Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Simon Lelic Interview - The Search Party

Photo Credit: Justine Stoddart

Simon Lelic is the award-winning author of numerous crime novels, including A Thousand Cuts, The New Neighbors, and The Liar’s Room, as well a highly-acclaimed series of books for young adults. His writing is inspired by a lifelong love of both Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. Simon lives with his wife and three children.


Tell us your latest news.
Not much news to report at the moment, as I am writing this response as the UK just begins to emerge from lockdown. The days haven’t felt ‘new’ for the past three months or so! But my latest novel, The Search Party, is due to be published in the US on the 18th August, and I have just handed the first draft of the follow-up to my editor. Other than that, homeschooling my three children has taken up the majority of my time recently!

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I’m a huge fan of both Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock. Stephen King is a genius when it comes to creating characters, bringing them to life in just a sentence or two, and what I love most about Alfred Hitchcock is his tendency to throw ordinary people into extraordinary situations, prompting us to ask, what would we do?

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I recently wrote a series of books for young teenagers – called The Haven, about a secret organization of kids dedicated to helping other kids in trouble – and it has been enormous fun touring schools and talking about the books with younger readers. Unfortunately, recent events meant I had to cancel my latest tour, but hopefully I will be able to get back out there soon.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
Honestly, I’d rather the thinking take place after they finish reading. I always want my books to be thought-provoking, but above all I want a reader to be so caught up in the story and the characters that they forget they are turning the pages.

In your new book; THE SEARCH PARTY, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
The Search Party is about a group of teenagers who set off into the woods looking for their missing friend. But as they try to unravel the mystery of their friend’s disappearance, they start to realize that they all have something to hide – and that not all of them will make it home alive . . .

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?

Well, having three young(ish) children isn’t always particularly conducive to writing! On the other hand, one of the best bits about being a writer is that I get to choose my own hours, meaning I get to spend time with my family whenever I like – so really I can’t complain.

What part of your characters did you enjoy writing the most?
As well as a third-person strand, which forms the main narrative of the book, we also hear each of the kids involved in the search party talking in the first person, so it was great fun coming up with their different voices.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think the kids from The Search Party would enjoy meeting Gordie Lachance and his friends from Stephen King’s The Body. Both the novella and the film it inspired (Stand By Me) have always been huge favorites of mine.


  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • The Secret History by Donna Tart
  • The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  • IT by Stephen King
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
My eleven-year-old son is the one to go to for ridiculous facts. He informed me just this morning over breakfast that slugs have four noses.

What according to you is your most treasured possession?
I’m struggling to think of anything. I’m very fond of certain copies of various books that have been precious to me over the years, but at the end of the day, stuff is just stuff. It can all be replaced – assuming you ever really needed it in the first place.

Best date you've ever had?

Right now, I’m looking back very fondly on almost every cinema trip and dinner date my wife and I have ever had – we’re counting down the hours until the chance even to pop out for a coffee just the two of us!

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I’m not sure I would go back, as (present circumstances aside) I have never been happier than I am right now. I wouldn’t mind leaping forwards a few months, though – and I suspect I’m not the only person who’s thinking that!

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?
Probably the same thing my journal entry would have read every day for the past three months (see answer above!).

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I had a stroke after getting hit in the neck in 2016 – a blow that damaged one of my arteries, and brought home to me just how precarious life really is. And the birth of each of my kids changed the way I think in more ways than I could possibly recount.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
As for most parents, all my fears these days centre on my kids. And again, there are so many things to be afraid of it would be impossible to list them all!

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
The six-way auction for my debut novel was pretty thrilling, although it was all such a blur at the time, I’m not sure I fully appreciated what was happening.

Where can readers find you?
They can visit WEBSITE
, or follow me on Twitter @Simon_Lelic. I look forward to hearing from them!

A twisty, electrifying new thriller from the author of The New Neighbors and The Liar's Room...

The entire town thinks sixteen-year-old Sadie Saunders is dead. Missing now for a week, they say she was murdered. And they think they know who did it.

Sadie's five best friends aren't so sure, and they vow to find out the truth. So they pack their bags and head into the woods where Sadie was last seen.

But they're not just friends, they're suspects. And each of them has a secret.

As the landscape opens up, and the darkness closes in, the reality of their situation becomes clear...

This was never really a search party.

It's a witch hunt.

And not everyone will make it home alive.


"Clever and atmospheric, with shades of Stand By Me." —Mark Edwards, author of Here To Stay

"A brilliantly tense tale of teenage frustration, lost souls, and sibling love, with an atmosphere as tense as the end of summer storm that threatens throughout the book. Plus a whirlwind of an ending that's like riding a rollercoaster." —Araminta Hall, author of Our Kind of Cruelty

"I've spent every free moment of the last few days feasting on The Search Party...a bloody good read and the very definition of unpredictable. Twisty, creepy, brilliantly paced, and with a denouement I never saw coming." —John Marrs, author of The One

"A chillingly complex, well-crafted web. The voices cry out from Simon Lelic's pages as if they are standing right next to you."—Jane Corry, author of I Looked Away

You can purchase The Search Party at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SIMON LELIC for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Search Party by Simon Lelic.


  1. I have always wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise :)

  2. This sounds like an intense read. And I'm also going to impress and gross out my nieces on our weekly Zoom call when I tell them slugs have four noses.

  3. "Is there something you've dreamed of doing for a long time?" Yes! Many things!

  4. I really want to go to Easter Island and the Galapagos.

  5. I'm looking forward to returning to Israel.

  6. Yes, but I don't want to discuss it here.