Lost in the Lake by A J Waines **Blog Tour Interview & Review**

I'm happy to welcome A J Waines to Books, Life and Everything today to talk about her latest book, Lost in the Lake, and to tell us a little bit more about herself. Before I hand the blog over, let's read a little about her book:

She came at first for answers…now she’s back for you

Amateur viola player Rosie Chandler is the sole survivor of a crash which sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake. Convinced the ‘accident’ was deliberate, but unable to recall what happened, she is determined to recover her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

But Rosie is hiding something…

Sam is immediately drawn to the tragic Rosie and as she helps her piece the fragments together, the police find disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? And what happened to the violin lost in the crash, worth over £2m?

When Rosie insists they return to the lake to relive the fatal incident, the truth about Rosie finally creeps up on Sam – but by now, she’s seriously out of her depth…

The second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series, Lost in the Lake is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Psychological Thriller that will leave you glancing over your shoulder.


 Welcome to Books, Life and Everything!

Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?

I was in my forties and had no idea I was going to write fiction. I’d had a varied career, having been a professional musician (cellist), an administrator and a psychotherapist. After fifteen years in the latter role, to be honest, I was burnt out and I was looking for something new. I tried writing a short story and it ballooned into a novel. Encouraged by my brother-in-law, I sent it out and got an agent and my life has completely changed as a result! I’m now a full-time author. My experience just shows you that anyone can give writing a go!

 What is it about the psychological thriller genre which attracts you?

As a former psychotherapist, it was a natural progression for me to choose psychological thrillers as my genre. I’d worked with ex-convicts from high security institutions, so I felt I had some insight into the disturbed and criminal mind. But I love a good murder mystery too – so as a result, my books tend to have both a sinister mystery on the surface and a deeper psychological thriller lurking underneath, with that essential twist at the end, of course!

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

I’m at my desk at around 8am and apart from a short break for lunch, I carry on until around 5.30pm - just a normal working day. I take notebooks with me everywhere I go and I’m always jotting down ideas, but I can never focus in a park or coffee shop to do the real work. I wish I could! I can only work at home in my study with nothing but silence around me. For some jobs (eg social media, accounts), I can have music playing (Mozart’s Requiem is a favourite), but not during the creative cycle itself, such as plotting, drafting, editing.

How do you go about researching detail and ensuring your books are realistic?

My books appeal to readers who are curious about the way people tick, and I’m lucky to be able to use my real life experiences in psychotherapy (being careful to preserve confidentiality, of course). For any other research, however, I have to check the details. In Lost in the Lake, I had to look into what happens when a car hits the water and sinks. I needed to know how people get out of a vehicle, how much air they have, how it feels and so on, so I read a lot of newspaper reports, personal accounts and scientific reports, online.

Without spoiling the plot, could you let us know a little about Lost in the Lake?

The story starts when a van leaves the road and plummets into a lake, killing all but one of the passengers. Or so it seems. The sole survivor, Rosie, knows in her bones that it wasn’t an accident, but has gaps in her memory. That’s the tangled murder mystery on the surface. She turns to psychologist, Samantha Willerby, to help recover her memories and that’s when the psychological thriller begins to simmer. A chilling, altogether different dynamic is going on underneath the main enigma. Rosie looks like she’s searching for answers about the crash, but very soon it becomes clear that she’s after something else…

If you could choose to be a character from Lost in the Lake who would you be and why?

Golly, I think they all have a rough ride in the story! I probably feel most connection to the lead character, Dr Samantha Willerby. She’s a clinical psychologist (so slightly different from me), specialising in trauma and memory loss. She’s partly the kind of person I’d love to be: a real trooper, super-reliable and determined, but (like all of us) she sometimes doesn’t trust her own judgement and makes mistakes. There’s also a darker side to her past, which she is yet to resolve and she keeps falling for the wrong kind of men (not my own problem, thankfully!). In Lost in the Lake, she’s reacting to something that happened recently, but she tries too hard and it leads to a situation that spirals out of control.

 What can we expect next from you?

Next up will be the third in the Dr Sam series, Perfect Bones, set on a canal boat in London. That will be published in 2018. I’m also writing the first draft of another standalone thriller (my eighth). I’ve got lots of other ideas buzzing around in my head for a while to come, I think!

Thanks so much for coming along and giving us an insight into your life as a writer. Perfect Bones sounds tempting- I can't wait!

                                                              My Thoughts

When I started the book, I thought I had the measure of it- therapist meets patient and life begins to unravel- but how wrong I was. There is so much more to find in this story and primarily I think this is because of the great characters we meet. I especially felt for Dr Samantha Willerby, the lead character, who comes across as a really decent person whose professional role puts her in the way of vulnerable and potentially manipulative people. I liked how the narrative viewpoint changes and alternates between Dr Sam and Rosie. Rosie's chapters in particular make the tension grow for me as you wonder what is coming next. You also draw comparisons between Dr Sam's family history and Rosie's and realise the pressures which are in the background for both women.

    There is more than one mystery in Lost in the Lake and I became quite fearful as to how the story was going to pan out. There is a lot of background knowledge evident on how memory loss and trauma emerges and the plotting makes sense and seems true to the situation. Under pressure not to make errors of judgment, Dr Sam does make some faulty decisions, which allow Rosie to draw the wrong conclusions. Of the other characters, I would like to know more about Dr Sam's sister, Miranda. It could be that this was addressed in the first book, but I certainly hope the dynamic between the two sisters continues into Perfect Bones.

In short: a dark twisty tale with a chilling centre.

About the Author

AJ Waines has sold over 400,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts
with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).

Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries. AJ Waines has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and ranked a Top 10 UK author on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband.  

Visit her website, blog, on Twitter, Facebook or sign up for her Newsletter.  

Thanks to A J Waines for a copy of the book and a place on the Tour.

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