Interview with A A Abbott

Tell us about your book (what’s the sales pitch?)

Emily is running from the man who’s stolen her childhood. Young DJ Jack rescues her from the streets when he sees a woman in trouble. He doesn’t know Emily’s only 15, and already trapped in a web of lies. It’s a story of love, lies and hope.

If you could be a character in the book who would you be and why?

Cassie, Jack’s sometime girlfriend. She drives a Porsche, she knows what she wants, and she always gets it.

What did you learn about writing by writing this book?

It’s an emotional journey once you’re inside a character’s head. Emily and Jack really go through the mill and I cried as I wrote about them. I cried afterwards, too.

Do you have a set writing process, if so what is it?

I always plot in advance, chapter by chapter, and write a 2 page bio on each of the most important characters. Having written a draft I like, I send it to 30 beta readers to tear apart. I rewrite it, send it to my editor Katharine D’Souza, then rewrite again once I’ve heard from her.

What’s one question you think would be really fun to answer, but has never been asked of you?

Q: What songs have inspired your writing?

A: I really love rock music like the Foo Fighters to get in the mood for writing. Doom-laden tunes from the Sisters of Mercy and Alan Walker got me through the darker passages of BRIGHT LIES. Bouncier beats like Crowded House bring optimism back in!

What made you choose to write your book as a psychological thriller

BRIGHT LIES is a story that hit me in a dream many decades ago. It’s much darker than the vodka wars you’ll read about in my Trail series. I waited until I was ready to write about child abuse in an appropriate way. The book isn’t based on personal experience. However, I’ve been on the periphery of situations which cause sleepless nights when I reflect on them now.

How much research did you do before writing the book and how did you go about it?

I needed to find out about subjects as diverse as DJing, drug-taking, police procedure and child abuse. I have very knowledgeable beta readers, and they helped me out. Because of the pandemic, there were few meetings face to face – it was mostly done by phone and email. I am especially grateful to my ex-police contacts for explaining the help available to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse – please see the list of contacts in ex-police detective Marie Wright’s guest blog here: Under Clare’s Law and Sarah’s Law, the police will also advise you if you have concerns about a particular individual.

Do you remember the first story you told? What was it?

I can’t recall the first ever, but a saga of a wild woodsman intrigued my younger siblings on 2 years’ worth of car journeys. I would have been about 9 when that started.

What are you reading? Who do you think we should be reading (apart from you!)?

I read many genres. My favourite writer at the moment is fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay, who really gets you emotionally invested in his characters. In the psychological thriller genre, I love Jo Ullah, Barbara Copperthwaite and Valerie Keogh.

In one sentence what’s your best piece of advice for writers?

Be open to feedback, because it’s the way to make good writing into something magical.


British crime thriller writer A.A. Abbott (also known as Helen Blenkinsop) loves to escape with an exciting and emotional read, and that’s what she aims to write too. Based in Bristol, she’s also lived and worked in London and Birmingham. All three cities feature in her pacy suspense thrillers. Her latest psychological thriller, BRIGHT LIES begins in North Somerset with a posh art exhibition in Bath. Young Emily meets the man who will change her life and cause her to run away to a squat in Birmingham, work in a nightclub and get further entangled in a web of lies.

To write BRIGHT LIES, Helen has had advice from thirty beta readers on subjects as varied as police procedure, drug abuse, grooming, art, music, DJing and clubbing. She’s grateful to them and to her editor, Katharine D’Souza, for making huge improvements to the story.

Helen’s earlier 5 book Trail series is a lighter read focused on a vodka business. Snow Mountain is a premium vodka made in the former Soviet Union, and its owners have blood on their hands. The saga follows the fortunes of two families running the business and what happens when they fall out with each other and with a London gangster. Glamorous heroine Kat is the girl readers love to hate at the beginning of the series, but by the last book, she has won them over. Book research for the series included prison life, hotel research and vodka. Helen especially enjoyed a tour and tasting with the helpful folk at the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire.

Like 10% of us, many of Helen’s family are dyslexic. While she is not, she wants her books to be enjoyed by readers with dyslexia and visual impairment too. She publishes her thrillers in a Large Print dyslexia-friendly edition as well as standard paperback and Kindle versions. (You can also adjust the font on your Kindle to suit your needs.) Audiobooks are on the cards – watch this space!

Helen likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles, and reading thrillers and short stories at live fiction events and on Zoom. If you’re a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she’d love to hear from you.

Helen is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group, and Birmingham’s New Street Authors.

Find out more and get a free e-book of short stories at






Sales link for BRIGHT LIES

BRIGHT LIES is available in Kindle Unlimited, ebook, paperback, Large Print and dyslexia-friendly print.

Published by suttope

Pete W Sutton is a writer and editor. His two short story collections – A Tiding of Magpies and The Museum for Forgetting – were shortlisted for Best Collection in the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 & 2022 respectively. His novel – Seven Deadly Swords – was published by Grimbold Books. He has edited several short story anthologies and is the editor for the British Fantasy Society Horizons fiction magazine.

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