How I Write

How I Write

…or rather, how I wrote The It Girl

One of the questions I get asked most at events and talks is how I write – how I plot, how I come up with ideas, what an average writing day looks like.

Writing a World You Don’t Know

Writing a World You Don’t Know

You’ve probably heard the writing advice “Write what you know.” It’s one of the first maxims handed out to would-be novelists. And there’s a seductive logic to it – if you’re writing a world you know intimately, you can immediately put aside concerns about research and authenticity and just get on with crafting the story.

Dark Academia

Dark Academia

A closed community. Passionate friendships. The pressure-cooker stress of academic success… or failure. It’s no wonder that boarding schools and universities make some of the best settings for murder – in fact it’s surprising to me that there aren’t more whodunnits centred on colleges….

The Hell of Corporate Retreats

The Hell of Corporate Retreats

On paper it sounds great, doesn’t it? An all-expenses-paid trip somewhere nice, with a swanky hotel thrown in. Like a holiday really. A lovely, free holiday. The only catch is that it’s not technically a holiday…

The Pull of the Mountains

The Pull of the Mountains

I am not a sporty person and I don’t like anything physically competitive. Anything that ends up with you hot, sweaty, and at risk of physical injury is a hard no in my book. With one, inexplicable exception: skiing.

Why I Love Locked Room Mysteries

Why I Love Locked Room Mysteries

Of all the well-worn tropes of detective fiction, the one that I have the greatest weakness for, both as a reader and a writer, is the locked room mystery…

Location, location, location

Location, location, location

‘The Turn of the Key’ represents a kind of full circle for me – because originally I wanted to set ‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’ in Scotland…

Smart home nightmares

Smart home nightmares

The main character in ‘The Turn of the Key’ has a nightmarish smart house, and an all-pervasive home management app called Happy (slogan: Home is where the Happy is!) to contend with…

Five of my favourite haunted houses

Five of my favourite haunted houses

One of the things I loved most about writing ‘The Turn of the Key’ was creating Heatherbrae House – a seemingly perfect house, with something seriously sinister lying just beneath the surface…

Inspired by Christie…

Inspired by Christie…

I can’t remember when I read my first Agatha Christie but I was not much older than twelve or thirteen, maybe even younger. I was immediately hooked…

Hen Nights

Hen Nights

In a world where romance is always put above platonic love, a hen night is actually a lovely celebration to have…

Ships & the Sea

Ships & the Sea

One of my earliest memories – I’m still not completely certain if it’s a real memory, or a sort of composite of truth and nightmare – is of ships and the sea…

Hal’s Cornwall

Hal’s Cornwall

‘The Death of Mrs Westaway’ opens in Brighton, but the action quickly moves along the south coast to an imaginary village called St Piran, in Cornwall.

Hal’s Brighton

Hal’s Brighton

‘The Death of Mrs Westaway’ is partly set in Brighton, near where I grew up. Here is my guide to Hal’s Brighton.

FREE SHORT STORY FOR
BOOK CLUB MEMBERS!

FREE SHORT STORY FOR
BOOK CLUB MEMBERS!

When you sign up to my bookclub, receive my new short story We Will Be Watching completely free.

When Lana and her three colleagues sign up for the "dark, complex and immersive" escape room game, The Masked Ball, they are expecting a fun day out of the office, full of team-building and camaraderie. But someone has other ideas, and as the group struggles to complete the room, it becomes apparent that there is a very twisted mind behind the puzzles and clues.

Can you solve the mystery of The Masked Ball?

PLUS...

* A chance to win a free book! With every newsletter one lucky club member is chosen at random.
* Latest news and book recommendations
* Advance notice of Facebook Live chats with Ruth
* Members-only information including spoiler-filled FAQs about all my books!

We take your privacy seriously. You can unsubscribe at any time. See our privacy policy here.