Oxford-based author Cara Hunter’s first book Close To Home became a Sunday Times and #1 Kindle Bestseller, the crime thriller was an instant hit and appeared in the Spring 2018 Richard and Judy Book Club. Now Cara is bringing back DI Adam Fawley in her second novel In The Dark, due for release this Thursday by Penguin Books. Answering our questions, Cara tells us about DI Adam Fawley, writing her second instalment in the series and casting for the audiobook.
Were there any authors you enjoyed most when growing up?
Like many children, I adored Tolkien (and I still do). I also read a lot of Rosemary Sutcliffe – in fact, I read pretty much everything I could get my hands on. I literally have no memory of not being able to read and not loving books.
What inspired you to write a crime series?
I read – and watch – so much of it! Good crime has everything you could possibly want: a relentless story, interesting characters and a satisfying ending. Great crime offers something even more special: a chance to engage with bigger social and moral issues, and explore communities and families at the point where they are under the most pressure.
Do you know the outcome of the plots before you start writing or do you create it as you go?
I always know the ending. The idea usually comes to me as ‘denouements’ and after that, I work backwards to turn it into a narrative.
How would you describe DI Adam Fawley?
Clever, compassionate, astute. In love with his wife, in mourning for his son, and in confusion about who he really is (he’s adopted, but that’s a long story). Not perfect by any means, but he’s someone whose voice I like having inside my head.
What did it feel like seeing Close To Home as a Sunday Times and #1 Kindle Bestseller?
Writer heaven! I still can’t believe the book is still in the Kindle Top Twenty, seven months later.
Without giving spoilers, can you tell us about your new book In The Dark?
The inspiration came from a chance remark by my husband. We were walking along a street close to where we live in Oxford – a street of big Victorian houses, some of which were a bit run-down. He turned to me and said, ‘there could be someone in one of these basements and no-one would even know’. And the rest, as they say, is history…
What was it like creating another case for Adam Fawley and did you find this one easier to write?
It was easier in some ways, as I had Adam and the team in place already so it was a pure joy going back into that world. But it was also harder, as Close to Home had had such a great reception and I didn’t want to fall foul of the dreaded ‘second book syndrome’. We’ll have to wait and see what readers think but early indications are positive!
Do you know how many books will be in the series?
Penguin have commissioned five so far. I’ve finished the third one, No Way Out, which is out in January 2019, and the fourth one is underway, for publication next summer. Don’t ask me about number five yet though as I haven’t a clue!
How was it being picked for the Richard and Judy Book Club for Spring 2018?
Another dream come true, and just the best possible way to launch the series. I couldn’t believe my luck, and meeting them was such fun. Such consummate professionals and so engaged with the books.
Did you have an input in the casting for your audiobooks?
No, not really, but I was absolutely thrilled to have Lee Ingleby read Adam, and Emma Cunniffe take on the narrator role. They are both such great actors. Penguin did a ‘full cast’ recording for Close to Home, which meant there were thirty-seven different voices to cast. It was such fun because lots of Penguin staff got to read, and I did one voice myself too (my Hitchcock moment!).
Do you have ideas for future books which aren’t based around DI Adam Fawley?
Not at the moment – I’m having too much fun!
In The Dark by Cara Hunter is out 12th July, published by Penguin, priced £7.99.
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