Rachel Sargeant is the author of Kindle Top Ten bestseller The Perfect Neighbours. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children. It’s wonderful to have Rachel here on Last Word of the Week. Here she is!
Hello, everyone and a big thank you to Clare for hosting me here.
LWOTW: My pleasure! Lovely to meet you. Rachel, when did you write your first story?
I wrote my first short story about sixteen years ago and was overwhelmed when it won Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition. This story has now become the basis for my latest novel The Good Teacher.
That’s completely awesome, congratulations! What about your writing process – what do you think of dreams, imagination, and planning?
Ideas for scenes sometimes come to me when I’m swimming, but I don’t very often dream about my writing. I suppose planning is the most important to me. I’ll come up with an idea and need to plot it out to build it into something worthwhile. Sadly, I don’t have boundless imagination so I have to work at it.
When you’re swimming? Interesting! What’s the highlight of your writing career so far?
The success of The Perfect Neighbours has been very special. I got a real buzz out of seeing it at WHSmith in Waterloo Station next to the Booker Prize winner. And it was lovely to get a bouquet of flowers from HarperCollins when it reached 100,000 sales. They are great to work with.
That’s fabulous, congratulations Rachel. What a winner. What are you most busy with at the moment?
I’m working on the fourth draft of a serial killer thriller that features a new character, a forty-three year old detective inspector called Steph. I’m also gearing up for the promotional tour of The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university freshers’ week which comes out later this year.
If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Never give up. Despite beginner’s luck with my first story, it took me another fourteen years to improve my writing technique enough to attract an agent and a mainstream publisher. Just write, write and keep writing.
And the Last Word of The Week: What’s your favourite colour?
More about The Good Teacher by Rachel Sargeant
Even the good have to die.
A beloved teacher is murdered and left in a ditch beside a country lane. His wife is found beaten and gagged in their suburban home.
Even the best schools have secrets.
New detective Pippa Adams learns that the teacher ran a homework club for vulnerable pupils. But what did he really teach them?
Even the perfect family has something to hide.
When Pippa scratches the surface of the school community, she meets families who’ve learned a shattering lesson. And finally uncovers the good teacher’s darkest secrets…
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