top of page

My First Time with...Elodie Harper

Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize winning short story writer. Her story 'Wild Swimming' won the 2016 Bazaar of Bad Dreams short story competition, run by The Guardian and Hodder & Stoughton and judged by Stephen King. She currently works as a reporter and presenter at ITV News Anglia, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News. Elodie is married with a young son. The Binding Song is her first novel.

Photo: Sophia Spring

Here's the blurb...

Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at HMP Halvergate in a remote, bleak area of Norfolk. At first, she was excited by the promotion. Then she starts to see how many secrets are hiding behind the high walls.

A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared - along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever-present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins.

Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels.

Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts...

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book.

Driving through Elveden in the winter dark on the old A11 I began imagining a vengeful female figure stalking through the trees. The idea grew and grew, and a story took shape. I had wanted to write fiction before, but this was the first time the story felt solid enough. I made a start and two pages in decided I was going to finish it, whatever it took!

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write it?

With a first novel I think two thirds of the way through can be the hardest part. You can’t imagine ever finishing and it’s so tempting to start editing what you’ve already done. But it really is better to get all the way through to the end and then revise. You feel so different when it’s complete and can see the story as a whole. The relief is enormous.