The lovely and talented Tracy Buchanan, author of No Turning Back, stopped by to tell us about her newest release and plotting the plot. She also brought me an amazing gift. Read on!

English Mansion

My new home overlooking the English Channel

So pleased you could stop by for a visit! Come into the parlor and get comfy. I have tea and coffee and sweet treats. Which would you like?

Tracy: Well, we’re experiencing a bit of a rare heatwave here in the UK so can I go for an iced latte and a chocolate brownie, please?

Refreshing iced latte and brownie coming up. I’m so honored you stopped by. Before I bombard you with questions, is that a gift for me?

Tracy: Yes! (Hands over keys to a haunted clifftop mansion, overlooking the English channel.)

Oh I love it! Let the packing begin! Before I rush off and load up moving boxes, tell me what your new release is about.


How far would you go to save your child?

Anna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the “Ophelia Killer,” a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago—and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life?

So tell me, if you could only use one sentence to introduce us to your main character, what would it be?

Tracy: Anna is gutsy single mum who’d do anything to protect her child.

Your book looks to be quite the thriller with complex themes. How did you handle the plot? Do you have a system? A notebook of details, lists, etc.?

Tracy: I used to just write my novels organically. But now I write to contracts and deadlines, I have to be more disciplined. So I tend to make some notes in one of the many pretty notepads friends and family buy me as gifts, then I start plotting the novel in Excel. Yes, Excel!

How did you create the scene or the moment when your protagonist meets the antagonist, the introduction of your central conflict, and how you created that tension.

Tracy: This scene is often the first one that comes to me, that inciting moment that changes everything for the main character. In this case, I actually imagined being in that situation myself as I was walking my newborn in a local park. How would I react if a stranger attacked us? So it all came together in my head then I wrote it down.

Which of Aristotle’s six elements do you think is strongest in this story: Plot, character, thought/theme, melody/rhythm, language/diction, spectacle/setting.

Tracy: What a FAB question! Thought / theme is the most important to me, in this novel and my others. There needs to be a theme at the core of a novel which you always keep in mind as a writer. It acts as an anchor, keeping you still and sure, and ensuring you don’t go off on tangents. For NO TURNING BACK, I always kept in mind the concept of perception and how perception can change as you learn more about someone.

I see you are really enjoying those muffins. I have more in the kitchen. More tea too?

Tracy: I never say no to more tea. It’s started to cloud over now *sigh* So a nice warm cuppa would be fab.    

Excellent. I’ve just brewed a double dose of Irish Breakfast. Pour as much as you’d like. So who is your favorite playwright and why?

Tracy: I’ve always loved Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. The passion and angst, the seething secrets lurking beneath the surface. He does that so well.

Do you have a specific writing strategy/secret that you could share with other writers?

Tracy: Lots of authors talk about how important it is to read, read, read and while I agree with that, don’t ignore other mediums: films, TV, plays and musicals. Find inspiration in the things you watch and enjoy and expand your horizons beyond beautiful books.

What is the most unusual item sitting on your desk this very minute?

Tracy: A special nail polish which stops me chewing my nails as when I’m in the throes of writing a tense scene (and there are a lot of them in my novels), my poor nails get the brunt of it!

Anything else you’d like to share about your book, the characters, setting, theme?

Tracy: In NO TURNING BACK, we join Anna as she’s dealing with those first heady weeks returning to work after maternity leave. I was lucky, the company I worked for before I left to write full-time were very understanding. But I was able to draw on that exhaustion you feel and paranoia too that you’re not quite at the 100% you once were. I hope people reading the novel will identify with that.

I’m so happy you visited. Please take the rest of these cinnamon muffins with you!

Tracy: Yummy, thank you!

Thank you, Tracy, for stopping by ePen! I’ll invite you over for tea once I get settled into my new mansion!

No Turning Back Tracy Buchanan

Click image to purchase your copy!

Tracy BuchananNo Turning Back: A Novel

Women Sleuths/Suspense Thriller
Crooked Lane Books (June 13, 2017)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683311638

Internationally bestselling author Tracy Buchanan takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride filled with heart-stopping secrets and hairpin turns in No Turning Back, her US debut.

About The Author

Tracy Buchanan lives in the UK with her husband, their little girl and their one-eyed Jack Russell. Buchanan traveled extensively while working as a travel magazine editor and has always been drawn to the sea after spending her childhood holidays on the coast visiting family–a fascination that inspires her writing. She now dedicates her time to writing and procrastinating on Twitter.

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