Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lauren North Interview - One Step Behind

Photo Content from Lauren North

Lauren North writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Growing up, I devoured books. From the classics to Enid Blyton and the Nancy Drew novels. YA wasn’t such a big genre when I was younger, so I leapt straight into John Grisham and Stephen King, often scaring myself silly at night. There is no doubt in my mind that these books influenced my writing. But a standout book for me was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Although it’s a horror, the story is filled with emotional depth and creepy inescapable tension that inspired me to become a writer. So for me, the books I read growing up, and still read today, influence my writing more than anything or anyone else.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There are two standout events for me. The first is a woman who contacted me after reading my debut (The Perfect Son). She told me she’d not picked up a book for years but reading my book had made her realise that she’d been missing out and now she reads all the time. Knowing I’ve had a hand in opening the door to the amazing world of books for this one person is magical and extremely rewarding.

The second most rewarding experience was going into a store and seeing my book on the shelves. For someone who has been dreaming of being an author for a long time, it doesn’t get much better than that.

In your new book; ONE STEP BEHIND, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
One Step Behind focuses on Jenna – a wife, a mother and a doctor, and a woman pushed to the brink of a breakdown by an unknown stalker. This man is tormenting her life. He’s leaving creepy gifts on her doorstep, he’s emailing her colleagues at the hospital, he breaks into her house.

Jenna knows she’s at breaking point and can’t take much more, but then her stalker is wheeled into the emergency room where she works and suddenly it’s Jenna that has all the power and she must decide how many lines she’s willing to cross to take back control of her life.

  • 1. It’s set in a fictional seaside town called Westbury
  • 2. Westbury is based on the real seaside town of Southend on Sea where I grew up. I changed the name because there is a hospital in the novel where Jenna works, and I wanted to make some changes to the hospital in my story
  • 3. Jenna is a doctor who has lived in Westbury for 13 years. This was some creative licence on my part. Had she been a real-life doctor she would have had to move around every six months or so to complete her training. Only in the last few years would she have been able to settle in one place. I kept Jenna living in Westbury as it made it easier for marriage and family and her friendships
  • 4. Jenna’s house is based on my Dad’s house in the real Southend on Sea
  • 5. Jenna’s son Archie is an imaginative 7-year old. He loves to fight aliens on his imaginary planet Bong.
  • 6. I borrowed planet Bong from my daughter and her friend who created the imaginary world
  • 7. Another main character in the book is Sophie. The reader sees past chapters from Sophie from when she’s eight until when she’s an adult. Sophie’s teenage experiences with friends isn’t very nice. It’s based on my own experience.
  • 8. In a very early draft of One Step Behind Jenna was single and didn’t have children.
  • 9. I changed Jenna to being married with children because neither Jenna nor the book was working
  • 10. In order to write the hospital scenes I had to watch a lot of documentaries about the emergency room and then asked a friend of a friend who works as an emergency room nurse to read the book to make sure I got my facts right
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
The thing I find surprising about my characters in every book I write, is how much they change as I’m writing the first draft. They come to life for me and suddenly they are these living, breathing, talking people with opinions, and they don’t always want to do what I’ve planned for them to do. It’s exciting and frustrating in equal measure.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Am I allowed to say myself? I will find a hundred and one things to do around the house, errands that I must run that very second, anything in fact that isn’t sitting down and writing my book. And when I do strong arm myself into my office, Facebook and Twitter cause even more distraction.

It’s for this reason that I set myself daily word count challenges to keep me focused. I like to wake up early before my family are up and write. It’s too early to be moving around the house doing jobs so there is no excuse not to write.

What part of Jenna did you enjoy writing the most?
Her fierceness in her passion for her work and protecting her children. She is a jump in the deep end kind of person which made her great to write about.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love for Tess from The Perfect Son to meet Jenna from One Step Behind. Tess is struggling with grief and depression and I think she’d benefit from some of Jenna’s fierceness and drive. Both are mothers who would do anything to protect their children and I think they’d find common ground there.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
My son is ten years old. He loves watching animal documentaries and knows a lot about animals. My most ridiculous is one he told me the other day. If you took all the fur off a tiger, it would still have its stripes because the stripes are on the skin too.

  • 1. I love running. I do it for fun and not for exercise.
  • 2. I’m crazy about Twix. I eat at least one Twix a day and must dip it in my coffee
  • 3. I’m super competitive and love board games.
  • 4. I’ve also been known to cheat. Watch me very carefully if you want to play a game with me.
  • 5. My happiest nights are ones when I’m tucked up in bed by 9pm
  • 6. I have super long toes and my childhood nickname was Lauren Long toes
  • 7. When I’m lost in writing, I say the words out loud as I type. I only realised this when I started getting funny looks when I was writing in cafes
  • 8. I don’t like summer. It’s too hot or not hot enough but you have to wear summery clothes anyway. Autumn and woolly jumpers and warm socks rock!
  • 9. I can’t watch or read anything about zombies. They interfere with my imagination and I have very vivid nightmares. Even an advert for The Walking Dead can trigger a weird dream.
  • 10. I smile at dogs when they walk by (and get funny looks from the owners). They are just so happy and tail wagging.
Best date you've ever had?
A few years ago I went to Iceland with my husband. It was our first trip away without children since we were married. We went to see this huge waterfall. It was freezing cold but utterly beautiful and we had such a good time together. He really made me laugh that day. So that’s probably the best date I’ve ever had.

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?
It’s been one of those days when life has really got in the way and writing has taken a back seat. Don’t beat yourself up. Nobody shouted or cried today. Tomorrow the children will be back at school and then you can write, but make sure you get up early and focus!

What event in your life would make a good movie?
I’m really not that interesting I’m afraid. My life would put a lot of people to sleep if it was made into a movie.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I have really thick, bushy sort of curly but not quite curly hair. It would have been perfect for the 80’s style, so for this reason I’d chose the 80’s so I could see what it’s like to fit in as a teenager.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
I don’t like birds very much. All that flapping and flying around my head.

What did you do for your last birthday?
I ate too much cake.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
The moment when I found out my debut novel had sold in America. It was completely unexpected. I found out at 4.30am and sat at my desk for an hour just staring at the email before I woke my husband up to tell him.

Where can readers find you?

I’m on Twitter: @Lauren_C_North and Facebook: @LaurenNorthAuthor. Please do get in touch if you read and enjoy my books. It really makes my day to hear from readers.

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker.

Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him.

Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers.

But how many lines is she willing to cross to take back control of her life?


“The lives of two troubled women intertwine in this unsettling psychological thriller….A nice see-sawing of emotions and motives will keep most readers guessing to the end. North remains a writer to watch.” —Publishers Weekly

“A great psychological thriller with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged to the very end.” —Red Carpet Crash
You can purchase One Step Behind at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LAUREN NORTH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of One Step Behind by Lauren North.


  1. My engagement ring. It means so much to me!

  2. I think the photos of several generations of my family which are labeled and comprise several different family lines. At least they are valuable to me.

  3. Most important thing to me is my husband.

  4. The most important object I own--besides the collective group of my photo albums--is a ring my mom bought when we went on vacation together. Now I wear it every day.

  5. The most important thing I own is my ID which consists of my passport, bank and credit cards, library card, drivers license and SIN card

  6. "What is the most important object you own?" My collection of Regency snuff boxes.