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My First Time...with Fiona Cummins

Fiona Cummins is an award-winning former Daily Mirror showbusiness journalist and a graduate of the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. Rattle, her bestselling debut novel, received international critical acclaim when it was published earlier this year. It is also in development as a six-part TV series by the producers of Kick-Ass and Miss Sloane. Her second novel The Collector will be published in February. Fiona lives in Essex with her family.

Here's the blurb...

A serial killer to chill your bones A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he's just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family's macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey's father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London's Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it's also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book.

On the night I was invited up to George Clooney's hotel suite as part of my job as a showbusiness journalist for the Daily Mirror. I knew it would never get any better than that.

On a serious note, though, it was actually during a year of terrible family illness. It pulled me up short, and made me realise that time is finite, nothing is promised and we owe it to ourselves to do the things that make us happy.

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

Writing a novel is like permanently having homework. Oh, and eating biscuits does not solve plot problems.

What’s your go-to procrastination method?

Twitter. Loud music. And biscuits.

What was the biggest tantrum you had while writing your book?

I don't really do tantrums. But I did cry when Rattle originally went on submission and was turned down by every publisher it was sent to.

I also discovered that starting each chapter with a time and date stamp was a major headache. Every plot change or reordering of chapters had a knock-on effect. I had to be meticulous about making sure that events and the descriptions of weather, sky and time of day still made chronological sense.

Best thing about writing your book?

Writing The End.

And the worst?

Writing The End.

Go-to writing snacks?

Biscuits, naturally.

Read more My First Times >>>

Who or what inspires you to write?

This is a harder question than it looks. I guess I'm inspired to write because I love telling stories and want to commit those stories to the page. Plus, it keeps me in high-heels-and-beer money

The book that changed you?

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. It opened me up to worlds and ideas that I never realised existed.

Your pump up song?

Too hard to choose. It differs for each book. I have to, you say? In which case, please may I have two? For Rattle, it was probably Web In Front (Archers of Loaf) and Titanium (David Guetta feat. Sia)

If you could share a bottle of wine with one writer dead or alive, who would it be?

Stephen King. And can we have Jack Daniels instead?

One piece of advice you’d give first time writers hoping to get a book published?

It's deeply unoriginal but true: don't give up. Keep writing. And believe you can do it. No-one is going to back you if you don't back yourself.

Fiona is reading from Rattle at The Riff Raff on November 9th - come join us for an evening of literary excellence.

Buy your tickets here>>>


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