** 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!
I really enjoyed both books, as they are well written and well researched. Having lived on a boat myself, reading Dark Tide brought back very happy memories for me. The characters were true to life of the boating fraternity, and the setting was just great. All round a thoroughly good read.
Great blog post, I enjoyed reading this. And never mind if some people misunderstood Genevieve and thought that she was arrogant – so was Scarlett O’Hara, and her legend lives on!
YES! thats exactly it! The characters became real to me too! I also felt a little in love with Dylan for his self control and silent confidence! Yes, excellent blog, its so great to hear it from the author’s viewpoint.
I agree, the books were very well researched and having a psychology background myself I was totally engrossed in the OCD part of Catherine and thought it was so well depicted it would be useful for anyone with OCD to read.
I loved both books and I think the danger of authors is that they find the magic formula and repeat it until it becomes quite diluted (Harry Potter). Both books had the same level of intrigue for me even though they were quite different. I loved the fact they were different as it didnt become predictable or boring. The common thread for me was the focus on relationships and the intensity of emotion. A true skill to convey such powerful content through words. Loved them both and as I said in my other post, do keep writing ! I would have caught up after Human Remains!
I have come to Into the Darkest Corner late I’m afraid.
Nevertheless having just finished it within two days I had to say how brilliant it is. I don’t normally read thrillers and it took some time to get into for a 60 year old bloke, but I was totally , totally absorbed and drank in every scene, page and character. I was tense and frightened towards the end but the novel was incredibly satisfying with such a good conclusion, although one that leaves me feeling uncomfortable. I have never really thought about the victims of abuse in such a meaningful way. The book almost makes me ashamed of my lack of understanding. so thank you for a great great read.
I didn’t think Into the Darkest Corner was an anti-love story. The character of Stuart and the eventually establishment of their wonderful loving relationship is touching and fulfilling. It shows the triumph of love and I was so pleased for Cathy in the end.
I should now try your other novels but having read this site I realize that they are very different from your first for which I congratulate you on winning the Amazon Prize in 2011. All I can really say is what so many others have said “Thank You”.
I also think this would make a really good film !
Thank you! What a lovely comment. xx
audrey I couldn’t stop reading this book. I was married at 22 for 18 years to a man who was very controlling. He used to go through all my belongings and hated me earning money in my own right. We had 3 children.
He was 14 years older and a refugee from Nazi Germany. I found out that he was 2 years older than he said he was. also half Jewish. Why? I could not have cared less about that.
Eventually I found some one else and left him, but before and after our marriage ended I was frightened of him. Not of physical cruelty but of his domination.
hi! love both of them equally – you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone at all – -a good writer is a good writer. carryon as you are and bugger anyone that doesn’t know a good story when they read one. You’re in charge of your own product. Look up Jonathan Franzen: he’s uncompromising – practically told Oprah to bugger off~!
best regards, a reader who likes the AUTHOR.
Ha ha, thank you Helen! I will keep that in mind. You’re very kind. xx
I just finished reading Into the Darkest Corner in about 2 days time. I couldn’t put it down. It had an eerie resemblance to my life in my early 20’s. I was stalked and tormented by a real life character so much like Lee. Although, my obsessive compulsive disorder became one of trying to keep tabs on him to ensure I could keep a safe distance from him. I moved 11 times. I changed my name 3 times. When the internet became a household thing, I began googling his name in online directories, constantly as a means to ensure I was safely AWAY from him. One day, a random google (I always googled prior to travel) I came across his obituary. I never felt so much relief in my life. My life has been forever changed because of a random encounter with an enchanting man at a bar one night when I was 21. Even though he’s safely underground for all of eternity, his image haunts me in the face of strangers frequently. You’re an amazing writer. I don’t think I can say that in large or bold enough letters here. Blessings to you on your writing journey.
WOW! YET I HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK! JUST FINISHED IN THE DARKEST CORNER… I JUST HAVE TO SAY IS BY FAR THE BEST WORK I HAVE EVER READ. ELIZABETH YOUR A GREAT AUTHOR. VERY EXCITED TO READ MORE FROM YOU. GOING STRAIGHT AFTER WORK TO BUY DARK TIDE!
Thank you Daniela, very kind of you. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to see this. xx
Hi Elizabeth, I know you may not even see this but I really wanted you to know that Into the Darkest Corner was THE best book I’ve read in my life, I just had to thank you. Thank you for producing such an amazing book, I can’t even express how engaging and interesting it was and I read quite a lot.I can not wait to read more of your books. Again, THANK YOU!
Thank you Nicola, this is lovely to hear. xxx
I just finished Into the Darkest Corner. I legitimately came across it by accident, in the “Bargain Books” section of a secondhand store in my town. It seemed interesting enough, and I truly needed something to occupy my anxious mind, if only for a while. Little did I know, this book was unlike any I had ever read before, and I am so grateful for your existence at the moment! I can identify so much with Cathy, and I laughed and cried with her throughout the entirety of her story. Not bad for a random “Bargain Book,” eh? I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work. I immediately came to your website and blog to find out about other material you’ve written. You are now EASILY my favorite author thus far, and I commend you for the patient and understanding outlook you maintained while writing about abuse and mental illness. I can’t wait to get my hands on another Elizabeth Haynes story. Thank you so much.
Thank you Jessie! This is lovely to hear. I love a random bargain book! Have a great weekend and much love to you.