a sinister unknown voice, who seems to be watching every move. I think I must have suspected every character in turn and although I had guessed one part of the conclusion, I was well and truly beaten by the reveal when it came.
This was a very enjoyable read with its underlying theme of secrets and betrayals. I was never quite sure who was telling the truth and what to believe. Some parts of the story did seem to move at a slower pace than others but Her Last Breath certainly kept me engrossed with its twisty and intriguing plot all the way to the end.
My thanks to the publisher for the paperback copy to review and for the opportunity to take part in the blog tour
At the time of writing this post, Her Last Breath is available to download from Amazon UK for 99p
About the author:
Tracy lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, their little girl and their puppy, Bronte. Tracy travelled extensively while working as a travel magazine editor, and has always been drawn to the sea after spending her childhood holidays on the south coast visiting family – a fascination that inspires her writing. She now dedicates her time to writing and procrastinating on Twitter.