18 November 2015

'I wanted to write a novel about a woman who had the potential to kill'

Lacey Flint is dangerous, wayward and unpredictable. Fortunately, for most people, she is very good at blending in; so good, in fact, that very few ever really notice her. Those who do, tend to be afraid.

How does she spend most of her life invisible? Well, she is not very tall and dresses in clothes that are a size too big, effectively hiding her figure. She wears her long, light-brown hair in a plait or a bun and, except in certain circumstances, never uses make-up. She has perfect vision, but is rarely seen without a pair of thick-rimmed spectacles.

Lacey came about because I wanted to write a novel about a woman who had the potential to kill. She is an unreliable narrator, a literary device that has always fascinated me.

Lacey doesn’t like people. She avoids them whenever she can. People have a way of worming their way in, of rooting out secrets and Lacey Flint has lots of secrets. Secrets she can’t allow to see the light of day – ever.

Simple things make Lacey happy – flowers, horses, swimming, reading and watching exotic animals in the zoo. She loves to be near water. She loves her job. Being a good police officer is the most important thing in her life.

Love as a weakness

Her greatest strength is that she can function entirely alone. She needs no one. Her greatest weakness is that she cannot root out of her heart the ability to love. She loves two people deeply and completely: a woman serving a life sentence in HMP Durham for murder, and a detective inspector called Mark Joesbury. Joesbury, she knows, is her nemesis: one day, he will be her downfall.

Her greatest fear is that her true identity will be uncovered, that someone (probably Joesbury) will learn that she isn’t actually 'Lacey Flint' at all.

As a fictional creation, I find Lacey endlessly fascinating. In real life, I think I’d give her a very wide berth.

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