It’s 1984, and summer is scorching the ordinary English village of Heathcote.
What’s more, a mysterious figure is slipping into homes through back doors and open windows. Dubbed ‘the Fox’, he knows everything about everyone – leaving curious objects in their homes, or taking things from them.
When beloved Anna goes missing, the whole community believes the Fox is responsible.
But as the residents scramble to solve the mystery of Anna’s disappearance, little do they know it’s their darkest secrets the Fox is really after…
Inspired by a real 80s mystery, and with a brilliant cast of characters, WE ALL BEGIN AS STRANGERS is a beautiful debut novel you’ll want to recommend to everyone.
You can purchase your copy here ~ Amazon UK
Harriet is a novelist and copywriter with a background in the history of art.
She currently lives in Leamington Spa, UK, with her husband and springer spaniel.
My Q&A with Harriet
Describe yourself using three words?
laid-back, introverted, oddball
What inspired you to write your first novel?
We All Begin As Strangers was inspired by a real-life story: in the summer of 1984, a man dubbed ‘The Fox’ was breaking into people’s homes around the area of The Chilterns, Buckinghamshire. Although he did attack people, he also often simply watched families for hours without them realising he was there, before disappearing again. Born in Pitstone that summer, I grew up hearing stories about him and thought the idea of The Fox would make an interesting starting point for a novel.
What time of day do you like to write?
First thing in the morning when my mind is clear and calm. The later it gets, the more distracted I become by everything…basically, the internet.
What’s your favourite book cover by another author and why?
Recently I really loved the cover of The Vegetarian by Han Kang which I found very striking. I tend to like abstract – rather than pictorial – artwork that’s both intriguing and beautifully made.
Who is your favourite book character that has stayed with you long after the book ended?
Aslan from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe! As a child I cried myself to sleep after reading the chapter where he was tied up and killed on The Stone Table.
More recently I really enjoyed the protagonist of Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh – a properly dark, in some ways disturbed character who isn’t supposed to be likeable or to conform to our ideas of how a young woman should think or act. We need more female characters like this!
What is your favourite book quote?
“I knew what love was supposed to be: obsession with undertones of nausea.”― Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
What’s your favourite word?
If you were a colour what would it be?
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
I like to know a few key turning points, plus have at least a rough idea of the ending. This gives me a sense of direction and confidence that the writing is heading somewhere good.
Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?
I’m speaking at Chipping Norton and Stratford literary festivals in April. Plus BeaconLit in Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire in July. It’d be lovely to meet any fellow writers and readers at any of these events!