Chichester author reveals how a Norway documentary inspired her latest novel

Author Isabel Ashdown’s latest novel is one that has  been brewing for a while.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 8:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 8:32 am

“I had this story in the back of my head about a girl who wakes from an accident to find that she is locked in her parent’s attic.

“I just couldn’t see where it was going to take place.”

It was while watching a documentary about the Norweigan fjords that it all just clicked and Isabel says she had an ‘epiphany’.

Lake Child

“I could imagine my lead character Eva looking out of a window at this vast landscape,” she explains.

“From there is was pretty quick for me to write the book as I had had the idea for ages.”

Psychological thriller Lake Child was released in September and is Isabel’s seventh book. September also marked the 10th anniversary of her debut book Grasshopper being published.

“It started as a short story while I was doing a degree as a mature student,” recalls Isabel.

“My university lecturer said it could be something more and told me to do it chapter by chapter.

“I was embarrassed at first about telling people my ambition to write a novel but my lecturer gave me the confidence to keep going.”

When writing Isabel likes to plot out the story.

“I didn’t once and really got into the writing and then when the book was ready I had to cut a lot of good writing as I had just gone down so many blind alleys.

“I do get those moments when I’m writing and think ‘oh wow I didn’t see that happening’ I think if I get that feeling as the writer I hope that the readers get it as well.”

Many of Isabel’s previous books are set on the South Coast, which she says makes research easy. But for Lake Child the Norway setting meant a trip to Scandinavia.

On the writing process Isabel needs to have the landscape and character firmly rooted in her mind.

“I want it to be genuine so I have to feel as if I know the character and get into their mind set,” she explains.

“I want the books to seem seamless even if I have spent ages agonising over the story and time line I don’t want the readers to sense that.”

Isbael started her career working for The Body Shop in between Littlehampton and London working in marketing as part of the European team.

“I travelled a lot,” she says.

“When I had my children I felt I needed something else so I looked at going back to university to do English language and creative writing at the University of Chichester. I sat down with my husband and we worked out if I could do it financially and I could so I went for it.”

Work has already started on her next book.

“It will be based in Arundel, which will be a little easier for research as I can just jump in the car,” she smiles.

LAKE CHILD by Isabel Ashdown is published by Trapeze, £7.99