It comes out on Thursday, June 28 with Isabel launching it at Waterstones, Chichester at 7pm the same day (tickets are free but need to be obtained from the store in advance on 01243 773030).
“You can get quite a different readership with ebooks,” Isabel says. “There are some readers that will only read ebooks and others who will read the ebook and then go out and get the actual physical book. And then there are some people who will wait for the book. It can feel very strange as an author when the ebook comes out. It is a little bit of an anti-climax because you don’t have the physical product. With an ebook everything is digital, but I would feel awful if I didn’t have the actual book in the end!”
As for the book: “As is usual with me, my books start with a small moment that I just zone in on and which then starts to obsess me. I was sitting on a train quite a number of years ago, and I was thinking about people moving house and how we don’t now write letters any more. What comes through the post is generally boring or bills. We just don’t get so much personal mail any more. Even postcards have gone. And I was thinking what happens when you set up a mail-forwarding system. Do people still do that now we can just email everyone? And I just had a vision of a woman in her new home receiving post which is actually for the person she had bought the house from. She finds a letter from somebody and opens it. She becomes interested in this correspondence and starts to reply in place of the person who should have received it. She is in the wrong, of course, but I was thinking what would happen if this lonely woman is somehow given access to a different world where she can walk into somebody else’s shoes. What would be the consequences?
“I was quite a shy and quiet child. I was always entranced by the children who were not like that. They were very confident and lived in a very different world to the one that I lived in. But it was that idea of living other people’s lives, living in other people’s shoes with somebody else’s identity that really interested me.”
In the book, the woman becomes Casey: “She is a very strange and solitary woman, but I didn’t do anything with that idea for a number of years. Since then I have written several other books, but then I was talking to my fiction editor about doing a book which was a cold-case story. The main character is Martha who is opening up a cold case from 18 years before, the disappearance of her best friend. And it is her letter to the third member in the group of friends that Casey picks up… “