Today I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for In Too Deep with a Guest Post entitled All in the Mind by Samantha Hayes. This is a book that I am currently reading, I’m right in the middle and I’m not sure where this is going to go. But no spoilers, so far it is pretty amazing! Below All in the Mind by Samantha Hayes where Samantha shares some of the things that led her down the path to become an author.
Read below – All in the Mind by Samantha Hayes:
You’ve done a number of different jobs in the past. Did any of these lead to your decision to become a writer?
When I was younger, I kind of drifted around not having a clue what I was going to do with my life. I left school aged 16, which until recently I’ve always regretted. I went through a relationship breakup (which looking back now seems silly, but felt immense then) but I also suffered another very traumatic event around that time. It’s no wonder that studying dropped off my radar. However, on reflection I can see that this lack of direction actually opened up many more doors and possibilities, allowing me to try out things I’d perhaps never had a taste of if I’d carried on with formal study.
In my late teens/early twenties (oh how grown up I felt!) I did everything from cleaning cars and picking fruit in Australia, working the night shift in a plastics factory in Israel, working as a trainee accountant in the Isle of Man, and waiting tables in a bar in Mayfair. I also did a stint as a private detective, which was eye-opening to say the least! So yes, I’d say that all these jobs and experiences enriched and led to me becoming an author, especially as that’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was eight years old.
What job in particular had the most impact on your writing?
All of them really (the list above isn’t exhaustive), but working as a PI certainly gave me an insight into other people’s lives. When you’re growing up, it’s natural to focus inwards, to figure out who you are and where you fit in, so to suddenly be ‘tinkering’ in others’ lives in such an emotive way certainly opened my eyes.
I don’t think I was prepared for the work I was given. I worked freelance for a London detective agency, taking (very often mundane) cases in the Midlands and surrounding areas. Much of the work was serving court papers or simple fact-finding missions to get basic evidence.
But then there were the cases that got to me, the ones I felt almost guilty for taking on – or at the very least, completely out of my depth tackling. There were no qualifications to do what I did – it was just me, my car, a camera, a notepad and a lot of front. One of the more harrowing cases was to provide information surrounding the disappearance of an entire family from their home in Oxfordshire. It was a very strange situation and I wasn’t told the entire story. I didn’t ask questions either, rather just got on with my instructions – to find out what I could.
I began by going to the house, having a look around. This told a story in itself. The people who lived there had left in a hurry… the place was in a state. Through the windows I could see that things had been thrown about, rummaged through, though it wasn’t clear if they’d left of their own free will or if there’d been a scuffle. Speaking to the neighbours (it’s amazing how people will open up, even to a stranger!), I began to build up a picture – a picture of debt, fear and no choice. I eventually filed my report, but I’ll never forget the little girl’s bike lying forgotten in the front garden. Symbolic of a life abandoned.
I remember one time getting into a scrape with a very angry man and his rather large German Shepherd. It was a case was for a financial institution but this time the man was very much standing his ground. Stupidly, I’d gone inside his house and immediately felt physically threatened. With his dog straining at the leash and snarling, the man’s anger grew when he accused me of ‘being a cop’. I can see now he was fearful of what I represented – his bleak situation. Eventually I talked my way out of his kitchen, but looking back I can see that all these experiences gave me an insight into how people are in the worst of circumstances, what their fears drove them to do.
So it’s the psychological aspect that fascinates you the most?
Absolutely. I don’t think it’s any surprise that I write psychological thrillers. In my new book, In Too Deep, one of the main characters, Gina, is backed into a corner of fear and worry when the story begins. With alcohol fast becoming her go-to fix, we follow her story as she sinks deeper and deeper into the mystery of her missing husband. She’s still reeling from the loss of her son several years ago, so coping with such a life-changing event all over again is taking its toll in all areas of her life.
The relationships in this book are important – between mother and daughter, as well as examining the relationship Gina had with her missing husband. Was she to blame for his disappearance? It’s the not knowing that’s killing her. And also the new relationship between Gina and Susan, the owner of a beautiful Cotswold hotel, is key. It’s a wary dance the two women weave when Gina and her daughter Hannah take a trip to the hotel. As you can imagine, things get increasingly worse for Gina!
I love nothing more than watching the relationships between my characters grow, especially when people are fired up to extremes of emotion. I’m sure that all the slightly ‘odd’ jobs I’ve had in the past have contributed to this fascination. I think in some bizarre way, writing thrillers is how I process stuff, making sense of things through my characters.
In fact, I’ve become so interested in the workings of the mind and what makes people tick (or not) that this autumn I’m beginning a part-time degree in psychotherapy. As well as allowing me to help people in the future, the subject is very symbiotic with my writing. I’ll still keep writing books, of course, but now at least I finally get to go to university!
What do you think of All in the Mind by Samantha Hayes?