The Story Behind the Story – A Life for a Life

Hi there!

Welcome to Readerly Ramblings for July

My focus for this month is A Life for a Life, a novella that I now offer freely to all readers on Amazon.

This blog post celebrates its launch onto Amazon, and here's a quote to give you a flavour of the story:

"Still she doesn’t speak. Perhaps she’s in shock. I would never, in a million years, have thought her capable of anything like this. There have always been problems, there’s no denying that… I’ve spent years stuck in the middle of my mother and my wife. My wife and my mother. It's been a nightmare. And a new one has now begun. Our lives will never be the same.”

Shaun – A Life for a Life

Cover Credit: Darran Holmes

The Idea

The idea for A Life for a Life had been burning at me for several months and at first, I had it in mind to add to my list of forthcoming novel releases.

It then came to me that A Life for a Life would be more powerful as a novella-sized story and would be something I could offer freely to give my prospective readers a taste of my writing.

I know of a man who spent many years stuck in the middle of his wife and father-in-law and their hostilities towards one another.  At times, they would be practically fighting over him.  I decided my story would be spun from this idea, changing the father-in-law into a mother-in-law and having more far-reaching consequences than in his situation.

I decided that the ‘two women’ dynamic could be more dramatic - then the sub title, one of them has to go began to burn within me.

I must say before I go any further that my own mother-in-law is wonderful and our relationship couldn’t be any different from the one in my story!

Constructing a Page Turner!

A Life for a Life was an easy book to write.  I wrote it over Christmas at the end of 2020 and thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s a real catharsis in unleashing such venom between the characters onto the page.  The chapters are as short and snappy as the novella itself which ended, as planned, at 30,000 words.

You’ll be wondering ‘whodunnit’ as you read, and I think it will be doubly hard for you to work out as even I didn’t know who was going to do it until I reached the penultimate chapter.

The characters literally took on lives of their own and their actions surprised me more and more as the novella progressed.

Reviews and Research

Just as with all my stories, I was grateful to the fountain of knowledge that is Google, offering answers to searches such as these:

What are the laws for keeping a gun at home?

How to prove that someone is lying.

How far away would a gunshot be heard?

Is it possible to fake having a stroke?

How long is the barrel on an air rifle?

Luckily, no one came to my house to investigate these dubious internet searches. Hopefully these alone will have intrigued you, but here’s the prologue if you’d like a little more…


At first, everyone at school wanted to be my friend. They all wanted to know what had happened. Chloe from next-door-but-one had seen the police cars and the ambulances, then had told the whole class.

But this week, Beth is giving out party invitations and suddenly, no one is interested in me. The horrible story at home means I am different to the rest of them. Now, I am sitting on my own in class and standing on my own in the playground. No one even wants to sit with me at lunch time. I have never been so alone.

Things aren’t any better at home. I cannot remember the last time I saw Dad smile. Sometimes, I am sure I can hear him crying when I walk past his bedroom at night. I can’t sleep properly anymore. When I close my eyes, I see what I saw that afternoon. I want my mum. I want my grandma. I can’t see either of them anymore.

I remember when things were normal. When we got taken to our after-school activities. Ballet and horse riding for me – football and karate for my younger brother Ben. We went on holiday and sat around the table together for dinner. Me, Ben, Mum and Dad. Ben and me don’t even fight anymore. We are both too sad. I know how he feels, and he knows how I feel. It is a club no one would want to belong to.

Things changed when Granny Jeannie came to stay with us. And they will never be the same. Ever again.

To get your copy of A Life for a Life, click below:

       "It was phenomenal, but of course I wish there was more!!!" (Kym – Advance Reader Team)

What I am Reading:

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce.  This gritty psychological thriller came recommended by readers from my Advance Reader Team and is amazing.  I can’t believe it’s the author’s debut.

What I am Writing:

Drowned Voices: When guilt cannot be silenced

I’ve just hit 63,000 words and typed ‘the end.’  Now the re-draft and fleshing out of scenes begins!

Lots of my readers wanted a sequel to The Yorkshire Dipper and to say that I was full of trepidation at writing it is an understatement.  But I’m really happy with how it's turned out and excited to start editing.  The characters I created in the novel’s prequel have surprised and shocked me with their subsequent behaviour and I've enjoyed bringing them back to life.

I can’t wait to share this novel with you.

What I am Editing:

Last Christmas: For Who?

This novel is now in the process of being formatted and proofread, so I’m at the stage of tweaking commas and words rather than altering the story in any way.

This novel will be released at the start of November and I’m so excited to be bringing a Christmas novel out. (Not that it’s particularly festive!)

Quote of the Month:

Here's something I say on my Amazon author page.

PS: This blog post is also available in video format on YouTube. I post a new blog for my readers on the second Thursday of every month.

Thanks for being here – see you next month.

Bye for now,



Click below to download a second FREE novella and join my 'keep in touch' list.

2 thoughts on “The Story Behind the Story – A Life for a Life”

  1. I read A Life For a Life in one sitting; couldn’t bear to put it down until I knew the ending! I’m really, really glad you unleash you inner evil in your writing, it makes fantastic, compelling reading and with each book I read, I think you can’t do any better….and then you do!! Really looking forward to Last Christmas…for whom? It will be too if my reading list as soon as it’s released. Please don’t stop!!

    1. Thanks so much Gill. What a lovely message! I’m delighted you’re enjoying my books so far and of course I’ll keep them coming! The Hen Party is next and then Last Christmas. I’m so very grateful for all your support. x

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