To celebrate the recent success of Richard & Judy book club author Eve Chase's latest releases, we teamed up with Penguin Books to come up with an amazing competition for our customers!
You can win both a 12-month plant subscription and a signed bundle of Eve's intoxicating mystery novels! 5 runners up will receive a free plant and a signed copy of The Glass House, the first chapter of which you can read here!
What's more, we even got the chance to sit down with Eve and get the lowdown on her writing habits, her inspiration, and - of course - her love of plants!
Read on for the full interview!
Sitting Down With Eve Chase!
Where do you find your inspiration for your stories?
Inspiration is everywhere - newspaper articles, TV, old crime cases, scraps of overheard conversation - and it all bubbles away. Like most writers I have lots of ideas, the difficulty is identifying the one that has the legs to go the length of a novel, and enough of an emotional pull. The joy – and frustration – of the most compelling ideas is that they can come at any time! They’re quite hard to force.
Plant-life features prominently on the cover of each of your books. What draws you to plants and what role do they play in your stories?
I’m a keen gardener and work from a shed at the bottom of my garden, so I’m always pressed up close to the seasons and thinking about plants. I can rarely resist slipping them into my books. A terrarium features in The Glass House: it plays an important role, almost a character in its own right. I love the way terrariums are self-contained mini-worlds. The one on my writing desk is a forest in miniature.
Do you hide secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
No, my job is to tease out secrets for the satisfaction of every reader by the end of the novel. They’re seeded to make sense of characters or plot so need to be revealed.
What do you like most about the publishing process and what tips would you give to any aspiring writers?
The thrill of seeing a story excavated from my own head and packaged as a book never fades. My novel only feels real when it reaches readers. Tips for writers? Write every day, even if it’s just a little; after a few months, you’ll have a first draft. And don’t lose the faith; first drafts are usually pretty ropey. So much writing is actually rewriting.
Finally, can you share with us something that you’re currently working on?
The Birdcage, out next year. Set in north Cornwall, it’s about three half-sisters summoned back to their childhood summer holiday haunt, a house they haven’t visited for twenty years due to a terrible event that took place there during the total eclipse of 1999. And the secrets and lies they must unpick in order to defuse the past.
Quick fire round:
Where is your favourite place to write?
My shed. Preferably with the dog, Harry, at my feet, and a cup of coffee.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. I find it energizing, joyful, in the early stages. Crawling to the finish line, it’s draining, and I long to write those two glorious words, ‘The End.’
What motivates you?
I always think my new idea better than the last!
Favourite childhood book?
The Diary of Anne Frank.
In my garden, hydrangea Annabelle. I also really love ferns and my pale pink Generous Gardener rose.
What are 3 words to describe yourself?
Curious, neurotic, loving.
Which 3 people would make up your dream dinner party?
I’d invite my late grandparents, who I miss very much, and a late dear friend. Otherwise: Dorothy Parker, David Bowie and Hilary Mantel.
What are you grateful for?
My family. My career. I feel incredibly lucky to have had a writing life, first as a journalist and now as a novelist. It’s been a ride; I take nothing for granted.
What is one thing everyone should do?
Tell the people you love that you love them.
What are you reading right now?
Lisa Jewell’s new thriller The Night She Disappeared. She’s a completely brilliant storyteller.
How many hours a day do you write?
It depends if I’m writing, researching or editing. But I’m usually at my desk for about eight hours day. The closer I get to my deadline, the longer the hours. By the time I get to the last edits, I’m working late and at weekends. With each book, I carefully plan my time so this does not happen. Each time it happens.
Reading and Plants Go Hand-in-Hand
There's nothing better than curling up surrounded by nature in the company of a good book. We think that reading is the perfect way to feel at one with your environment and at the same time get lost in another world!
That's why you should sign up for the Eve Chase x Plant Subscription competition - what have you got to lose!?