Friday, 13 December 2019

Friday Fiction Feature: The House Sitter

This week’s Friday Fiction Feature showcases The House Sitter by Jill Barry

Lorraine, I’m delighted to share aspects of my new novel with you and your readers. Up until now, Jill Barry has been known for her romantic fiction but The House Sitter results from a desire to challenge myself by writing outside my comfort zone and creating my first psychological suspense. The book was previously accepted for publication in 2016, but for various reasons, I’m pleased to say it’s now published by Headline Accent.

Why have I abandoned that old thing called love? In fact, I haven’t. Since completing the novel, I’ve written several novellas for D C Thomson, all of which give the reader either a happy ending, or the promise of one.  But I’d like to tell you what inspired The House Sitter and why I very much hope you’ll read it.

Back in 2002, while living in a remote mid Wales village, I experienced problems with a neighbour. Subsequently, I moved to another area where I became friendly with another, much more famous, romantic novelist. Some years later, this author and her husband decided to move to England and suddenly an idea jumped into my mind.  Please be assured that I didn’t act upon this concept in my personal life!

The House Sitter is the story of a couple who, though enjoying their quiet, luxurious existence in a remote Welsh village, decide to move back into England. I give them a near-neighbour who, on discovering their intention, becomes so irritated by their decision that she begins manipulating them in her own devious way. This is the house sitter of the book’s title. And she has history…

I wanted my estate agent to be female and very proactive. Almost without my realising, Bethan takes a dislike to the couple’s friend, increasing the conflict and tension. Especially when a male house buyer turns up and falls in love with The Sugar House. There’s a reason for it to bear that name, by the way. There’s also a macabre anecdote which isn’t totally fictional but proved to be a good authorly device.

I’m told by my book club ladies that the male house buyer mentioned above makes them think of a slightly younger Hugh Jackman. I couldn’t possibly comment.

So, if you like to read something which has been described as an exciting and extremely well-written story, enhanced by a clever and entertaining mix of tension and humour, The House Sitter might be for you.

Author bio and social media links

When Jill Barry’s not writing, she’s often thinking about writing. Or reading. This habit began at an early age, closely followed by a desire to grow up and become a chorus girl or air hostess. She achieved the latter but acted out the other ambition only by dancing round her kitchen. Jill believes her mother instilled a love of words in her and (when she can get away with it) loves to curl up with a codeword puzzle. Reading, writing, musical theatre, baking and following tennis are her passions. Travel is a necessity if she wants to see more of her son, who lives in Melbourne. Visiting Australia has given her an excuse to set one of her many published novellas in a Victorian country resort and she has used several of her former jobs to colour others. She co-manages her local RNA group and loves buzzing off to Cardiff to discuss the craft of writing, drink coffee and catch up with writing friends’ news.

Twitter: @barry_jill
Link to The House Sitter:  

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