Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Research for her New Thriller and AJ's latest Obsession…

Available NOW on Amazon
Inside the Whispers is based on chilling events at a London Hospital and introduces my series character, the gutsy Clinical Psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby. Sam starts a new job treating patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, one of the conditions I came across when I worked as a Psychotherapist in private practice, in London. 

Background Research

PTSD is intense. It can involve flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and panic-attacks. It can lead individuals to feel jumpy, helpless, hopeless and even to consider taking their own lives. Many sufferers, especially emergency workers and those in the armed services, lose confidence and feel ashamed when they suffer symptoms in the  aftermath of a harrowing event considered to be 'part of their job'. They often feel a sense of failure and put on a brave face, making everything worse. Others - civilians, survivors or even bystanders at a shocking situation, are bewildered when unpleasant and unexpected symptoms arise weeks or months down the line.

At the start of Inside the Whispers, Sam has one-to-one consultations with survivors of a fire on the London Underground and I hope my own experiences working in this field helped to bring authenticity to these scenes. Unlike in my own practice, however, Sam soon realises something is badly awry when her patients recount their nightmares. Their stories don't add up and Sam is swept into a mysterious and deadly game of Chinese whispers.

Richmond Bridge 
 
The River Thames

When I first started sketching notes for Inside the Whispers, I'd already left London. It was largely a financial decision to go; my husband and I wanted to move out of a rented flat to buy our own place, but the cost of a property - even in the areas of London where we didn't want to live - was beyond us! With a heavy heart, we moved further along the south coast to Southampton. More recently, we've moved to a beautiful small village, five minutes walk from the water's edge on the south coast, in Hampshire. Nevertheless, London is still my favourite city in the world. To me, it means glamour and dynamism – I feel it the instant I step off the train at Waterloo. I feel my ‘best self’ when I’m in London, as though anything is possible. 

To keep my experiences of London alive, I decided to start a new series of psychological thrillers set there, with the first, Inside the Whispers, based around a fictitious hospital, St Luke's at London Bridge, beside the River Thames. 
London Bridge (www.telegraph.co.uk)


The river, with its distinctive bridges and high and low tides, plays a big part in my debut novel, The Evil Beneath, and is also a background theme in Inside the Whispers. I realise now that waterways have become quite an obsession in my books. I can't write about London without involving the river!




A beautiful and majestic presence winding through the heart of London, I've always found the Thames alluring and mysterious. It's also a sinister force harbouring unexpected offerings that emerge when the tide is out, then disappear at high-tide. I also find the water incredibly soothing and transporting to watch. When I lived in Putney, I used to love wandering along the towpath, using the gentle flow of the water to reflect on my own direction in life.

The Thames at Putney
Regent's Canal, London





My favourite walks are always along riverbanks and Regent's Canal features in a forthcoming thriller.







View from my local marina, Hampshire
These days, I'm lucky enough to be able to see The Solent from my study window every day. 

So far, the sea hasn't made a major appearance in my books (only in passing, in Girl on a Train), but perhaps it will in the future. In the short-term though, the next thriller in the Sam Willerby series is called Lost in the Lake, so I think my obsession with water is set to continue!



At the time of writing  GIRL ON A TRAIN by AJ Waines is standing at No 1 in the overall UK Amazon charts. 
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   Inside the Whispers is the latest Psychological Thriller from AJ Waines 
(and FIRST in the new Dr Samantha Willerby Series)

(The first four novels can be read in any order)

  •  Over a Quarter of a Million books sold worldwide
  • Girl on a Train  a Number One Bestseller on Kindle in UK and Australia 
  • The Evil Beneath Number One in 'Murder' and 'Psychological Thrillers' (UK Kindle charts)
  • Awarded Kindle KDP Top 10 'most-read Author' in UK (2016)
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