** WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! **
When Dark Tide came out in the UK (under the original title, Revenge of the Tide), I had plenty of reviews commenting on how different it was to Into the Darkest Corner. Plenty of people seemed to be disappointed that it was so different, which made me wonder if people had been somehow expecting me to write the same story over again. I didn’t mind this so much, as there were lots of people who had found Into the Darkest Corner difficult to read (because of the violence, because it triggered something in their own memory which hurt, or because they didn’t engage with Catherine and her lifestyle) who then found Dark Tide more enjoyable.
(Interestingly enough, in Australia and New Zealand, Revenge of the Tide was launched just before Into the Darkest Corner, and so many people read that one first. The reviews were much more balanced, and focussing on the individual books rather than comparing them to each other.)
As a result of all this, I found myself wondering about the expectation of the reader and whether I should have written a different book to appeal to the people who had loved my first book. However, hindsight is a glorious thing, isn’t it? Because I’d already written the second book before Into the Darkest Corner was published, and I thought it being different was a good thing.
So, dear friends, if you are about to start reading Dark Tide, or if you are part way through it, I wanted to share with you some insights into the book, how it came about and why it is so different…
- I wanted my second heroine to be very different to Catherine; who is scared all the way through the book, and quite frankly that level of terror is exhausting. I wanted to write about a woman who isn’t scared of anything, who is feisty and bold and confident and reckless, and as a result gets herself into trouble. The side effect of this is that Genevieve’s self-confidence makes her sometimes come across as arrogant, I think. This wasn’t my intention for her. Her sense of humour is quite dry and sarcastic, which is very difficult to get right in print. I love Genevieve because despite her boldness she has vulnerabilities that are exposed through her relationships with Jim, and Dylan. She loves to think she can do anything she wants to do, she doesn’t need help from anyone – when in fact this isn’t the case at all. She needs Dylan to help her leave London, she needs Jim to keep her safe, she even needs Malcolm and the other people in the Marina to take the place of the family she has cut herself adrift from.
- I’m kind of a little bit in love with Dylan. He is a complete work of fiction but you know what? My characters become quite real to me, and once they are real I have to write about them. The more I wrote about Dylan the more I fell for him and the more I wanted Genevieve to do the right thing, make the right choice and take him seriously. She thinks she loves Dylan but she doesn’t know why. She doesn’t understand why he is so distant, when she is used to men wanting to be near her. Which leads me on to point number 3…
- Dark Tide is actually a love story in disguise. If Into the Darkest Corner was a bit of an anti-love story, a tale of how badly things can go wrong when you’re not paying attention, Dark Tide is about the lengths people will go to, the risks they will take, when they love someone. The setting for the love story is suspense, danger, waiting for your past to catch up with you, fighting back – but it’s still a love story.
- Some of the locations in Into the Darkest Corner are real – there is a very good fish and chip shop in Prospect Street in Lancaster, for example – and I enjoyed putting these details in so much that I wanted to write about a place that I know well. This is why the setting for Dark Tide is so important for me, why I’ve been posting all these pictures of the Medway and why the boat Revenge of the Tide is almost a character in itself.
- This is a big one: I wanted to write something different! I didn’t want to write about domestic abuse this time. I didn’t want to write about misery or intense fear, because I’d done that already. I want all of my books to be different, because I want to surprise people. And more importantly I want to surprise myself. I don’t want to get bored of what I’m writing. I want to learn something from the writing process of all my books. For example, having written two books (Into the Darkest Corner and Dark Tide) that are essentially about relationships, I wanted my third book to be about the absence of relationships. It’s about loneliness and social isolation and what happens to us when we spend too much time alone. And, having written three stand alone books, my fourth book is going to be the start of a police procedural series. Even the series is going to be very different, though, in ways that I will reveal in another entry in due course! See where I’m going with this?
I hope this helps a little… and if you want to ask me anything about Dark Tide, or comment on it, I’d love to hear from you – leave me a comment, or you can go to my ‘Contact’ page and send me an email!