Today I’m delighted to welcome author Barbara Copperthwaite to Five on Friday. Barbara writes dark, psychological thrillers and her latest The Perfect Friend was published this month.
Barbara is a USA TODAY, Kobo, and Amazon bestselling author of dark psychological thrillers HER LAST SECRET, THE DARKEST LIES, INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Thanks to over twenty years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist, she’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. She knows the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are gritty, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.
So over to Barbara:-
Which five pieces of music/songs which are included in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Gwen Stephani – What You Waiting For? – The lyrics are all about that confusion of wanting something but fearing failure, and it’s something that really resonates with me (and probably with most authors). The song actually came out back when I was a journalist, and listening to it made me decide to take a huge chance on a change of job. Ever since then, whenever I’ve wanted to take a leap of faith but felt fearful, I’ve ended up with that song in my head, reminding me that worries are natural but I shouldn’t let them control me.
Five years ago, this song was in my head, when I quit my job in order to become full-time author – a decision I can honestly say I have never regretted.
I’m also quite an impatient person, so the lines about ‘what you waiting for’ suit my personality, as I hate waiting!
Vaughn Williams – The Lark Ascending – This classical music epitomises hot summer days in English countryside. One of my favourite things to do to relax is to go for a walk and lose myself in nature. Every time I hear The Lark Ascending it evokes wonderful memories of walking through long grass, the sun on my skin, and larks climbing into the blue sky above me as they sing. It brings tears to my eyes every time it is played, and I have to stop what I’m doing so I can soak up every note.
Make Someone Happy – Jimmy Durante – I’ve always loved this song. Its message is so simple but so right: ‘Make someone happy, make just one someone happy, and you will be happy, too.’
When I wrote Flowers For The Dead, a psychological crime thriller, the tune took on more meaning, though, as it seemed to sum up a main thread of the story. The main character, Adam, truly does just want to make somebody happy and be happy, too – yet he is so messed up but he can never achieve that, and instead kills those that he loves.
Abba – Move On – One of my earliest memories is of singing along to this. Even then, the words seemed to speak to me, to paint a picture. My mum adored Abba and had all their albums, so I know them all by heart still, but this is one that always struck me as particularly beautiful.
Don’t Stop Moving – Livin’ Joy – A real 90s dance anthem that’s 100 per cent guaranteed to get me moving and feeling happy. Such positive lyrics! ‘You can do anything that you want to do, put your mind, body and soul to it; prove it to yourself and say “I want”, “I will”, “I can do anything”.’
If you’re feeling down, put it on, dance around, sing along at the top of your voice, and by the end of it all negativity will be banished, and you’ll be raring to beat any challenge. That’s how I feel anyway!
Highlight five things (apart from family and friends) you would find it hard to live without
My dogs. Buddy and Scamp make me laugh, even when I’m feeling down. I’ve had Scamp, my cockapoo, from a pup, while Buddy is a rescue dog of indiscriminate breed and age. Together, they complete my family. People could learn a lot from dogs about the joy in simple pleasures; living in the moment rather than worrying about the future or the past; and the giving and receiving of pure, uncomplicated, unconditional love. My dogs give me so much more than I could ever give them, and every single day I am grateful for having them in my life – even if they do demand I throw tennis balls for them when I’m supposed to be writing.
My teapot. I’m a fruit tea addict, and my pot is pretty much permanently by my side. Having a pot rather than a mug makes me feel terribly old-fashioned and civilised. There is something so calming about the act of stopping what I’m doing, pouring a cup, then taking a sip, before plunging on with my writing.
Walks in nature. I get most of my ideas while waking. They pop into my head from nowhere. Even in deepest, darkest mid-winter, I have to get out for a walk or I’ll go stir crazy. Even when I worked in an office full-time, at lunch I had to walk. It’s as though my brain is powered by my moving feet.
Music. I love all forms of music, and always have something on whether I’m cooking, doing, housework, reading, or writing. Each book seems to have a different musical theme as I type: I mainly listened to birdsong and soundtracks of nature for The Darkest Lies; dance music for Her Last Secret; and classical for The Perfect Friend. It’s strange how the two creative forms seem to link up in my head, and I would truly struggle without music.
Books. Come on, I wouldn’t be much of a writer if I could live without books!
Can you offer the five pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t listen to the advice and opinions of others so much that they drown out your own views.
Don’t look back – and don’t over-reach for the future.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Don’t spend all your savings on that cute red Mini Metro – it’s falling apart and its brakes don’t work. Wait a while and a better first car will come along…one that actually stops.
Believe – because everything does work out in the end.
Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you
I’ve held a fair few random jobs. As well as being a journalist, I’ve also worked as a waitress, glass collector, cabin crew, and in a men’s prison.
I love sewing, though don’t get to do it very often. My mum made all of our clothes when I was growing up, so it’s second nature to me to make things. It’s incredibly relaxing.
Nature is a real passion of mine. I used to have a nature blog, with my photographs and features about wildlife on, but I’ve had to let it slide for the last few years as I’m so busy with my psychological thrillers. One day it will be resurrected, though. Information from the blog was used by The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and The Black Country, in order to catalogue nature at my local park and create a plan to safeguard the park’s future. I’m very proud of that.
Painting and drawing is a hobby of mine. Many of the nature photographs I take are then turned into sketches.
I can wiggle my little toes independently of all my other toes.
What are the first five things you’d have on your bucket list?
Funnily enough, I pondered this while writing The Perfect Friend, as one of the characters, Alex, is trying to make Carrie’s bucket list dreams come true – and that’s what triggers mysterious, threatening messages being delivered to the dying woman. Hopefully, that isn’t what will happen to me once I reveal my list.
My bucket list is all about animals.
Firstly, I’d love to see mountain gorillas. As a child of eight, while most people had posters of pop stars on their bedroom walls, I had a photograph of Dian Fossey in Rwanda with the mountain gorillas. She was a heroine of mine, and I wanted desperately to be like her. It would be the fulfilment of a lifelong dream to see them.
Second on my list is another childhood dream: to visit the Galapagos Islands. The species there are unique, and helped Darwin confirm his theories on evolution – just thinking about seeing it gets my heart pumping.
Blue whales breaching the sea, flipping onto their backs, then flopping down with an almighty splash has to be one of the most amazing sights in the world. They are the largest creatures known to have lived on earth. What a huge honour it would be to see them – and that’s why they are third on my bucket list.
Fourth is to travel to Borneo to see orangutan, and all the other incredible flora and fauna.
Finally, I need to travel to Africa for a safari, ideally the Ngorongoro Crater, in Tanzania. It’s world renowned for being the most incredible sanctuary for wildlife, enjoying the highest density of mammals in Africa across its crater floor. I’d spent a wonderful time there, seeing buffalo, wildebeest, rhinos, gazelles, elephants, lions, giraffes… I wish I could be there right now, but for now it’s enough to know that one day I will visit.
Thanks so much for sharing with us Barbara. I love the eclectic music choices and as another Abba fan, I’m glad to see one in there. Glad to see you enjoy sewing, I have aspirations to sew, but managed to fail my ‘O’ level needlework twice! Lovely fact about your toes, I’m sure on reading that we’re all trying to do the same. Hope you get to achieve some, if not all on your bucket list. I can recommend Borneo, I’ve been lucky enough to visit and the trip to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was magical.
She’ll do anything for you…
My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.
My husband has left me.
My children won’t speak to me.
My friend Carrie is the only person I have.
She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.
She’d never do anything to let me down.
This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page.
Some secrets you can never tell.
Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.
They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.
They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.
They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.
But someone knows all their secrets.
Can the lies that bind them tear them apart?
A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.
Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.
Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?
As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…
ADAM WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE LAURA HAPPY. EVEN IF IT KILLS HER.
After a devastating car crash wipes out her family, Laura struggles to get her life together. Grieving, she becomes forgetful. She doesn’t remember how money got into her purse, or buying that pint of milk…
Adam is the perfect boyfriend. He cooks meals. He does the housework. He looks after Laura’s every need. He knows everything about her.
But Laura has never met Adam. And she knows nothing about him.
What turned him into a monster who stalks his victims? How did he become warped from a sensitive boy who adored the fairy tales his gran read to him? And what is he trying to say with the bouquets he sends?
THERE’S ONE VICTIM OF CRIME NO ONE NOTICES…
Something is wrong. With her marriage, with her husband, with her. But as she pours her heart out to her diary, it’s clear she doesn’t know what.
Until one explosive night she finds a possible answer.
Suddenly hated and vilified by everyone, she clings to her relationship – even while wondering if she really knows her husband at all…
INVISIBLE is a stunningly powerful, gripping and original psychological thriller of subtle insight that takes you on a twisted journey through one woman’s marriage.
You can keep up to date with what Barbara is doing via