First-time novelist Andrea Mara on 'domestic noir', and how her blog helped her to break into fiction
You already have an audience with your blog, Office Mum. How did that start?
My blog started out being about trying to balance being at work and home, and challenges faced by mothers in the workplace. It evolved into writing about anything that came into my head.
Was your experience as a blogger a help when it came to your first novel?
It helped me develop the habit of sitting down at my laptop and writing. It's hard to do that first sentence if you are not used to writing. The feedback also gave me confidence.
When you started out blogging, you were working in an office, but then the office shut down. Was that difficult?
It was a horrible shock and I was devastated. I had a good balance in my work. I was working three days in the office and one day at home. But ultimately losing my job gave me the opportunity to write full-time.
Do you miss anything about office life?
There are things you miss. You might be sitting at home on a cold November morning and there is nobody to talk to. But I have great flexibility.
Your novel, The Other Side of the Wall, is described as 'domestic noir'. What does that mean?
The story is in an everyday setting. It could be a family living in a house, and something odd happens. It's crime, but not the normal police procedural.
So how does your own book start?
The main character looks out her bedroom window at night and sees a child face down in the pond next door. She races into her neighbour's garden, but when she gets there, the pond is empty.
What kind of novels did you like growing up?
As a teenager, I loved the novels of Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan - the sort of stories that would keep you up until three in the morning. They were Young Adult thrillers with a twist - the good guy could turn out to be the bad guy.