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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

How a pint of milk inspired a psychological thriller… @bookouture #FlowersForTheDead #writingc

I don’t know about you but I’m always fascinated by the stories behind the stories… What inspired an author to come up with their idea? Where did that initial spark come from?

It’s often the most strange and random happening that can lead to a bestseller. CS Lewis had a recurring dream about a faun carrying an umbrella and some parcels, standing in the snow beneath a glowing lantern, and the Chronicles of Narnia were born. Stephanie Meyer was also inspired by a dream to write the Twilight saga. George Orwell watched a horse and cart go past and suddenly had the thought: ‘what would happen if animal actually realised the power they have?’ From that thought sprang Animal Farm.

Flowers For The Dead was inspired by a pint of milk.

It’s true! Life was hectic. I was busy writing Invisible, my debut, during my train commute every morning and evening (when I could manage to get a seat), and perhaps snatching a moment during lunchbreaks. I had also just taken voluntary redundancy from my job, so was trying to tie up loose ends before I left, and organise moving from my home in Colchester to Birmingham to be with my partner. With so much on my mind, sometimes I was a bit forgetful.

One day I opened my fridge to use the last of my milk. But it wasn’t the last, there was another full carton beside it that I must have bought and forgotten about.

“It must have been me, there’s no one else who could have done it,” I shrugged to myself. Then I laughed: “Unless there’s a crazed stalker breaking in just to leave me milk.”

From that moment came the inspiration for Adam, a stalker who wants to do kind, thoughtful things for the woman he loves. Right up until the moment he kills her. I kept thinking about how creepy it would be to have someone doing things around your home, and how easy it would be at first to write them off as absent-mindedness. No one would realise what Adam was doing until it was too late…

Want to know more? Here’s the description:

He sees her. The one. The sunglasses don’t fool anyone, she is clearly upset, her nose and lips swollen from crying. They are two lost souls and he knows his love can help her. After all, she is not the first girl he has followed home…

Adam is the perfect boyfriend. He pays attention, he buys flowers. He knows everything about Laura and looks after her every need. He cooks, he cleans – he even does the dishes without being asked.

But Laura has never met Adam. Still grieving after a devastating car crash that killed her family, she’s forgetful and struggling to pull her life together. She’d be horrified to know the depth of this unsettling fantasy in which she is the star. But there’s no denying the chill she feels every time she finds another elaborate bouquet on her doorstep, or wakes in the night sensing she is not alone.

Adam has been watching her every move, and now it’s time to act. Except, there’s one little detail he’s missed: Laura has been watching him too.

After everything she’s been through, Laura’s ready to fight back and stop being the victim in her own life story. But in Adam’s world, there are no happy endings…

Flowers For The Dead can be bought at: Amazon Apple Kobo Google

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