1 Is there an important theme (or themes) that this story illustrates?
Although primary schools are, in the main, thrilling little places with a heady ozone layer of happiness, they can sometimes be insular and laced with tensions both professional and personal, so my theme is the microcosm of the workplace and how personalities react.
2 What is the predominant moral issue? Who understands what is 'right' here or does no one?
The moral issue is bullying, both in private relationships and in the workplace. In this story, several characters fully understand right from wrong as defined by our culture and they try to live by those rules. Others have their own definitions of right and wrong and live by those rules.
3 How would you describe the genre of your
book, if any? What drew you to this genre?
I'd place the book in two genres: crime and psychological thriller. I enjoy reading both genre because the scenarios are, by definition, dangerous, often shocking and usually life-threatening. I want to see how individuals handle these situations, their relationships with others and, most importantly, where their humanity lies
4 When writing, do you like to plan in detail or set up a situation and see where it takes your characters?
I have the main idea and the ending planned out in my head, but then when I start writing, situations can develop where I may have to change my focus. In this book, when I'd finished the first draft, I decided to change the identity of the victim, so I rewrote it all. This was very interesting and made the whole book more poignant. The replacement victim was my daughter's idea.
5 Who is your favourite character and why?
This is the teaching assistant, Janice Maidly, who finds the body. She has more life-changing problems than any of the other characters but handles everything with a dignity and singlemindedness that I'd like for myself. She has inner iron.
AN AUTHOR INTERVIEW by Elizabeth Gates
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6 Do characters change in your story? Is this important?
7 If you were a casting director for a film/ TV version, who would you cast in which roles?
Some of them do, some more than others in response to the situation. Yes, I think it's important to show that events can change lives and personalities. It's part of the human condition and it's what I look for as a reader; I want to know how people react to life, how they handle it, what happens to them.
For a start, jason Issacs would be the judge, David Mortlake, husband to Christine Mortlake, the head teacher. I'm thinking of Sarah Lancashire for her role; she can play a lot of different characters so convincingly. Jon Gilray, the irate parent (tough, strong personality ) - Richard Madden. Samantha Jameson, deputy head teacher - Keely Hawes. Simon, Sam's partner ( teaches A level English at high school - Rupert Penry-Jones. Janice Maidly, teaching assistant - Suranne Jones.