Today I am delighted to welcome my fellow Carina UK author, Amy Bird to my Blog to share with us why she chose North London as the crucial setting for her terrific debut thriller ‘Yours is Mine’ which has just been released by Carina UK.
Over to you Amy….
Writing North London
North London: literary paradise or pernicious liability?
Zenith of cool or nadir of pretention?
For every Londoner who thinks travelling south of the river equates to signing your own death warrant, there are others who think Hampstead is the London equivalent of the North Pole, and just as icy.
So why, given this polarisation of opinion, would an author choose to set a novel there?
Why risk alienating readers who wouldn’t in reality venture further north than Waterloo?
My lovely host’s comic crime caper, ‘Recipe for Disaster’, takes place in a North London deli. My debut psychological thriller, ‘Yours is Mine’, is also set partly in North London.
A cool deli, with romantic interest, and a character who we can all aspire to be? I can instantly conjure up a likely contender in each ‘NW’ postcode where I’ve ordered a sunblush tomato and mozzarella focaccia recently.
And that’s part of the point of a North London setting – it carries with it a vibe, a way of operating, that need not be North London, but anywhere that has that air of isolationist cool.
In ‘Yours is Mine’, this ‘cool’ is central to the plot.
Kate, the protagonist, has been living outside London for years.
She is isolated and alone, not just because she happens to be in remote Northumberland, but because she is recently bereaved and her military husband has gone overseas.
When she is offered the chance to ‘exchange identities’ with a woman who lives in a slick Camden flat, that is the draw she needs to entice her to enter into the unusual scheme.
Kate is tantalised by the postcode, pub theatres and the restaurants of Camden, Highgate and Hampstead. She potters around Belsize Park, visiting wine bars and thinking about existentialism. Lofty drama groups and tasty pear salads distract her attention from the fact she has handed her identity over to a woman who could destroy her.
For here’s the thing: Kate in ‘Yours is Mine’ is all about aspiration.
When asked to define her life as a verb, she says ‘I strive.’
Living in North London is for her about achieving the ultimate life satisfaction, getting her spark back so that at the end of three month swap she can return, happy, to her old life. Anna, her nemesis, the engineer of the identity exchange ‘experiment’, knows this. And exploits it.
So while Kate is magnetically drawn to North London, the distractions it provides are enough to give Anna the opportunity to put Kate’s very identity at risk.
The tag-line for ‘Yours is Mine’ is ‘how far would you go to get your life back?’ The bad news for Kate is that even up North may not be far enough.
Yours is Mine, a psychological thriller about two women who exchange identities, is available now from Carina UK, the new digital imprint of Harlequin, at
On her last blog tour stop, http://unhingednavywives.blogspot.co.uk/ on 7 August, Amy will be doing a giveaway of a MIRA goodie bag, filled with some great titles from that Harlequin imprint. So be sure to catch her there!