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It's spring!

At least, it is here in the UK - apologies if you're in Australia and are in the thick of autumn. As I write this I can see glorious blue sky out of my window, with blossom popping out all over the garden. Needless to say, it is still freezing in my office - but that's old houses for you... 

I've been meaning to write this spring newsletter for weeks and weeks, but something has always got in the way. More recently, I've been waiting for my design team to produce the lovely banner for the top of this newsletter, because after what feels like a lifetime of planning, it's almost time for the next book! 

AFTER THE END comes out in June (in the UK and the US) and there's more on that below, along with some thoughts on A COTSWOLD FAMILY LIFE, the usual overview of where I've been and where I'm heading next, and a very early peek behind the scenes at my fifth book. Oh - and of course there are plenty of recommended reads if you're stuck for a book.

Aside from work, things have been busy in the Mackintosh household. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you'll know that our family has expanded...

No, I haven't had a baby. Pete the goat arrived last month, accompanied by Sam the cockerel and his harem of eight girls. They're getting on surprisingly well with the dogs (except for Blanche, who took up residency in a neighbour's garden until we promised her a spaniel-free zone) and I'm thoroughly enjoying my trips down to the field with a cuppa each morning. Tips for egg-heavy recipes welcome... 

I'll be writing again next month, with a special edition of my book club newsletter, all about AFTER THE END. I'll have exclusive extracts, audio samples and behind-the-scenes extras for you, and I've got advance copies to give away to three lucky book club members. So sit tight and wait for my name to drop into your inbox very soon...  

Competition winner

In every newsletter I give away a signed book to one member of my book club, selected at random. This issue's winner is Amanda Paton - congratulations! You've won a copy of A COTSWOLD FAMILY LIFE Let me have your address, Amanda, and I'll pop your prize in the post.

If you didn't win this time, do keep an eye on my Facebook page and Twitter feed, where I run regular giveaways. Right now I've got a very special giveaway running - you can win a limited edition proof copy of AFTER THE END. Details here

A Cotswold Family Life

Thank you so much to everyone who has bought my sort-of-memoir, A COTSWOLD FAMILY LIFE. It's been lovely to read your reviews, and to hear your own Cotswold-inspired stories, and I thoroughly enjoyed launching the book in Cheltenham. 

If you've read and enjoyed the book, I'd love you to take a couple of minutes to leave a review - it really does make the world of difference.

You might remember that I recorded the audiobook of A COTSWOLD FAMILY LIFE myself. If you'd like to hear a few snippets of this, you can do so here. (My children are currently listening to this on Audible as their bedtime story, which is quite an extraordinary feeling, I can tell you...)

Something a bit different...

Writing is a very solitary endeavour. This usually suits me very well (I quite enjoy the hermit lifestyle) but sometimes it's nice to work with other people. Last year I worked on a secret project with four other writers - Sophie Hannah, B.A. Paris, and Holly Brown - and I'm now allowed to tell you all about it! 

Serial Box produces top quality serialised fiction, delivered in audio or e-book. Think of it like Netflix, but for fiction. You can either sign up to receive an episode (chapters, to you and me...) each week, or you can download the entire season (book...) and binge-read it in one go. Our story is called THE UNDERSTUDY - here's the pitch... 

Carolyn, Bronnie, Elise, and Kendall are bound together by one thing and one thing only—their daughters are best frenemies at The Orla Flynn Academy, an elite London drama school where a mysterious new girl has stepped into the spotlight. Imogen Curwood may seem like just another teen with dreams of stardom, but from the second she arrives the girls of the academy become the targets of increasingly terrifying attacks. What does Imogen want, and would she really kill to get it? The four mothers must strike an uneasy alliance as they try to uncover the truth before it’s too late. But as their own dark secrets and lies become entangled with those of their daughters, the lines between innocent and guilty, victims and tormentors will be forever shattered. Who will survive to take their final bow?

Intrigued? Sophie, Bernadette, Holly and I created the characters and story from an original idea Sophie had, and we had huge fun coming up with ideas before retreating to our separate lives to write our episodes.

My book club members (that's you!) are entitled to a 10% discount - just follow this link and use the code CLARE10 before placing your order here.

After the End 

I'm going to be writing to you separately about AFTER THE END, because there's so much I want to tell you about it, and as a member of my book club, I'd love to share some detail before the book comes out. In the meantime, I have a very exclusive advance copy to give away - you can enter here. For now, all you need to know is that AFTER THE END comes out on 25th June in the UK and the US, with other countries following as fast as they can manage! The picture above shows me with some of my publishers from around the world. It's a huge honour to have my books for sale in so many different places, and I love the opportunity to speak to my foreign editors.

Book Five - The Writing Process


That's the sound of a writer who is having a particularly Bad Week. 

I'm just over halfway through the first draft of book five (as yet untitled) and after a fast and enthusiastic start, I have ground to a halt. I'm taking a few days off, and will come back next week with renewed vigour! 

I can't tell you much about the story yet, but areas of research involved so far include: the Independent Office for Police Conduct, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross's Five Stages of Grief, and graphic notation. You'll have to wait until 2020 to see how those things all knit together!

Where I've been

I've just got back from Denmark, where I had a wonderful time with my publishers Siri and Majse at Krimimessen. Longstanding book club members will remember that I've been here a couple of times before - it's a crime festival set in an old prison in Horsens, and it's a fabulously atmospheric place. There were quite a few British authors attending, so I got to hang out with C.L. Taylor, B.A. Paris, Ian Rankin, Sarah Vaughan (Have you read Anatomy of a Scandal? It's brilliant), Elly Griffiths and lots more besides. More details on my trip in this photo album on Facebook.

Last month, I was honoured to be invited to Emirates Festival of Literature, with the added bonus that my husband was invited too. We left the children in the capable hands of their grandmother, and jetted off to Dubai for a whole week. I spoke to a hall full of school children about how to structure a novel, and did several interviews and panel events about my books. But the highlight of my trip was undoubtedly a visit to Dubai prison, where I toured the facilities and delivered a creative writing workshop to a small group of inmates. They were engaged and articulate and I'm now working with the festival to see how we could build on the excellent links they've established with the prison. In the photo below I'm just casually hangin' out with a couple of police officers and their patrol supercar. As you do. 

Where I'm going

They say there's no rest for the wicked, and I must be positively evil, as my diary is as packed as ever. Next month I'm heading to Greece and Romania, and then it'll be publication month and I'll be hitting the road for the UK tour of AFTER THE END. More details on these events as soon as I have them. 

Book recommendations


Little Darlings, by Melanie Golding

Lauren has newborn twins. Someone is after them. Is Lauren mad, or does she know something we don't? There's fantastic use of folklore to ramp up the tension, and I raced through it. 

A chilling story with beautiful prose: this is the only book I've ever had actual nightmares about. Don't let that put you off :-) 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman

Oh, I know, you've almost certainly read this one already... But just in case you haven't, I think it's thoroughly deserving of all the hype. Eleanor Oliphant leaves work at 5pm each Friday, and doesn't speak to another soul until 9am on Monday. Haunted by a horrific childhood, slowly the pain begins to catch up with her. A thought-provoking and quirky tale of loneliness and the power of small acts of kindness.

Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty

Nine strangers meet at a health resort. They each have a different reason for being there, and their secrets are revealed over the course of the book. Original, suspenseful and laugh-out-loud funny, Nine Perfect Strangers is downright brilliant.

This Child of Ours, by Sadie Pearse

Riley is 7 years old, and wants to be a boy. Her parents disagree on how to handle this. This is thought provoking and sensitively written, if a little romanticised, and there's plenty to discuss for book groups. An important and moving story.

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