Five on Friday with Adam Southward @adamsouthward

Today it’s my pleasure to feature Adam Southward. Adam took part in my Afraid of the Light group feature earlier this year, so it’s lovely to discover more about him individually.

Adam is a philosophy graduate with a professional background in technology, working in both publishing and the public sector. He lives on the south coast of England with his young family.

Adam’s debut novel, Trance, was an Amazon bestseller in 2019, hitting number 1 in the UK Kindle charts and number 2 in the US. He also contributed to the hugely popular Afraid of the Light – a charity crime anthology published in April 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown. Adam’s latest book Mirror is published on the 24th September.

Over to Adam:-

Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Bad – Michael Jackson (the album). It was the first album I ever owned (as a small child in the 80s), and played it non-stop, back-to-back, for weeks. I can probably remember the lyrics to every song.

Fantasia (the rave music!) – because I went through a ‘rave phase’ in my early teens (90s). I sat in class with friends listening to it on my Sony Walkman. We thought we were very cool (we weren’t).

Pachelbel’s Canon in D – My wife Kerry walked down the aisle to this. I love it.

Chopin’s Nocturnes. As well as being possibly the finest solo piano works ever, we played it extensively during our two pregnancies (better than rave for babies, so I was told).

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen. Because my daughters love it. So I’ve heard it 4 million times.

What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

Coffee – there is no way I could live, let alone write, without proper coffee.

Red wine – same answer as for coffee. For after 6pm (5pm on Fridays).

My Kindle – I love paper books, but the Kindle is my default. I couldn’t live without instant access to the next book on my reading list.

My PC, desk, and big monitor(x2) – I write at a plain old desk with plenty of elbow room.

Pizza – traditional wood-fired Margherita, perhaps with a bit of prosciutto. I could eat that every day, forever.

Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?

Start writing earlier. I was published at 40, which I think is pretty normal, but I’d love to have brought that forward ten years.

Be clear on what makes you happy, and pursue that. Too many young people (myself included) are pushed towards corporate ‘proper’ jobs and away from their passions. If you love something, you’ll get good at it. If you’re good at something, people will pay you for it. Voila – a job you love.

Travel more. I’ve been to a fair few places, but I have a long to-visit list. Travel broadens the mind, improves everything.

If you’re lucky enough to have spare money, buy experiences, not stuff.

Exception to the above, buy tech shares in Amazon, Google et al. I’d be financially independent (rolling in it) by now if I’d invested a few sensible thousand in my early twenties.

Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you

I was on The Really Wild Show once. I sat in the audience and screamed as Terry Nutkins ran on set.

I’m a science fiction geek. I grew up on Clarke, Niven, Pournelle. I still love an epic SF novel – probably my preferred method of escapism.

I once worked in a toy shop. It was horrible. You don’t get to play with toys, you just look at them and sell them.

As a student I worked in a haunted hotel. I absolutely, categorically do NOT believe in the supernatural. Except for that hotel.

I’m a Myers Briggs INTJ personality type (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging), which applies to only 2% of the population.

Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.

Write full-time. I’m in a very pleasant corporate job, which pays the bills etc, but I’d love my writing to earn enough to replace it.

Travel more without overthinking it. Just pick a new place and go.

TV or film adaptation of one of my books. I’ve had a lot of interest in Trance (my debut in 2019 and the first in the series) for a TV adaptation – fingers and toes crossed it’ll go somewhere!

Learn another language.

Give my two daughters the opportunity to pursue absolutely any path in life they want.

Thanks so much for joining us today Adam, I loved the music choices – a very varied selection. The Pachelbel is one of my favourite pieces of music too. I love the advice to buy experiences, not stuff – something we’re never too old to learn. As for Amazon and Google, I think many of wish we’d done the same – hindsight is a wonderful thing! Can I confess to not having heard of the INTJ personality type? I think I’m safer not knowing what I might be. Good luck with all that future travel and learning another language. I’ve been attempting Spanish for 10 years and I’ve forgotten more than I ever remember when I have to use it. Fingers crossed indeed for that TV adaptation. All the best for publication day next week, hopefully Mirror will be another Amazon bestseller.

Adam’s Books

(NB book links are affiliate links – see more here)

Trance (Alex Madison Book 1) by [Adam Southward]

Trance (Alex Madison Book 1)

His victims are powerless. He is in control. This is his revenge—and he’s only just begun.

Three university scientists are found dead in a gruesome murder-suicide, and the only suspect in the case, Victor Lazar, is quickly captured. When the spate of violent suicides follows him to prison he is moved to solitary confinement, reserved for the highest-risk inmates. And then his assigned psychologist inexplicably takes his own life.

Alex Madison, a former forensic psychologist turned private therapist, is brought in to interview Victor. He suspects that Victor is controlling his victims, somehow coaxing them into a suggestive trance. It seems like science fiction, but as Alex digs deeper he uncovers a frightening reality of secret research and cruel experimentation—and the perpetrators are closer to home than he could ever have imagined.

Too late, Alex learns the true extent of what Victor is capable of—and who he’s after. With everything he holds dear at risk, can Alex take control of a dangerous mind—before it takes control of him?

Pain (Alex Madison Book 2) by [Adam Southward]

Pain (Alex Madison Book 2)

A killer intoxicated by pain. Should Alex Madison stop her—or save her?

Across London, hospital patients are dying—in shockingly unnatural circumstances. A sadistic young woman is targeting them as they lie helpless in their beds, eking out every last sensation of pain as their lives ebb to an excruciating close.

The killer is a sadist, but careful too, so the police bring in forensic psychologist Dr Alex Madison to track down what is clearly an extraordinary and damaged mind. For Alex, the case has a personal resonance he can’t reveal: he knows pain and addiction all too well, and must fight to control his own downward spiral long enough to stop the killer’s campaign of cruelty.

As Alex closes in on the killer, it becomes clear that there are darker forces at work, and a connection to his previous case ignites his worst fears. When he uncovers the shocking truth behind the killer’s motivations, Alex must decide: should he pursue the police’s version of justice—or hunt down the sinister organisation that has warped another soul?

Mirror (Alex Madison Book 3) by [Adam Southward]

Mirror (Alex Madison Book 3) – out on 24th September

She has a dangerous gift. They’ll stop at nothing to take it.

A young psychiatric patient disappears from her ward in the dead of night. Eva Jansen’s medical records have been wiped, her history buried. Somebody wanted all trace of her extinguished forever—and fast.

When forensic psychologist Alex Madison is tipped off that Eva possesses an extraordinary ability, he knows he must find her before she falls into the wrong hands. Her dangerous gift has eerie echoes of his previous cases, and he’s convinced there’s a connection to the sinister criminal network he’s been hunting for years.

But Alex is being watched; his family is being followed. And as the search for Eva consumes his mind, it becomes clear that dark forces are determined to keep her for themselves—and keep him off the scent at all costs. With his life in dangerous freefall, can Alex expose the truth before he is silenced for good?

Afraid Of The Light: The twistiest short stories of 2020 from top UK crime authors by [Victoria Selman, Adam Southward, Dominic Nolan, Elle Croft, S R Masters, Phoebe Morgan, N J Mackay, Rachael Blok, Heather Critchlow, Jo Furniss, Robert  Scragg, Clare  Empson, James  Delargy, Kate  Simants]

Afraid of the Light

Some people are scared of the dark. But it’s the light that exposes the secrets.

A young boy with nightmares faces up to his demons. A deathbed confession turns the world on its axis. A five-year-old watches his parents bury a body in the garden. A soldier returns from the war to find the horror isn’t yet over.

Afraid Of The Light brings the imagination of fourteen bestselling crime writers together in a collection that will keep you up all night. From a deadly campfire game to a holiday gone wrong, to an AI assistant with a motive and a love affair that can only end in murder, this is a gripping, twisty set of stories to send a shiver down your spine.

Are you Listening? – Adam Southward
Daddy Dearest – Dominic Nolan
Deathbed, Beth Dead – Elle Croft
Loveable Alan Atcliffe – S R Masters
Sleep Time – Phoebe Morgan
Coming Home – N J Mackay
Sausage Fingers – Victoria Selman
Just a Game – Rachael Blok
Drowning in Debt – Heather Critchlow
To Evil or Not to Evil – Jo Furniss
Sheep’s Clothing – Robert Scragg
Frantic – Clare Empson
Planting Nan – James Delargy
Shadow – Kate Simants

All author royalties from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Samaritans.

Samaritans is a charity working across the UK and Ireland to reduce the number of people who take their own lives and help people who are struggling to cope with how they’re feeling or with life’s challenges. When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.

You can follow Adam via his website and Twitter


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