Interview with Sarah Pearse - THE RETREAT

Interview with Sarah Pearse - THE RETREAT

In this interview, Sarah and I discuss The Retreat, her fascination with local history and time's relentless march forward, making the island a central character of this novel, using a consultant to make sure the police procedural aspects of the story ring true, how sibling dynamics are set early and rarely change, and much more.

In this interview, Sarah and I discuss The Retreat, her fascination with local history and time's relentless march forward, making the island a central character of this novel, using a consultant to make sure the police procedural aspects of the story ring true, how sibling dynamics are set early and rarely change, and much more.

Sarah’s recommended reads are:

  1. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham
  2. All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham

Check out my Summer 2022 Reading List.

Bookclubs is the premier organizational tool for new and existing book clubs and also provides great resources for individual readers to discover new reads or find a book club to join. Check them out!

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If you enjoyed this episode and want to listen to more episodes, try Peng Shepherd, Lucy Clarke, Katherine St. John, Joey Hartstone, and Julie Clark.

The Retreat can be purchased at my Bookshop storefront.       

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[00:10] Cindy : You are listening to the Thoughts From a Page podcast, which is a member of the Evergreen Podcast Network. My name is Cindy Burnett and I love to talk about books with anyone and everyone. While listening to my podcast, you will hear author interviews, behind the scenes conversations about various aspects of the publishing world, theme discussions with other book lovers and more. For more book recommendations and a complete list of all of my interviews, check out my website, Thoughts from and follow me on Facebook and Instagram at Thoughts from a Page in 2022. I would love for you to join my Patreon group. I offer at least two bonus episodes a month and a monthly advanced read and pre-publication author chat. For those on Facebook, I host a special Patreon Facebook group where we all chat books. Thanks so much to those who already participate and I hope you will consider joining us. Today I am chatting with Sarah Pearse about the retreat. Sarah grew up in Devon, England and studied English literature and creative writing at the University of Warwick before completing a postgraduate diploma in Broadcast journalism. The Sanatorium, her debut was an instant New York Times bestseller and the number one Sunday Times bestseller and was selected as a Reese's Book Club pick. The Retreat is her second novel. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

[02:33] Cindy : Welcome, Sarah. How are you today?

[02:36] Sarah: Yeah, very well, thank you. Here in the UK, we've got very sort of hot, sunny weather, so, yeah, it's a very good day.

[02:41] Cindy : I'm so glad and I'm thrilled to pieces that you're back on my show. We had so much fun chatting last time and I'm really looking forward to talking about The Retreat.

[02:49] Sarah: Thank you. And just thanks for having me back on. I really enjoyed our chat. So exciting to be talking about the new one.

[02:55] Cindy : I agree completely. As we get started, why don't you give me a quick synopsis of The Retreat for those that won't have read it yet?

[03:01] Sarah: Yeah, so The Retreat is my new thriller and it's part of the Alan Warner series. But it can be read as a standalone. So if you've read the Sanatorium, great. If not, it can just be read on its own. And we follow Elin, a British detective. It's slightly different this time. So Elin, in the previous book was kind of on a career break. Elin this time is sort of back in Roll here in the UK. And it's a case on an island, a remote island off the British coastline here down in Devon, close to where I live. Fictionalized version. And it's a luxury retreat has been built on the island, I think kind of paddleboarding, yoga, wellness activities. But the island has a bit of a creepy and dark past. It was once home to a serial killer. And another sort of element of its past was it was home to a boarding school for boys with a bit of a dark history. So that's sort of the backdrop. And Elin's call to the island when a body of a woman is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a fall. But all is not quite what it seems.

[03:57] Cindy : So as I was reading, I was so curious about the setting and the retreat and all of it. How did you come up with this story? And was it so much fun to set something near where you live?

[04:07] Sarah: Yeah, it really was this island, actually, I've played a little bit around with its location. So here in Devon, it's kind of not so far off the coast. In the book, I've obviously said it a little bit further out, so it kind of is quite hard to reach, which was fun to write. But, yeah, this islands always captured my imagination ever since I was a child, really. And now my daughter's imagination, it's kind of covered in sort of greenery and foliage. It's not somewhere that's actually inhabited. So, again, I've sort of played with that in the book. But I just love the idea of islands themselves. And there's a rocky outcrop on this island which is meant to look like a man bending over. Thatching a roof, and it's actually called Thatcher Rock. And it kind of really got my mind sort of worrying. And I began thinking, how could I play with that sort of idea of the very sort of topography of the island and weave that into the book? And the idea of the sort of boys boarding school with the dark past. Again, that's based on sort of local history. Boys school, which was very close to our house, which has now been sort of torn down and replaced with housing. But again, that's got a very dark past. I personally sort of love books that are set in sort of settings that have that sort of rich background, see how it's really fun to write.

[05:12] Cindy : Well, that was going to be one of my questions for you because both The Sanatorium and The Retreat are set in isolated places with unsettling past. That must be something that really appeals to you.

[05:22] Sarah: Yeah, it really does. I'm really fascinated by the idea as well, of places that are very beautiful and dramatic, but that kind of have that sort of dark side of the past kind of ticking underneath. And I love the idea in this book something that captured me. Elin's boyfriend Will, is an architect and he's designed this new retreat, and we kind of see the sort of play with him in the book as we did in The Sanatorium a little, where he's kind of very much focusing on the new. But the past has that kind of uncomfortable way of bubbling its way to the surface. So, yeah, I'm fascinated by local history and the idea of sort of things there that we might quite not know about, which is always thrilling and sort.

[05:59] Cindy : Of the ghost of the past still being there.

[06:01] Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. I think particularly I don't know, maybe it's our culture now, but we are kind of as people. There's a relentless march forward, isn't there? And I think the idea often we think we're the only ones to have thought of something or the only ones to have done something. But I just love the idea that the past, no matter how much you kind of run from it or try and ignore it, it's just there below the surface. And I think as you get older, you notice that definitely a lot more as well.

[06:25] Cindy : I think that's exactly right and understand the importance of history a little more and maybe not getting rid of some of these older buildings and holding on to them kind of like they did in the Sanatorium, where they took an older building and tried to repurpose it.

[06:38] Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And I just think the idea as well, that kind of now, often, particularly with history, one of the things I explored in The Sanatorium is the idea that people can kind of package up the past and always kind of like market it in a way. And I think there's sort of wills naivety in that, in thinking it might have the dark past, but kind of people will sort of forget it, as you see in the book, that very much doesn't happen. I think, particularly if it had a personal effect on people, it will always be there.

[07:03] Cindy : Absolutely. So getting rid of older buildings and putting something new and shiny in its place isn't going to take care of everything.

[07:10] Sarah: No, absolutely. I think, yeah, that kind of idea that we can package something up and kind of neatly put it to one side, I don't think that works all of the time.

[07:17] Cindy : I think that's right. The other thing I thought was really interesting in this one is that the island itself is a character in the novel. Did you set out to make it a character?

[07:26] Sarah: Yeah, it wasn't not necessarily kind of specifically setting out, but I think as I started writing the book, it was very visual to me. I could kind of walk around. I kind of actually sort of mapped and sketched out the island a little bit to sort of get the geography right. But it was someone that felt so real to me and really sort of atmospheric for me to write. So as the book kind of went along, it very much did feel like a character. But I don't know whether it's something necessarily I set out to write it in that way. I think I was more kind of exploring initially the idea of the building that wants to be there in this new building, but it actually became the island itself. And the kind of contrast you have a juxtaposition at the beginning of the novel where you have the new part of the island that will sort of populated with this new building and then you have this sort of wild, almost other half of the island that's still very much untamed. And yeah, it was actually the land itself this time, rather than the building that sort of became the focal point as a character.

[08:18] Cindy : I was thinking a lot about that as I read, because as you mentioned in your last book, really, the building itself was the character. But in this time I felt like it was really more the island and everything on the island.

[08:28] Sarah: Yeah, exactly. I think you have kind of the physical representation of the past. That kind of dark. Sort of tangled woodland which you sort of explore in the novel and then will's shiny sort of new thing. Which I think. Without giving too much away. There's sort of a storm towards the end of the novel and you kind of see how fragile sort of his new part of the island really is against what's happening and sort of nature and again. The sort of past bubbling up. So that was sort of really fun to explore.

[08:54] Cindy : And the idea that humans always feel like they contain nature, but that never really happens.

[08:59] Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And I think for me, like living by the sea, it's one of those things you're aware of all the time. You often have sort of tourist pats coming down and they'll take an inflatable paddleboard out and kind of there against the elements. And I think you can have this wonderfully calm day and it sort of turns against you. And I think when you're living somewhere very sort of close to nature, you're acutely aware that you are just sort of a very small thing. And against the power of nature, sometimes you might not come off the best, necessarily.

[09:25] Cindy : I think that's exactly right. Well, what kind of research did you do? You have a fair amount of police procedure in the book. How do you make sure you accurately depict those scenes?

[09:34] Sarah: Yeah, it's really interesting, actually, because I don't really know anyone. I know some authors, sort of perhaps have friends who are detectives and you can kind of ask pertinent questions, but I didn't really know anyone. So I have a man who's retired murder detective here in the UK, and he actually provides a great service for authors where he advises them on police procedure. So before I even sort of started writing the novel, I sort of ran the idea past him, the idea of this sort of remote island and would Elin really go out there and would she have someone with her, which in this case, she does. And he kind of very much recommended that and yet ran the initial idea past him. And then he's on hand, really, throughout the rest of the book when I'm sort of asking probably hundreds of questions. So I kind of email or we'll have a chat if it's something more complex to talk through, because, yes, you're right, there's a lot of police procedure. And while everything isn't 100% accurately depicted, as it would happen, because things take a little bit longer in real life, everything is sort of within the realms of plausibility, and that's very much thanks to him.

[10:31] Cindy : What a fascinating second career. First he's a murder detective and now he consults with authors.

[10:36] Sarah: Yeah, it's amazing. Honestly, it's so interesting. Not only does he have stories about, sort of the murders he sold, and I mean, I think he was in the force for like, 30 years or more, so he has a lot of stories. But yeah, he also then had stories around the authors he's spoken to and how his works sort of help their work. It's fascinating. And I think it's really nice for him as a wave. He kind of very much has to keep up with updates to police procedure because obviously things change all the time, as I'm sure they do in the US. So, yeah, it's kind of very much keeping him in the game, as it were, which I think must be great.

[11:08] Cindy : I just love that.

[11:09] Sarah: Yeah, it's a lovely thing.

[11:11] Cindy : It is. As a person with my own second career, finding something that I really enjoy, I just think it's wonderful when people are able to repurpose what they did before and go in a different direction.

[11:20] Sarah: Yeah, definitely. It's kind of like a second when you're sort of taking that knowledge, but kind of spreading your wings in a way, aren't you?

[11:27] Cindy : Exactly. Well, because you're writing a series, you develop Elin over time as well as in each book. How has she changed since the sanatorium?

[11:36] Sarah: Yeah, I think she's very much on a journey. I think, in the sanatorium. We started off in quite an unusual place, I think, for a detective where she was on a career break on vacation and very much sort of still struggling with her personal demons and professional demons. And she definitely there is an element of that in the retreat. But she is now sort of back at work. And this is kind of the first case that her boss almost gifts her in a way. She's working on kind of a series of burglaries robberies. And, yeah, she kind of is nervous, but I think there's sort of an inner strength after solving the case in the sanatorium. I think she sort of believes she can do this, and she goes into it with a slightly more sort of positive mindset. And I think also having a partner here, she has a partner, Steve, working alongside her gives her a little bit more confidence. And I think you see throughout the book that confidence developed. I think there was quite a lot of reliance on Will in the first book. And without giving too much away, I think Will as a character, most definitely evolves. And I think we see Elin starting to perhaps rely on herself a little bit more rather than looking to that.

[12:37] Cindy : From other people, as you said, without any spoilers, will does definitely evolve himself and that helps Elin rely more on herself.

[12:46] Sarah: Yeah, exactly. I think Elin has very much sort of seen Will before as a stabilizing force and someone she very much kind of leans on. But I think she learned, without giving too much away, that perhaps you can't always do that. You have to sort of seek that strength within yourself.

[13:01] Cindy : Do you have her character mapped out as you continue to write the series, or does she evolve as you write?

[13:07] Sarah: Oh, my gosh, no one's asking that. It's an amazing question. Actually, kind of a bit of both. I very much kind of there's a secondary story arc running alongside the main plot in both books, which will come to a resolution sort of, book three, which is really exciting, and a similar thing with Elin's character. But there's definitely an element as I write, she kind of interacts with characters in my new book. She's kind of a little bit further afield of meeting new people. I think she definitely evolves as the books go on. I don't think I could have every aspect of her mapped out because that's a little bit dependent on the sort of plot and how you write.

[13:39] Cindy : I was just so curious because as I saw her change in this one and I knew you were writing a third one, I was just curious if you had all of that laid out or if you had to bob and weave as you wrote.

[13:49] Sarah: Yeah, definitely. It's definitely a mixture of two. I think I kind of know where I want her to go as a person. But yeah, kind of elements. I think characters, as you start to write them, I definitely there's a point in the book where you kind of reach a little bit of a flow state where the character kind of you get to know them. I know Elin really well in two books, but yeah, when you're sort of midway through writing the book, you just know that character more and more, and often they'll do things that surprise you, which is quite exciting.

[14:14] Cindy : That would be exciting. Well, do you feel like Elin's with you all the time because you are writing a series and you're continuing to develop her and take her in different directions? Do you feel like she never leaves you?

[14:25] Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. She's someone there's definitely people who have said before there's aspects of you and Elin. And I think any author, when you write any character, there's definitely aspects there, but she's kind of very much her own person. It sounds strange, but because I spent so much time with her, I'm constantly thinking when I'm in situations, how would Elin react? It's very odd. And when I finish that of writing the series, I think I'll be a little bit berefted, actually.

[14:48] Cindy : You'll be continuing to wonder what Elin is doing.

[14:50] Sarah: Exactly. Yeah. And maybe you'll have to come back to her at some point.

[14:54] Cindy : Exactly. So the book also focuses on a set of siblings who slowly realize they may not know each other quite as well as they think they do. How did that part of the story come along?

[15:04] Sarah: Yeah, it's something I touched on a little bit in the sanatorium. I'm just personally sort of fascinated by sibling relationships. I think you have a point when you're younger and obviously geographically, you're living in the same house and kind of very sort of intimate in that way and knowing each other's habits, what you're doing. And then there comes a point where you kind of separate naturally in adolescence and beyond. And I'm just genuinely fascinated by how much you ever really know someone. And even though you were living together as children, did you ever really know that person? There's that kind of inner world in their head. But yes, perhaps when you're older, you realize, maybe I didn't know them as well as I thought I did. It was maybe just the fact we live together and yeah. I'm also sort of fascinated by the idea within sibling relationships of sort of sibling order and how someone's perception of each other sort of changes and evolves. And in the book, we have three sisters, and yet there's very much only set roles within the family. And I've spoken to a few people have said that's definitely me with Hammer, one of the characters, her point of view the books narrated from as well, where she's kind of that stabilizing force and everyone sees her in that way and always kind of takes it for granted. And I'm just really interested in how that sort of role that sets in.

[16:10] Cindy : Childhood continues as an adult, I find that absolutely fascinating. I am one of two. I have a sister and I have three children, and it's just so interesting to see how roles are set so young. And while people do evolve, I don't feel like those roles, they're set young, and they don't ever really seem to evolve too much unless something very drastic happens. But I think in a kind of standard family where there has not been some horrible tragedy or something like that, that you set these rules early and they don't really change.

[16:39] Sarah: No, they really don't. I mean, I'm the youngest. I was chatting about this with someone the other day, and I said, I'm the youngest, and I think I'll always be the youngest. So even when I'm much, much older, it's kind of decisions are often made as a family group, and I'm the one that sort of just goes along with those family decisions. And I think, yes, those roles will never change, probably even when I'm 80.

[17:00] Cindy : It's just so interesting to me because, yes, as you grow up and you move out of the house and different things happen to different siblings, you know things are going to change, but those roles never really seem to yes.

[17:10] Sarah: And I think when you have, like, a kind of family reunion, this is less a reunion, I suppose, more of a family holiday, but a chance to sort of reconnect with this family group. You definitely see that there. So they haven't really seen each other for a while, but they kind of very much fall back into their usual ways. And I think Hannah, who is the sibling that we learn the most about, I suppose, by being inside her head, I think she has a lot of inner frustrations, which she usually sort of keeps bottoms up, but without giving too much away. I think on the island, with tensions rising, I think we finally see the true her.

[17:42] Cindy : Are those birds behind you?

[17:44] Sarah: Yes, they're seagulls.

[17:45] Cindy : The first time I heard it, I was like, what noise is that? And then I'm like, I think those are birds. Okay, that's kind of cool.

[17:52] Sarah: I like that seagulls. Is that okay?

[17:54] Cindy : Absolutely. Actually kind of adds to the whole interview. I'm like, that's. So interesting.

[17:59] Sarah: Yeah, they kind of messed on our roof, actually, so, yeah, they're sort of circling around, and it's very much a thing of the UK coastline, these huge white seagulls, they're called.

[18:09] Cindy : I love that. Whenever I'm interviewing people in New York City, there's always ambulances in the background, and I expect that. And so now I'm like, okay, I interviewed Sarah, and I'm going to have seagulls in the background. I love it.

[18:22] Sarah: It's so funny.

[18:23] Cindy : Well, what do you hope readers take away from your book?

[18:25] Sarah: I really hope, first of all, I hope they find it just a really fun escape book, but I really hope they kind of get particularly, I think, probably from Hannah and even from Elin herself, an idea that you can kind of be yourself without fear of being judged. And it's not as scary as you think it is. I think something with Hannah I think Hannah sort of had this in a frustration all along because she's been kind of scared to break out of the mold. And I think with Elin as well, particularly as we saw in the first book, she's kind of very scared of showing her feelings and emotions for being judged. So I hope, just via the writing, people can kind of see that actually be free to be yourself. And actually it might be quite liberating.

[19:03] Cindy : That's just a wonderful message, I think. And I do think that's important these days with social media and various ways that people are perceiving what other people are like, where it isn't really how they are, that it's important to get that message out there. Being yourself is the best way to be.

[19:19] Sarah: Yeah. I think with Hannah there's a certain points where she sort of really explains how she feels about a subject and she kind of reflects and thinks, wow, that wasn't as hard as I thought it was. And actually that felt quite good. And also, the world didn't fall apart when I did it. I think there's an element of kind of actually people might respect me if I kind of stand up for myself.

[19:38] Cindy : A little bit more and actually act like your true self. Because I think it's so much more authentic and people can see through when people are trying to act like someone else.

[19:46] Sarah: Yeah, definitely. And I think you make a really good point, actually, about social media. I think you do see it kind of all the time. People sort of position themselves in a certain way or want to be seen in a certain light. And like you said, I think just being authentic really is the only way you can be long term. I think it must be quite tiring to try and pretend all the time right.

[20:05] Cindy : To have two personas.

[20:07] Sarah: Yeah, definitely.

[20:08] Cindy : You write in short chapters, which really moves your story along. Is that purposeful?

[20:12] Sarah: Yeah, definitely. It's kind of and it's also probably how I like to read books. I really like personally just reading books in fairly short chapters. And I probably end up reading more, which sounds odd because it's kind of that one more chapter. One more chapter. Whereas when they're sort of longer chapters, it depends on the mood. I think if I'm in the mood where I can concentrate, I find longer chapters fine, but often late at night or if I'm tired, I definitely prefer that. And I think as a writer, I almost see the booking scenes, in a way, probably quite cinematically. So it's quite natural to kind of almost come in on the action quite late, I suppose, in the scene, and then sort of finish quite early and for me, that's sort of just how I like the pacing to be, and readers seem feedback that they enjoy it, so it's something I'll be sticking with.

[20:55] Cindy : I hadn't thought about the scenic aspect of it popping in part way through, but I definitely think when you have short chapters, you're thinking, I can read one more, I can read one more, versus if it's like ten pages, you're like, oh, can I start another one? And so I was just wondering. I do think it works very well for thrillers.

[21:11] Sarah: Thank you. Yeah, I think with longer books, it definitely depends on sort of mood reading. I definitely don't mind longer chapters depending on the book, but I think definitely for a thriller, if people are picking up a thriller because they want something that's slightly easier to read in a way, and they want it to be a sort of page turner, I think sort of short chapters are a bit of a must.

[21:30] Cindy : I think so too. Well, how about writing your sophomore novel? How was that?

[21:34] Sarah: Yeah, it was a really interesting experience because it was written during the pandemic, which was challenging in lots of ways, so it was really exciting because I had the idea sort of set, so that was good. But yeah, it was just challenging with the children at home and the time I would usually write would be when they were at school. Obviously that time was taken away, so it was sort of squeezed into my leisure time, which was interesting. But actually, overall, I had to have my sort of deadline extended a few times, but to be honest, I think that probably helped the book. I think had I stuck to this sort of original deadline, I wouldn't have had the time like you were kind of mentioned before, sort of percolating and thinking about things and researching when things are sort of slightly more hurry. You don't have the head space. So I think actually, probably it helped the novel, even though it's stressful at the time to sort of ask for extra time. Yeah, it definitely helps, but I'm sure.

[22:21] Cindy : They're happy to grant you extra time if you feel like it's truly going to make the novel better.

[22:26] Sarah: Yeah, definitely. I think for the publisher it's kind of hard because obviously the sales teams and it's a big machine and dates are sort of fixed in stone, but I think everyone, including people working and publishing, was struggling with sort of timings during the pandemic. So, yeah, it sort of worked out.

[22:41] Cindy : Fine overall well, and there's been so much shifting in the industry with all of the supply chain issues and paper and just everything, so they were probably like, okay, good, we're moving all these other books around, we can move this one as well.

[22:52] Sarah: Exactly. And it works out fine. I think we have the sort of paperback coming out and then yeah, this isn't very long afterwards and lots. Of people that read the paperback are then sort of surprised the second book is coming out so quickly. So, yeah, it works out fine.

[23:04] Cindy : That does work really nice, I think, because that's the hard part about starting at a series in the beginning, is that then you have to wait each year or year and a half, however long it's going to be, till the next one comes out. And so if you've just started with the paperback and turn around and the next one is already out, it's so much nicer.

[23:20] Sarah: Yeah, it's a really nice feeling, isn't it, to just know that you've got the next one to pick up.

[23:24] Cindy : Though I do love getting in on the ground floor. I always say it that way because I think it's really fun to start following an author when they write their very first book and then just keep reading them. So there's benefits to both.

[23:34] Sarah: Yeah, definitely. It's interesting. A few people I've sort of chatted with sort of book sort of influences and various things that have actually only read The Retreat, so they haven't read The Sanatorium, which is really interesting. So they're going to have the experience of reading the second book and then going back to the first. So I'll be intrigued to see what sort of people think after doing that.

[23:51] Cindy : Oh, yeah, that's an interesting way to do it. I'm not as tied in. I mean, I have read The Sanatorium because you and I talked last year, but generally in series, I'm not as tied to having to read every single one. I'm fine to go midway through a series and pick up a book and start reading, but some people really want to start from the beginning.

[24:07] Sarah: Yeah, no, I'm the same, actually, I have to say. I like Jo Nesbo’s novels, his Harry Holes’ detective series, and I don't think I read those in order. And to be honest, it didn't sort of take away from my enjoyment. I think had I been there at the first one, I probably would have done it in sequence. But I think it's quite rare that people do that, kind of read one by one by one.

[24:26] Cindy : Well, and I don't even always read all of them. I'll just leap in at book seven or eight and figure, okay, I've caught up because it's hard to go back. It's a lot of books sometimes in some of these series.

[24:36] Sarah: Yeah. Which books kind of appeal to you the most? I think definitely from sort of reading The Blurb. There's one that sort of hit you in a series and other ones that maybe don't appeal, so I think it's fine.

[24:46] Cindy : That's a great point as well. Well, you end up with the very best covers, and I love the cover for The Retreat. So let's talk a little bit about how it came about.

[24:55] Sarah: Yeah, I mean, I have to say, as an author, you don't really have so much say in the cover. That's something that kind of my editor works on. I think if there's something you strongly dislike about the cover, then you could say but I have to say, I didn't make any amendments to this cover or sort of say anything because it was just so atmospheric. You have the island, and then you have the smaller sort of islet next to it, which they've captured really well. And they've also captured that sort of really rugged, wild side of the island, which I think is brilliant, and kind of like the winding path up to the retreat itself. So, yeah, I'm hugely pleased with the cover. And it kind of nicely follows on from the sanatorium. It's different, but it's also recognizably kind of within the same house, which I think is lovely.

[25:37] Cindy : And I see there are seagulls.

[25:38] Sarah: Yeah, there are seagulls that are the backdrop to this.

[25:43] Cindy : Yes, exactly. And I agree with you completely. I love when covers tie together. They're not matching, but you can definitely tell they go together.

[25:51] Sarah: Yeah. And I think that's something really clever that obviously they think about with the very first book, they think, what kind of design style do we have that will work across sort of every novel and just the font, I think in particular, it just works so well.

[26:06] Cindy : I agree completely. Well, before we wrap up, what have you read recently that you really like?

[26:10] Sarah: Oh, gosh, I keep saying the same book, but I have to say it's probably up there for my sort of book of the Year, and I've been lucky enough to read an advanced copy of her next it's Stacy Willingham’s A Flicker in the Dark. I read it sort of a few months ago and I've read her next book called All the Dangerous Things, and it's set in sort of Louisiana very swampy, humid environment. And I just love thrillers that are kind of, for me, sort of transport me. I do love books that are set in the UK, but, yeah, that, for me, is just an environment I know nothing about. And she kind of immerses you in this world, sort of in A Flicker in the Dark, the main character's father was a killer and he's away in prison, but the sort of killer strikes again. So who could be doing this? It's clearly not that person. Oh, yeah. It's just everything. I devoured the book and the second one, too.

[26:59] Cindy : Is it a series?

[27:01] Sarah: It's not a series, no. I think the next book, as well as kind of set in a similar area, and you have that sort of same vibe, but you're not following any particular character.

[27:11] Cindy : Okay. I've seen A Flicker in the Dark, and I knew she had a new book coming out, but I didn't know if they were connected or not.

[27:17] Sarah: Yes. No, they're just both brilliant reads. Highly recommended.

[27:21] Cindy : Well, good. Well, thank you. Well, Sarah, as always, it's delightful to talk with you and I just loved reading the retreat and chatting with you all about it. So thanks for taking the time to come on the Thoughts From a Page.

[27:32] Sarah: Podcast thank you so much for having me on.

[27:36] Cindy : Thank you so much for tuning in today. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to my podcast. I want to quickly share about this wonderful company I am now partnering with. I am always looking for entities that promote and highlight books and recently came across Bookclubs, a company who provides all sorts of resources for established and new book clubs as well as individual readers. My own personal book club recently signed up on Bookclubs, and the group has been impressed with all of the great tools the site and app provide. The Bookclub's website is linked in my show notes and I hope you will check them out soon. Also, if you like my show, I would be so grateful if you would tell everyone you know about it and rate it on whichever platform you listen on. It truly makes a huge difference and really helps the show grow. The book discussed in this episode can be purchased at my bookshop storefront and that link is also in the Show notes. I hope you will check out some other Thoughts From a Page episode and have a great day.