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How I accidentally wrote a psychological thriller

"In the end, I had to concede that perhaps I’d written a psychological thriller after all. And now I'm rather chuffed."

How I accidentally wrote a psychological thriller

I didn’t set out to write a psychological thriller. In fact, if I’m honest, I didn’t even realise I had written one. I was pitching Beat The Rain as literary fiction, general fiction, relationship fiction, but not a psychological thriller.

Then the first few people who read early drafts started feeding back:

“It’s so psychological.”
“I couldn’t put it down, I wanted to know what happened next.”
“It was so unusual, really psychological.”

Okay, so I knew I’d written something psychological, I suppose. Alternating chapters flip viewpoint between the couple in question, Louise gets chapter one, Adam chapter two and so on. And the reader quickly realises one of them isn’t going to survive the novel. Which, when I think about it, is a bit ‘thrillery’ I suppose.

But still the penny didn’t drop, it was just spinning in the air above my head, trying to catch the sunlight so I’d take some notice of it.

I was still pitching the novel to agents and publishers as ‘general fiction’ or ‘literary fiction’ – both of which do apply. But then I got a publisher and some book cover endorsements, one of which explicitly said: “Emotional rollercoaster, psychological thriller, Beat The Rain is both.”

In the end, the penny dropped. Not hard, it didn’t smash through my skull or anything. But it kind of rattled on the pavement by my feet and I had to concede that perhaps I’d written a psychological thriller after all – and I’m rather chuffed. It doesn’t have a detective in it. It doesn’t have a traditional ‘murder’ or ‘crime’ to solve, but I do think it’s a psychological thriller none the less.

It wasn’t intended, but I’m really happy about it. Time will tell what the general public make of it – but if it surprised its own author, I hope it’ll surprise you too.

About the author

Author, writer, father, runner. Not always in that order. Born in London, England, Nigel now lives in Brighton (via Nottingham) with his partner, their two children and greying ginger dog.

Buy Beat The Rain

Nigel’s debut novel, Beat The Rain is published by Roundfire Books and will be available in bookstores on 29 July 2016.

The novel is available to pre-order now from Amazon or Waterstones..

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