'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Thursday, 18 September 2014

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Hide and Seek by Amy Bird

Today I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Hide and Seek by Amy Bird. This is her third novel and she's here today to share her top ten books that influenced Hide and Seek. Carina Press have offered up a fantastic giveaway so please do keep reading to the bottom!
The Top Ten Books that Influenced Hide and Seek

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I don’t think any contemporary writer of psychological thrillers can claim not to be influenced by this book. It has become genre defining. The plot twists, unreliable narrators, multiple voices, toxic relationships, and of course the sheer page-turning quality make it a touchstone for writers like me. In Hide and Seek, I use three first-person narrators, all of whom have secrets from each other, which lead to dangerous twists. It’s not about being derivative, it’s about learning from the masters and understanding the expectations of reader.

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
As with the above, this is now a modern classic of the genre. It kept me awake until 1am with its twists, turns and clever structure. Plus it deals so well with the hidden secrets of people’s pasts and the question of memory, themes I also explore in Hide and Seek.

The Dinner by Herman Koch
I loved the unique structure of this contemporary psychological thriller. Koch structures the book in courses, from aperitif right through to the tip, with each section generally finishing in a cliff-hanger. I wanted a structure that supported the content of Hide and Seek, so I modelled it on a concerto. At the heart of Hide and Seek, there is a fictitious piano that drives the characters to discover – and hide – secrets. Plus I was impressed by the way that the really shocking act that the characters in The Dinner condone is never explicitly described – it’s all dealt with by implication, and you don’t see it happen. Learning from this, enabled me to create a subtle yet striking climax for Hide and Seek.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I was reading this while I was writing the first draft of Hide and Seek. It is a master-class in plot twists, warped characters, and claustrophobic relationships.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
This is one of my favourite classic suspense novels. I love the way Du Maurier uses the subtlest of details here and there to build and build to a danger we know is going to befall the main characters, but we don’t know when or how. In Hide and Seek, we know that something isn’t right in Will’s apparently perfect life. Little by little we understand what that is – and, more alarmingly, what he is going to do about it. Plus the last third of Rebecca is unputdownable, something I always strive to achieve!

The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene
As with Du Maurier, Greene is a master of creating a sense of unease through little details, gradually building to terror.

Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
I love books that have a dark weirdness to them, when you are plunged into another world that your senses struggle to comprehend. The way I deal with that in Hide and Seek is to use first person, so that you are immediately thrown into the mind of a stranger and have to orientate yourself. As you get to know the characters, they become less strange. Just as you become comfortable with them, their thoughts start to shock and disturb you, as the extent of their obsessions become clear.

In the Cut by Susannah Moore
I confess, on one level I hated this book when I first read it, and actually threw it across the room when I’d finished reading it, because of its suggestion that women deliberately make themselves victims. But I was left haunted by the unusual and obsessive search for truth the protagonist makes, and the striking use of first person narration at times of danger. You’ll see some of that in Hide and Seek.

The Vanishing Point by Val McDermid
I was reading this when I was doing the final edits to Hide and Seek. The real takeaway point from this book is McDermid’s unrelenting focus on plot, and leaving readers with a cliff-hanger at the end of each chapter. But that is only compelling because of the human relationships that she creates – all warped yet believable. There are some pretty warped relationships in Hide and Seek, and possibly some characters that are rather unlikeable. But because of where that leads them, I think that makes the book even more compelling.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse
Last but definitely not least. This was the first commercial page-turner I read as an adult. I was amazed by Mosse’s ability in making me read the full book in almost one sitting. It made me realise there was a real art to the suspense genre, and the pleasure it can give both readers and writers. I don’t think I would have gone in the direction I have with my books were it not for reading this.

Hide and Seek

About Amy Bird
Amy is the author of the thrillers Three Steps Behind You and Yours Is Mine, and now Hide and Seek. 
Having moved all over the UK as a child, she now lives in North London with her husband, dividing her time between working part-time as a lawyer and writing. 
You can find out more at http://amybirdwrites.com or follow her on Twitter @London_writer 
Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

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