I’m a big fan of psychological thrillers, in particular when they have a domestic feel – the ‘this could happen to me’ element – and I wanted to write a novel in that vein. Something gripping, but which felt real. For a while I’d had a few different ideas, but no central plot line to bring them all together.
That changed after a conversation I had with an American friend. She was contemplating a trip to Europe with her husband and young daughter, but decided against it because she had heard that there were gangs who kidnapped kids and sold them into slavery.
That stuck with me, and, sometime later I was noodling on another idea I had about a marriage that had broken down to the point at which both parties had made up their minds to get divorced and move on, but then something happened which made that impossible – perhaps a child of theirs fell very ill, or something like that.
Then it came to me: their child could be abducted, and they could be thrust into the media spotlight. It was later that I conceived of the twist: what if the child was returned, because abduction was not the end, but only the beginning…
From there it was long walks and plot outlines and drafts and then, eventually, I had something I was happy with. I shared it with the people who I rely on to give me advice on early drafts (thank you – you know who you are) and then rewrote and rewrote until After Anna was ready.
A note on the title: titles are strange beasts, because (for me, at least) they either come right at the beginning, or right at the end. After Anna came right at the end. The book was called ‘Somewhere Out There’ for a long time – and I was reasonably happy with that – but then one day After Anna just came to me, and it stuck.
I hope you enjoy reading it!
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