The Thriller Zone

On today's 143rd episode of The Thriller Zone, we're delighted to welcome the talented and charming Lucy Clarke, author of The Hike.

Lucy has eight destination novels under her writing belt including: The Sea Sisters, A Single Breath, No Escape, Last Seen, You Let Me In, The Castaways, One Of The Girls, and now The Hike. Lucy's novels have sold over a million copies and are published in more than 25 territories worldwide.

The Castaways
is currently being filmed on location in Fiji and Greece, with BAFTA award-winner Sheridan Smith playing the lead role as Lori. The five-part series is due for release on Paramount+ in 2024. One of the Girls is also in development for screen. No Escape was a hit thriller  was optioned by Hollywood and now lives as a Limited Series airing on Paramount+

When Lucy isn't away on research trips, she can be found writing from a beach hut on the south coast of England, and lives with her husband and their two children. To learn more visit: Lucy-Clarke.com

As always, you can hear this podcast on all your favorite pod channels and on TheThrillerZone.com. We also have a VIDEO version of the show on our YouTube Channel at YouTube.com/thethrillerzone

The Thriller Zone is hosted by David Temple (https://linktr.ee/davidtemple).



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Podcast host and thriller author David Temple gives you a front-row seat to the best thriller writers in the world. If you like thriller fiction in Books, Movies, and TV Shows, you’ll love The Thriller Zone Podcast.

David:
Well, folks, look who is on the podcast Lucy Clark. Welcome.

Lucy Clarke:
Thank you, thanks so much for having me. It's wonderful to be here.

David:
Oh, it's so nice. You say the nicest things. The book

Lucy Clarke:
I'm sorry.

David:
is The Hike. And I have so many things to say about this book. And man, just so much. I've got notes everywhere. And as you'll

Lucy Clarke:
Thank you.

David:
anybody who watches the show knows that I, I love to mark things up. And I'm gonna I'm gonna kick off

Lucy Clarke:
Great,

David:
with party.

Lucy Clarke:
great.

David:
If hope you don't mind hearing my scratchy little voice do some reading in just a moment.

Lucy Clarke:
Okay, fantastic, I'll settle in.

David:
Well, first of all, it is the book, The Hike, it's more, as I learned, more than just a hike. So we're going to get to that, but I'd like to know how are things happening on your side of the world? I realize that you're ending the day as I'm beginning mine.

Lucy Clarke:
That's right, so I'm on the south coast of England, on a beach town called Wormuth, which is where I live. So actually, it's a little bit hard to explain this, but I spend my summer in a beach hut, which is where I write.

David:
Mm-hmm.

Lucy Clarke:
I'm not there now, I don't have Wi-Fi there, that's exactly why I go there to write. So I've just cycled from my beach hut back home to my office here, which is just a 10 minute cycle through a lovely nature reserve. to do this recording and then I'm whizzing back down to the beach after this. So that's hard to kind of put that in everyone's mind, but that's where I am and what I do.

David:
Well, I share one thing with you. I'm about one and a half miles from the beach, perhaps not quite your kind of beach, but it's San Diego, Del Mar area. And I'll tell you, I like you find so much inspiration and calm all at the same time near the water, right?

Lucy Clarke:
Absolutely, it's just headspace right there.

David:
Yeah, um I want to shoot out of the gate with this because one of our one of my favorite guests on the show And she was on I can't recall exactly when sarah pierce said some lovely things about you

Lucy Clarke:
Oh, that's very kind.

David:
And in the press she goes a taught compulsively readable and elegantly written thriller and I thought She nailed it

Lucy Clarke:
Hehehehe Mmmmm

David:
She was on talking about her book, The Sanatorium, and she's just so lovely and she was praising you. We were talking off mic afterwards talking about all our favorite writers and you're right there among the top and I find it so interesting. And we talk about this on the show all the time, the thriller community, how loving and supportive and lifting

Lucy Clarke:
Oh,

David:
the community

Lucy Clarke:
thank

David:
is, right?

Lucy Clarke:
you, Sarah. Yeah, it is, and I'm a huge fan of Sarah's work. And we've not met yet, but we're actually doing our first event together in the UK next month. So I'm really looking forward to meeting her, because you have these connections with people. And I think particularly when my strongest all the connections are with people whose work I really love and admire, because just immediately, I know there's a connectivity thing. So I'm really looking forward to doing an event together. It'll be wonderful.

David:
Yeah, well, please give her our best.

Lucy Clarke:
I will.

David:
I want to take her quote one step further because I said, I have this feeling of like if you're a fan of, how would you call it, buddy movies, whether it's men or women, then especially men and women who are caught in impossible situations, then this is the kind of story for you.

Lucy Clarke:
or yes.

David:
Because you think, oh, it's a nice little hiking story. It's a bunch of gals. Matter of fact, how about you give me the elevator pitch and then I'd love to expand on it because I don't want to give anything away.

Lucy Clarke:
Sure, it's four British women in their mid-30s, all at different points in their life where they are thirsting for change. And they normally take an annual holiday somewhere relaxing and poolside and easy. And they take it in turns each year to choose. And this year, it's Liz's turn to choose. And she just surprises them all by saying, I wanna go hiking, I need to go into the wilderness. I need you guys with me and they are all non-hikers and they're just like Can you just you know do something a little bit more easy? And so they set off and Things don't go to plan and that's where it takes us into deep Norwegian wilderness

David:
Things don't go as planned. Yeah,

Lucy Clarke:
I'm kidding.

David:
I would say that's a great summation of that. And, you know, I found your writing, because I'm brand new to your material, so I apologize for not having read all of your books, but I'll put them on my list.

Lucy Clarke:
That very, very long list, no doubt. But there's no, absolutely, I think when you've got a big old back list, it's so lovely when someone sort of discovers you later on, it's loveliness.

David:
Yeah, well. What I found, I was expecting, you know, I tend to go into books with very little expectation. I don't read, I often won't even read the blurb. I just want to go completely surprised. Of course, I have to know it's a thriller and your publicist and agents and so forth talk to me and make sure that, you know, this is a thriller and la-di-da. And then, so I have very few preconceived notions of what I'm going to expect. So part of my point is, is I was reading this and the prologue kicks off. and I wanted to say to you and it's a compliment trust me that you're as much a poet as you are a thriller writer

Lucy Clarke:
I take that as a huge compliment. Thank you.

David:
And here's why, listen to this is just the first paragraph, so bear with me a second. Her body lies broken on the mountainside. It rests on a bed of dark rock, a thin pillow of green lichen beneath her cracked skull. Her irises hold the reflection of the sky, clouds traveling across unseen pupils. Her face is undamaged, almost unnervingly so. Her skin pale and clear. The breeze carries the scent of earth, salt, blood. It toys with a wisp of hair at her temple, then worries the collar of her top. Other than that, she is still.

Lucy Clarke:
Thank you.

David:
BAM! And as they say, they're off to the races.

Lucy Clarke:
It's so lovely to hear my words read aloud actually, I'm not sure I've almost heard them read by someone else. And you know, you craft a lot and work and it's nice when you're, you know, I haven't read back over the book for several months and it's nice to hear, lovely to hear.

David:
Well, thank you. And you know, the descriptions are beautifully written. They're startling. Right about the time you think, oh, the girls are going through the woods and they're

Lucy Clarke:
I'm sorry.

David:
in the forest and the birds and all of a sudden it's the way you plant these little... And there's a guy standing across in the shadow.

Lucy Clarke:
I'm sorry.

David:
What? Where did that come from?

Lucy Clarke:
And that is the guy.

David:
Right.

Lucy Clarke:
Do you know I love when I read because I do, I think what you do when you read, I highlight all the time and I'm always looking for, I'm learning through, I'm self-taught and I've learned through brilliant writers, you know, how they craft books. One of the things that I've noticed in fantastic writers, and we were talking just briefly about Megan Abbott who was on the show recently, and she does this fantastically, and I call it just the shift of the lens. So you are focused on a scene and you've created it beautifully, but just that sort of camera angle just shifts enough to see, I don't know, just a, it might be a flicker of eye movement, or it might be the presence of someone. and it's a really tiny moment that can be so easily missed but it just holds such a lot of tension and for me, writing thrillers, tension comes from emotional tension and I'm not interested in those like, who's behind me running down the street, pacey pacey, I just want that moment where like, I'm in the character's world and there's just that shift of the lens and you get a chill, that's what I love.

David:
Yeah, the chill and shift of the lens. That's a great way to look at it, especially if you're a cinematographer or a photographer, as I know you are, even if it's in the selfie mode because I stalked, I mean, looked, browsed, researched, I did homework on your Instagram account. Homework.

Lucy Clarke:
I'm not sure what I'm saying.

David:
And... What I thought was interesting, I enjoyed seeing what I thought of snapshots of your life journey. And I was taken not only of the beauty of the surroundings and the beach and the, you know, friends and family, but there was almost a, and I actually wrote this down, it was an unspoken sense of feeling of adventure in nearly every photo.

Lucy Clarke:
That's so interesting. I

David:
Yeah,

Lucy Clarke:
love

David:
it wasn't

Lucy Clarke:
it.

David:
just a, oh snap, look, I'm here having some ice cream and a coffee. No, it's everything on your Instagram, it all feels like an adventure. And it made me think, I wonder if that's how Lucy sees her life, like snapshots of imagination as she crafts her stories.

Lucy Clarke:
That's a really interesting way to look at things. I think my husband and I, and our little family, we've got two young children. What I would describe as being very lifestyle driven. So we've always... that above anything else, above financial goals or career goals, it's what lifestyle can we create together. And we love to travel, he's a professional windsurfer, I, you know, surf and hike and paddle board and just, we love outdoors things. And so I think we're always looking for, yeah, just, you know, we're not big adventurers doing grand scale things but I love finding the adventure in the kind of day to day. Thanks

David:
Yeah,

Lucy Clarke:
for watching!

David:
well that's very obvious and evident. And I think it's interesting that all of your, I think nearly all of your books have to do with either a romantic getaway or an exotic island or these fjords, you know, the mountains and the, it's just fantastic. And so I thought, I wonder, is she, do you, Lucy, do you get a chance to go? to all these different locations to serve as your homework?

Lucy Clarke:
My homework is the very best part of this job and yes I make it an absolute you know requisite that I must go to any place I write about and my novels are all set in far-flung places the Philippines, Tasmania, Bali, Norway, Greece and yeah and I have been to all of the places and I've just I'm working on a novel set in Morocco so this year We went out to Morocco on the research trip and it's a really, you know, I joke because of course it's just a glorious part of the job but actually it does feel very fundamental to my process because place comes first for me in any story so that is the thing that I build the novel around is a sense of place. So you know, the hike Norway, I'd never been, I'd seen and read lots about Norway and that was it. We decided, you know, let's do this. Let's put on our backpacks, pack tents, hike a boat and just off we went into the wilderness. And it was, you know, brought the novel to life for me.

David:
Well, and it really did for all of us readers, because it's interesting, all these tiny little things you'll do, like there's this one scene where the girls are in a tent and a storm is blowing in. and someone made the bad call of not telling the other girls that the storm was coming. And it's the way you describe, and anyone who's ever been camping before and been inside a two-person tent and have the way that it kind of sucks in on you when the wind is beating against you and the way it hits your face. All those tiny little details without being laborious were so interesting because I, you know, I just instantly, it was like watching a movie. I was instantly there. I felt the rain. And there's one of your gifts for sure.

Lucy Clarke:
Good. I feel thank you David because I think those, I have a note on my manuscripts often at the top that's just like the five point star of the senses, you know, making those vivid details because sometimes in a thriller you're asking a reader to suspend their disbelief in, you know, in part when you have these kind of big plot points happening and I think the way to do that in my opinion well is when you're grounded in place. So to kind of, you have those kind of vivid central details about a setting you can then get away with maybe needing to stretch that suspension of disbelief a little further and I think that's, you know, that I always come back to like get the fundamentals, you know, drilled down and then you can have fun with going a bit wilder with the plot.

David:
And well, and that's the, this is the perfect place. Cause my next comment was about in the hike that the, the forest and the river and the entire ambiance and plays a serene characters, even amongst the impending danger. And each one of those elements seems to take on its own life. So that the, and I say this probably too often, but that the environment you're setting becomes its character itself. And all of a sudden that character of place, feels as important as the character speaking the words to.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah, I think that for me, I just, I love writing setting and I think when it becomes such an integral part of the plot that it is lovely when it feels like a character and I, you know, you play with in any thriller. different strands of tension and you've got the tension in the hike of the women themselves, you know, is this friendship group going to make it, are they going to implode,

David:
Right.

Lucy Clarke:
is the threat from when they set out, they have a night in the lodge at the beginning and they meet a host of other characters, you know, what kind of cat amongst the pigeon stuff has gone on there that's going to follow them on the trail. And then you've got, of course, the very natural tension that is there from nature itself and the landscape and I think there's so much to play with and it's kind of just pulling on those different threads threads and where do I want to leave the reader and which ultimately is going to be the thread that undoes them.

David:
Yeah. And undone they do.

Lucy Clarke:
Bye!

David:
There's something I want to be sure I don't forget to mention because going back to the Instagram, I saw this photo of the Paramount plus television series, no escape, which I instantly ran down the hall and said to my wife, I'm like, we got another series to watch. We got another binge here going.

Lucy Clarke:
I'm going

David:
So

Lucy Clarke:
to go to bed.

David:
I'd love to hear you give that a plug and tell me about that show. I mean, the trailer, which I'm going to sneak in here somehow is brilliant. unnerving.

Lucy Clarke:
Well, so No Escape is my third novel. It's a thriller set on a yacht sailing through the Philippines. And it was produced by Paramount Plus as a seven-part series, which launched in the UK this spring. And I think it's just about to land in the US. It is absolutely fantastic. The

David:
Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
production values, I mean, it's incredible. And I was very lucky to be part of that process to go out onto set and seeing being filmed. And it has just been, you know, it's been my first taste of the TV world. And since then I'm fortunate enough to have something else. It's just wrapped and two things in development. But as the first TV experience, it couldn't have been any more joyful because the yacht is the setting. And so we had this wonderful seven month shoot, you know, in Thailand, which actually doubles as the film. in the show and just the reaction and response it was you know the top show on Paramount Plus for the summer it's been phenomenal so yeah I've been blown away by it and loved every moment of it.

David:
Well, I will feel like a geek if I gush too much because you're living my ultimate dream to write a book and have it seen on the screen, so you're just like blowing my mind.

Lucy Clarke:
It's blowing my mind. This was never, this dream, this was like not even the dream, it was too big and it's just I've stumbled, stumbled casually into it and I'm very grateful for each moment of it.

David:
stumbled? I don't know. You don't have your kind of talent and track record and just stumble.

Lucy Clarke:
I did a good stumble. Ha ha ha.

David:
Okay, all right. Well, in your other books, let's mention those real quick because I want to flash them up on the screen. We've got, oh, before that, wait a minute, let me do this. Let's play the trailer of No Escape so my viewers who watch on YouTube can see it. Insert here. It won't actually and then I'm going to come back and say something like, wow, and then we'll move on to the next thing. Because

Lucy Clarke:
And

David:
I

Lucy Clarke:
I

David:
just

Lucy Clarke:
should

David:
lost

Lucy Clarke:
say

David:
that trod.

Lucy Clarke:
that the book in the US, No Escape, is actually called The Blue.

David:
The blue.

Lucy Clarke:
So, The Blue, yeah.

David:
Got it, okay. So that was fantastic. And as Lucy just said, how about the production value? It's just, it makes your palms sweat, doesn't it?

Lucy Clarke:
Thank you, yeah. It's been so joyful. Seeing the, going to the premiere of it was just, oh my God, just, you know, I'd seen it throughout the editing process and being on set and everything, but just seeing it on a big screen with everyone for the first time properly was just, you know, I was just sat there like, I still can't believe this.

David:
Yeah, and the book was called The Blue in the in the US, correct? Okay.

Lucy Clarke:
That's right, and in the UK it's no escape, and so they've gone with the UK title for the show, but that's right, it's out as the blue.

David:
I like No Escape. It's infinitely more thriller-esque, don't you think?

Lucy Clarke:
Well, exactly that,

David:
Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
but the Blue is the name of the yacht that it's set on, and it has quite a soulful feeling. And so I think that readers typically prefer the name the Blue once they've read the book, but

David:
Hmm.

Lucy Clarke:
for Paramount and the TV world, you're absolutely right. The Blue doesn't tell you anything, and you need it to be identified clearly as, this is a dark thriller, and No Escape does that.

David:
Yeah, yeah, the blue, the, might as well be saying the boat.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah, exactly, exactly.

David:
Yeah, anyway. All right, so your other books include One of the Girls, The Castaways, You Let Me In, Last Scene, No Escape, A Single Breath, and The Sea Sisters. And what I sense from that doing research and reading blurbs is I got this resounding theme and tell me if I'm on point

Lucy Clarke:
Sure.

David:
or I'm off base kind of a vulnerability, quiet danger, and all these places of epic beauty. First of all, am I on point? Second of all, where do you suppose all that comes from?

Lucy Clarke:
I think you are on point and I think the thing that perhaps also connects them is I love exploring female relationships and dynamics whether that's sisters or friendships and I think for me I have a note on my pin board which says and I've had it up there since I was an unpublished author and it took me you know a couple of books before I got published read and that's exactly what I have done and I'll continue to do and I think as I've journeyed through eight novels now, what I'm writing it's the similar, you know, it's all about place and relationships but the things that I'm kind of experiencing in my life like becoming a mother and just different as I'm growing, you know my first book was about backpacking in your early twenties and now I'm kind of writing more to do with my own stage in life. I think I love that sort of journey because it keeps it fresh for me. Like I'm experiencing new things and then I love exploring on the page.

David:
Well, there's that it kind of begs a question, a gal, a writer, talented writer, Aaron Flanagan was on the show recently, and we joked about how she and I during the conversation felt as though we were on one another's therapy couch.

Lucy Clarke:
Ha ha!

David:
And how it appears that us writers, we tend to try to work out our internal demons on the page. And so I wondered as I was reading this book and I thought about you and I'm looking at the family and it's so idyllic and so beautiful as often social media does. And yet this torment of story is going on. So I thought, do you feel like you're working out issues, perhaps in your subconscious throughout these books?

Lucy Clarke:
Oh, 100%. Yeah, I think it's just such a great space to do it. And I think, like, in the hike it's four women in their 30s, all very different and, you know, we've got a mother and a... someone who's basically a rock star, very famous, someone who's a kind of more steady, controlled existence, who's a GP with two children, a step-home father and different dynamics and I feel like... that there are shades of myself in each of the characters despite the fact that their personalities are so different. And I suppose you can sort of take a small train of thought that you have or a small part of yourself and you can magnify it and blow it up and have fun with it and see who you might have been if you had kind of pushed one aspect of your personality more. So I feel, and I've noticed that in really most of my books, that are all a slight reflection of myself which you know if you read some of characters you might think oh right

David:
Hahaha!

Lucy Clarke:
but I just think it's a really fun way to explore the self.

David:
Well, I mean, think about it. If you, you know, we're all, we all show different facets, different faces. Isn't it interesting that face and facet are the same? To our friends and family, you know, whether we're on social media or in personal conversation with loved ones or with new strangers that we've met, we're always showing a particular face. And I often find it curious. as to the subconscious struggle that happens. Like when you meet someone new, do you, you know, you want, and I'm doing a little therapy here, you show them this side because this side

Lucy Clarke:
Thank

David:
feels

Lucy Clarke:
you.

David:
the most positive and upbeat and so forth when maybe you're having a real shitty day and you're thinking, you know, this is what I really want to say to you right now, but I'm not. No.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah. I had a really interesting conversation with a friend earlier this week and she's going traveling. for a month in Costa Rica and she's chosen to go solo and I said, she had friends who wanted to go with her and she said you know actually I want to do this on my own and I said I'm so interested like why do you why did you want to choose this trip on your own and she said which I thought was fascinating and I no doubt will explore this in a novel in the future that she wanted to be on her own because she wanted to be who she was and how she was So when someone comes into a hostel, if she's feeling a certain way, she wanted that freedom to be, whatever emotion she was feeling then. And she said, you know, if I went with this friend, they know me as this person, or they know this about me, that actually I'm really quite tidy, or whatever it is. And she just said, you know, it's that sort of chance to just be who I wanna be in that moment. And I thought, that's really interesting. And I think there's a, you know, I remember that in a sense and no one knew me and I was thinking I could be who I want like I can recreate myself and actually I didn't I just ended up being the same me because that was

David:
That was

Lucy Clarke:
the

David:
you.

Lucy Clarke:
real me yeah and um but I like that and I think I know exactly what she means how you can be limited by the sort of perception of who you are in different people's eyes and we all know that from the way we might be one thing with a another group.

David:
You just triggered something I have not thought about and I bet over a decade. And my first career was radio. So I would move from city to city, always trying to climb the ladder to get to a bigger market. And with each city I traveled, when I got ready to leave that city to go to the next one to take on the new challenge, I always had this thought, hey, I can shift my who I am. not change, but shift. The things that I don't really like about myself, I can just sign, carve them away or soften their edges. And the things that I really like about myself, I can rise to the forefront

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah.

David:
and show them. So each, and these were many markets in a row. So I thought that was always interesting. And since

Lucy Clarke:
now.

David:
I'm kind of inbred or kind of bred as a, I mean, I see myself as a bit of a chameleon anyway, because of being the way I was brought up.

Lucy Clarke:
Right.

David:
So when you get to shift the facets and i'm going to go back to something you said with a camera lens

Lucy Clarke:
Yes.

David:
So you just shimp you simply shift what you don't really like which I think is really kind of healthy because you think You know, I was a real a hole over here

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah.

David:
or as you guys say arsehole. I love that

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah, you do.

David:
But I can get rid of that and I can just or maybe you're on a negative vibe and you say I think i'm going to get rid of that and be a better person here. It's does that make sense to you?

Lucy Clarke:
Absolutely, yeah, and I think it's really interesting to explore that in fiction because that's where we explore who we are in reality, right, it's our playground for exploration. So yeah.

David:
And thank you for not saying, David, it looks like our time is up and we're going to have to schedule your next meeting. Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
She's checking the watch.

David:
You know, one thing I really loved about this book is the multiple viewpoints. Again, I'm back to your lens thing and maybe better yet, call it alternating perspectives between your four main characters. And I know it's a popular tool these days so that you get multiple insights in the same similar story. What drew you to this storytelling technique? And because I'm not super familiar with the other work, do you engage that technique in your other book? So what drew you to that technique and why do you suppose it works so well?

Lucy Clarke:
I think in my previous books, I've done lots of different things but in the book before this One of the Girls, I also used the technique of multiple POV and I really enjoyed it. I love being able to step into each character's shoes and I think it helps for me get in my character's headspace much more quickly. So I think earlier on in my career, character draft or I'd finally feel like okay I actually know my character now. Whereas writing from each protagonist's point of view really is a fantastic way to get in their voice and in

David:
Mm-hmm.

Lucy Clarke:
their head because you get access to their internal thoughts and that's really what helps me get to know my characters. So that's why I've done it and I think in terms of tension perspective and then you're pushed straight into someone else's the event, you know halfway through and it switches to someone else and it just lends a very natural tension to a story because there are things that characters are holding back which may be revealed in the next person's voice. So I've really enjoyed the multiple viewpoints and the novel I'm working on now I've gone for single viewpoint as a contrast and I'm actually I'm about halfway through and I'm starting to think do you know what I think I'm going to go back add in other characters' point of view because it's just so fun to write in different people's voices.

David:
Now, if you're halfway through that book, do you see do you think it's going to take you a long time to go back and restructure that to add multiple

Lucy Clarke:
Bye.

David:
viewpoints?

Lucy Clarke:
I work in such a way that I sort of layer draft after draft after draft. So I would do like ten drafts before it even goes to my editor. So no, I write a lot in what I call free flow. So it's just like bad writing, bash it out to get a story down, and then sort of go back and layer and layer and layer and layer. So yeah, my really early drafts, you know, I wouldn't show them to anyone. I call them the dog draft because I wouldn't even show them to like my dog.

David:
Right.

Lucy Clarke:
So yeah, they go nowhere. So no, it won't take me long. I write really, at the beginning, a novel takes me a long time. I'm not particularly fast writing overall, but my free flow drafts are really fast. I would do like three to five thousand words in a morning and then the same again the next day, the next day. But the quality shows.

David:
Well, don't jump the shark here on me because I'm going to at the end of the show, which we're closing in on, I want to know your best piece of writing advice, but don't spill that yet because I have another technique. And I think you just answered it. You answered it in part and we're so funny. I meet so many different writers and some people love this phrase. Some people hate the phrase one friend of mine, Chris Hottie says, Dave, don't use that phrase around anymore, but it has to do with pancer or plotter. Which one do you find yourself to be?

Lucy Clarke:
I am the sort of annoying author that sits in between. So for different books, I do different things. And my process... is not a set thing. So for example in one of the girls, my previous novel, I spent two days planning the real basics you know, it's six women, it's Greece, it's a hen weekend that goes wrong. And then I started writing and I just didn't know who was going to die or who was going to be the murderer, but just wrote it. And so that was a wonderful for me experience because it happened very quickly and fast and I just felt really like impassioned. I can sit down and plan and then go off course and then have to come back and replan. I just, yeah, every book is different and I would love to have a process absolutely nailed. Like I'm writing book nine, I should have, right? I should know how to do it. And every book just is a surprise and you know, you start one and you think, oh my god, this novel's going to be insane. And then you get a third of the way through and you go, it just doesn't work at all. What on earth am I going to do? And you can never really foresee the hurdles at the beginning and I think that's a wonderful thing because it gives you the and enthusiasm at the start when everything's open and possible.

David:
Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
But inevitably with every book there are always the big moments where you just go, I don't know what I'm going to do with it. There

David:
Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
we go. And that's where experience is really helpful and I recognise those moments. And that's when I wish I was a plotter because I wish I had it all dialled down and I could look at a nice spreadsheet and go, oh yeah. But... you know, it doesn't work out that way for me.

David:
Yeah, and you know what? I've gone back and forth with this, Lucy. Over the years, I've like, oh, I'm gonna build a systematic schematic. Like my wife is a huge, she loves spreadsheets and Word documents. And oh, I mean, spreadsheets breaks me out in hives,

Lucy Clarke:
Hahaha

David:
but. And I hate that but when it comes to structuring a story, I'm like, oh well, I've got a you know If I don't know the roadmap if I don't know how I'm gonna get to where I'm going then I'm then other times I'm going you know what? I just want to run willy-nilly and see what happens and damned if it doesn't end up being equally successful

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah.

David:
in either one. So to your point, I don't know that it really matters if you have one

Lucy Clarke:
Bye.

David:
specific, whatever. Hey, listen, you got eight under your belt. You're getting ready to bang out nine. So you're doing something right, girlfriend.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah, something's working. Let's take that.

David:
Yeah, so let's maybe don't mess with the secret sauce.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah, let's keep that pure.

David:
So the interspersed incident, I'm gonna, don't ask me where I come up with these ideas, but I went, oh, that interspersed incident, oh, you mean the inciting incident? You mean the thing that we can't talk about? Yeah,

Lucy Clarke:
Love

David:
that

Lucy Clarke:
you.

David:
one. It's so perfectly played, and it was giving us little snippets of what had happened recently or in the past, but not sharing exactly what it is. Can you share, and again, one more of your inspiration things. of how you craft that without giving it away too soon

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah.

David:
and without giving it away to our readers, because people are going to want to pick up this book and read it, I'm telling you that right now.

Lucy Clarke:
So I have interludes throughout the novel from the perspective of a mountain rescue worker called Leif and I did a lot of playing around with these interludes throughout the drafting process and I've done something with them that there's a reveal which I can't say that sort of shifts what we think has happened in quite a dramatic way and it was really fun to play. with really difficult, incredibly difficult to get right. I wanted his voice in it from the beginning and this was a very much conscious decision because if you take four women and put them on a hike and sure things go wrong, but in the beginning, you're doing your character work, you're getting to know them in their home lives, you're bringing them out to Norway. It's all jolly and lovely and they're all excited and there's a few dark things happening but actually in the beginning, there's the tension ramps up. they get further and further on the hike. So I needed to, from a technical point of view, embed the novel with this thread of tension that we know something's going to go wrong and I do

David:
Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
that through this mountain rescuer's voice and I can't really say too much other than

David:
Right.

Lucy Clarke:
that but that was my intention.

David:
Uh, fair, fair enough. And I'll tell you something. It's the, uh, what ended up being my favorite thing about this book. Quick thought. It made me go, why aren't there more? stories about guys, gaggle of guys going out on adventures, right? Because it's, there's a lot of books with gaggles of gals going out on an adventure. And I'm like, it made me go, huh, buddy movies. I mean, buddy movies are basically that. But my favorite thing about this book was that way that you had that slow simmer until it reaches that rolling boil. I mean, it's hard to get that slow simmer. You're like, and you're like, oh, here, no, it's not here. Oh, here, oh, it's right, no, not yet. And you're turning that page, oh, it's good, no,

Lucy Clarke:
I'm

David:
not

Lucy Clarke:
sorry.

David:
yet. So well done.

Lucy Clarke:
I love that, thank you, because I think it's a hard thing. Pacing in a novel is really hard and I do a lot of work structurally, stripping back, you know, looking, you know, I do a whole draft where I'm just looking at the pace and checking, sense checking, and you need, you know, for me, for a book that I love to read, I have to love the characters and be on board and therefore a lot of character work needs to happen, particularly when you're we've got to know them, we've got to care about them but also we need to know that threat is coming and it's just that you know shift of the lens that we talked about early on it's those moments where before anything big and dramatic and pace is actually happening I'm just switching that camera angle from like a happy moment to oh but who was watching them when they had that photo taken those tiny things that just put us on high alert as a reader and go well do I need to be paying

David:
Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
that's happening over there like oh there's stuff there's stuff you know that's what I want people to feel at the beginning

David:
There's this one moment that I just absolutely loved. One of the gals has gotten lost, misplaced. She's trying to find her friends. She can't. All of a sudden this guy appears out of nowhere. You're like, where'd he come from? And then all of a sudden she gets an idea. Well, what if he's dangerous? She picks up a rock and he goes, what are you doing with that rock? Oh, nothing. Just, you know, just I collect rocks. He looks down.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah!

David:
You're a liar. The scene breaks. You go somewhere else. You come back. He's got the rock in his hand and he's beaten something with blood everywhere. And I'm like, oh my God. But it's

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah.

David:
those moments where you go, oh, you tricked me.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah,

David:
A little

Lucy Clarke:
and

David:
eviction.

Lucy Clarke:
I think that, you know, I find as a, I love hiking and I think one of the things is that if I go for a solo run on my own on the beach or if I'm hiking on my own. Most of the tension is going on in my own head. You know, it's that feeling that you're in a beautiful place and suddenly, with the flip of a thought, that place can turn from beauty to darkness. And that's what I'm always interested in, is just those tiny moments, you know, we've got someone lost in the woods and there's someone there. Is that person gonna help her and lead her to safety or is he a threat? And all of that stuff in her head, like that's where the tension is.

David:
Yeah. Okay, we have done enough teasing to get my listeners and my viewers to go, okay, thanks Dave. I get this a lot. Lucy, I get this a lot. Oh, so you're adding to my TBR list again. Okay, great. Just what I need. I already have one this

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah,

David:
big and

Lucy Clarke:
it's

David:
you've

Lucy Clarke:
that,

David:
just added...

Lucy Clarke:
yeah.

David:
But listen, as we get ready to close, because I realize I've gone over time just a little bit, I want to know that best piece of writing advice. Now you've laid some things out there for me that I think, oh, I got a pretty good idea. I think I could stitch them together, but I'd love to hear because I ask all my guests on the show and my listeners love that closing question. What's your big secret?

Lucy Clarke:
I always read with pen in my hand and that is my secret. I will underline... when I'm reading a novel whether it's a novel that I love or they don't love, I am reading analytically to think why did I feel that emotion then? What have they done? Is it how they structured it? Is it the way they've created the character? Was it just a snippet of dialogue? What is it? And I think if to be a good writer you need to be a good reader and for me to be a good reader that means just making sure I'm sort of logging mentally why that book worked. So that would be my... my main piece of advice. Read with a pen in your hand.

David:
I love that. Now, I'm in a very unique position. By the way, I love that. And thank you for that advice. That's perfect. I'm in a unique position in that I will often get an arc. That is paper. So I feel perfectly comfortable. Y'all highlighting. I mean, like, for instance, no help, no salt coverage, no one here to hear them scream. Okay, that right there. I'm like, you got to remember that. But I'm making notes just like you do. But

Lucy Clarke:
Thank

David:
here's,

Lucy Clarke:
you.

David:
here's the advantage. Watch this. I had to reach off camera because this came just a few days ago, which is the grand and glorious beautiful hardcover.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah.

David:
Because this I hold in my little sacred special place so that one day later, when I've gotten away from this show, this episode, I can look down and go, oh, there's a nice clean, fresh copy for me to enjoy. It's unmarked. It's pristine.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah.

David:
Maybe one day when I meet Lucy, she'll come and she'll autograph the front.

Lucy Clarke:
I love that. Do you know I've got no boundaries. My most precious hardbacks have got my writing all over them. And the only difficulty is I've just lent a book to a friend down at the beach huts and I've scribbled all over it and I'm like, oh. what's she gonna know about me from like things I've written in the margins and yeah and I just handed it to her like could I have it back please when you're finished

David:
Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
because I treasure them because I've got thoughts in them as I'm reading so yeah all the pages scribbled on, dogged, I fold the corners, there's sand in the spine, my books aren't pristine but they are well loved.

David:
You know, and this is a perfect place to add a little lesson that I have learned recently. And it's going to, it might sound a little simplistic, but I'm going to share it with you, because it's really interesting to me. We just moved from one little town down the road to another little town. And I don't know where I got this habit. Maybe it's because my parents grew up in the depression. They didn't want to, you know, they hoarded everything and they didn't want to lose anything. And they have since passed. But so I have this thing about, I've got to hang. on to that because I could use that someday. Lucy, I mean, I know this bottle cap or something silly, I could use that again someday. I could read that cord that cord might come back. So recently, I came to this thing and I hope this isn't boring. So I went, wait a minute, I'm not looking at this the right way. I need to look at this. This has served me. I have enjoyed it. I got the use out of it. And you know what? I'm just going to give it to someone and let them enjoy it, especially if it's something beautiful.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah, that's a lovely way just to let it go

David:
Let

Lucy Clarke:
and

David:
it go.

Lucy Clarke:
to thank the object and just be like, we've had a good time,

David:
Yeah.

Lucy Clarke:
free.

David:
You don't owe me anything. I've gotten all my pleasure out of it. And now someone else can. And one of these was my, my Weber grill, cause I'm a big grill fan. Well, in this new place, I couldn't have a grill on the balcony. So I had gave it away. And I was like, bye.

Lucy Clarke:
I know.

David:
My

Lucy Clarke:
But think

David:
favorite.

Lucy Clarke:
of how many amazing meals someone else is gonna joyfully produce.

David:
Yeah, side note, the guy shows up and he goes, Oh my goodness. And he goes, this thing is pristine. I'm like, yeah, it's seven years old. He goes, it looks brand new. And I'm like, you better treat it good.

Lucy Clarke:
Yeah!

David:
Anyway, enough about me. Sorry about that little tangent.

Lucy Clarke:
Good.

David:
This has been absolutely delightful. Folks, once again, the book is the hike. You're going to want to read this. It's, you know, it does make me want to go back and like, for instance, I'm going to see one of the girls and then, of course, now Tammy and I are going to be watching No Escape on Paramount. But rock solid book, Lucy, rock solid.

Lucy Clarke:
Thank you. So pleased you enjoyed it and thank you for having me David, it's been lovely to chat.

David:
Absolutely my pleasure. And folks, if you want to learn more, go to Lucy hyphen Clark with an E dot com, follow her on Instagram and Twitter, now called X just like I do. And again, just you're as delightful and charming as I had anticipated and this book is stunning. So thank you again for your time.

Lucy Clarke:
Thank you so much, David.