Q&A: Natalie Simmonds on Her Debut Thriller GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST

Q&A: Natalie Simmonds on Her Debut Thriller GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST

Give me your elevator pitch for GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST.

The elevator pitch for GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST was actually: “FALLING DOWN meets PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN: Set against the mounting tension of a London heatwave, one woman must fight her way through the city to catch her flight back home while a serial killer stalks the streets.”

It was this precise line that bought me an agent Amanda Preston in three days, a e-book cope with Headline Books in three weeks, and a subsequent TV deal. I’m an enormous believer in considering commercially as a author — why go to the difficulty of spending a very very long time writing a narrative that received’t promote? In reality, I train this very factor at London’s Raindance Film School.

The Bookseller

Where are you within the editorial course of?

We’re completed with modifying already. I used to be signed final April [2022], and I did my structural and replica edits from May till October. I’m very quick, so we went forwards and backwards a couple of instances, and we have been more-or-less carried out by Christmas. This was necessary to me as now we’re sending out the proofs of the e-book in order that reviewers, press and e-book bloggers can learn it — and I wish to suppose the e-book is in good condition. If anybody spots any errors or typos at this stage, we nonetheless have time to alter, however all the massive stuff is finished.

Has your cowl been finalized but?

Not but. The proofs of GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST went out with a vibrant pink, eye-catching cowl that has nothing to do with the ultimate one. This is the half I’ve been most enthusiastic about as I come from a advertising and marketing background, and I had a really clear imaginative and prescient of how I needed it to look.

I’m very fortunate as a result of my editor Toby Jones at my writer, Headline, has been so collaborative, and the crew have requested me to ship over temper board and concepts. Caroline Young, the designer behind the quilt of Bella Mackie’s HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY is designing mine so I do know it’s going to be nice!

Image courtesy of Headline Books and Simmonds

Last month you gave me the elevator pitch for GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST…however I’m curious the place the thought originated and the way you developed it from there.

Twitter performs an enormous half in GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST, and it additionally performed an enormous half in its creation. On March third 2021, Sarah Everard, a London lady strolling house from her boyfriend’s home, was brutally raped and murdered by a MET police officer. Ten days later, a peaceable vigil for her in South London resulted in additional police brutality. Women in all places have been indignant and scared — however, most unhappy of all, not shocked.

In July 2021, I used to be nonetheless considering of those terrible occasions when somebody on Twitter stated, “It’s about time someone wrote a feminist FALLING DOWN” — referencing the 1993 film the place, Michael Douglas, making an attempt to cross LA throughout an LA heatwave, lastly snaps. Without considering, I replied, “I am going to write the book.” I began to plot it when on September seventeenth [of that same year], one other London lady, Sabina Nessa, was murdered in yet one more London park. That’s once I knew GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST needed to be written.

I poured all my concern, anger, and forty-two 12 months’s value of frustration of being a girl in London into my first thriller, and it was the quickest novel I’ve ever written. I didn’t must do any analysis as a result of every part in that e-book, in a method or one other, has occurred to me or buddies or feminine family members. I knew it was a e-book that needed to be written, and judging from the responses it bought, I wasn’t alone.

Tell me one thing thrilling that’s occurred since final month.

The cowl has been revealed and the e-book has gone up on NetGalley for reviewers! I used to be nervous to see the quilt for the primary time as I’ve had points with how previous publishers have designed covers. I come from a advertising and marketing background, so I had a really clear imaginative and prescient of how the e-book ought to look.

I labored carefully with the editor and designer [in this case] — not one thing each author has the prospect to do — sharing my temper boards and discussing comparative books. So, I used to be over the moon when my editor despatched me it for the primary time and it was so good. The solely adjustments I made have been making it extra hot-looking because the e-book is about throughout a heatwave. The again of the e-book is ideal, too, and we’re starting to get some nice writer blurbs.

Image courtesy of Headline Books and Simmonds

What are you most apprehensive about going flawed at this level?

I’m scared that the e-book received’t get the eye I want it to get with the intention to have my second e-book signed by my wonderful editor — who I wish to preserve working with. People overlook that publishing is a enterprise, and in case your books don’t do properly you then’re much less more likely to make a dwelling kind it. But saying that, Headline and their editorial and promo groups are wonderful — so I’ll preserve my fingers crossed that it makes it into all of the bookshops.

Tell me about GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST’s protagonist, Em — why did you’re feeling compelled to inform her story?

Em’s story is my story, my readers’ story, a narrative previous as time. As the daughter of a Spanish immigrant who moved to the UK aged seven, I do know what it’s wish to by no means really really feel such as you belong. And as a girl, one who has skilled loads of her personal Me Too tales, recounting the realities and on a regular basis sexism ladies are nonetheless going through at the moment was not an excessive amount of of a stretch.

The rage ladies really feel on a every day foundation is usually bottled up, and in Em’s case, she realized from a younger age that it’s safer to be “good” than to talk out. Then, on this in the future that will get steadily worse and worse, she lastly snaps — besides what she does creates waves that can change the course of historical past.

Can you distinction the expertise of publishing GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST along with your earlier books?

Although GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST is my thriller debut, this isn’t my first rodeo.

Previous to writing thrillers, I wrote fantasy novels, however I wasn’t agented. The whole journey till now has been tumultuous, to say the least, however an excellent studying expertise. THE PATH KEEPER, the primary novel I ever wrote and the primary of a trilogy, was first signed within the UK by Accent Press on a 3 e-book deal, and got here out 2017 as YA fantasy. Six months after its launch, the imprint went beneath. It took me 9 months to discover a small writer within the US who was completely satisfied to re-release the primary e-book and to publish the remaining two — [this time] as grownup fantasy romance. Although I used to be grateful that the books seemed nice and my readers bought to complete the collection, that hit-and-miss expertise was nothing just like the one I’ve had with GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST.

Since getting an agent in January 2022, my life as an writer has fully modified. Amanda bought me an excellent cope with high publishers, Headline, and I obtained my first-ever advance. Working with Headline has been a dream — they’re skilled, pro-active and so enthusiastic. Likewise, Amanda works with a US agent, a overseas rights agent, and a TV & Film agent, all who’ve labored tirelessly to get GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST out into the world.

The stage of help I obtain now can’t examine to small presses, unagented offers, or self-publishing. All three are fully totally different and I do know, transferring ahead, I shall be cautious about printing any future books with a small press once more.

What are you most enthusiastic about at this level apart from Publication Day?

I’m over the moon that I’ve lastly been in a position to announce that GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST is being made right into a TV collection!

Back in October, the e-book was showcased at Frankfurt Book Fair, and three TV scouts have been studying it. Then a month later, I found that STV needed to choice the e-book. It was introduced this month and the response has been phenomenal. I’m so excited to be working with this extremely proficient, all-female crew. As Executive Producer, I shall be working carefully with them and the author to get this story on our screens. I can’t wait.


I’m an enormous proponent of scaring the shit out of myself once I got down to write one thing — the problem must be as thrilling as the thought. What scared you about GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST?

I agree. If a e-book doesn’t overwhelm you, you then’re not being challenged, which suggests you’re not writing something that’s going to make a distinction.

The drawback with many thrillers is that they are often fairly primary and one-dimensional, and that’s not what I’m about. I don’t wish to be merely plot-driven, I wish to problem readers and drive them to suppose. There’s nothing predictable or formulaic about my books, whether or not fantasy or thrillers. In reality, I’m proud that few individuals guess the ending or plot twists. I’m very completely satisfied once I see opinions saying GOOD GILRS DIE LAST is “more than a thriller” as a result of my largest problem was addressing so many truly huge themes — immigration, sexism, feminine security, household dynamics, self-acceptance — in a method that didn’t alienate anybody.

My largest concern was males studying my e-book and discovering it man-hating, which was the very last thing I needed when writing about feminine security and concern. So I used to be scared about not getting the correct stability. But I needn’t have been, as a result of the one male editor my agent despatched it to was the one who signed it, and he loves it — as produce other males who’ve learn it!

What will you be doing to advertise the novel, each as a part of Headline’s promotional technique and for your self?

Headline could be very proactive and is launching a Facebook advert marketing campaign for Kindle and audio [out May 1st] and have been speaking to the press for the hardback launch on June twenty second. They’ve additionally deliberate a lot of on-line occasions and interviews for me, and to complement that I’m planning on doing a couple of podcasts and appearances myself. I’ve a wholesome social media following, so, as all the time, I shall be busy there, too.

There are thirty days to go till launch. I discover this a time of nice anxiousness since you start to second-guess every part and panic over foolish issues. Where is your head proper now?

I’m not panicking. This isn’t my first e-book launch, so I’m being extremely lifelike about all of it.

Back in 2019, when my fantasy debut re-launched — after the primary imprint went beneath two years earlier — I used to be in an enormous mess. In reality, I used to be struggling to regulate the uncontrollable and was so satisfied that this could be my huge “make or break” second that I gave myself burnout. I used to be so unwell — my face and arms have been going numb and I couldn’t breath correctly — I ended up going to a physician satisfied it was one thing life-threatening. I had no concept stress might try this to an individual.

After twelve weeks of cognitive remedy and studying Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC, I reframed my whole method to my writing profession, and it led to a number of the finest inventive experiences of my life. So now, two weeks earlier than the digital launch of my first thriller, I’m truly fairly calm. I’m busy, there’s rather a lot to plan and some promo issues I’m doing, however I’m additionally remaining pragmatic.

I now know that no e-book can outline a complete profession and that authors can’t management gross sales numbers. I additionally know I’ve failed many instances and nonetheless succeeded. That realization has taken loads of strain off me. I’ve carried out all I can do, so I’m doing my finest to benefit from the highs — equivalent to assembly with the TV studio for the difference of the e-book — and never worrying concerning the lows. It’s only a e-book, in any case. It’s not life and loss of life!

Congratulations! Tell me the way it feels, after all of the work that’s gone into GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST, to understand it’s going out into the world at the moment and can not simply be yours.

It appears like each an enormous aid and slightly scary. I’m very excited to lastly have this e-book out on the planet, but additionally really feel a little bit of trepidation as to how it will likely be obtained. It’s a really uncooked and confronting e-book, so I’m certain it received’t be everybody’s cup of tea. It’s additionally good to get to focus on the following e-book now.

It’s too simple, as an writer, to really feel like all of the promo you do strikes the needle when it comes to gross sales and a e-book’s success, however the reality is that writing the perfect e-book you may is so far as your management goes. The relaxation is right down to your writer’s funds, booksellers, press, and slightly little bit of luck. That lack of management generally is a onerous factor for somebody like me to get used to, however likewise, it additionally means I can chill out and get working on the following e-book.

What did you do to rejoice?

Not an enormous quantity as that is simply the digital e-book launch — e-book and audio — so I stored it easy. I had a facial and obtained stunning flowers from a pal and my editor, and I spent the day consuming chocolate and speaking concerning the e-book on-line.

But the hardback is out June twenty second, and that launch goes to be a a lot larger deal as a result of it means I’ll lastly get to carry my e-book and see it in bookstores. For that, I’ve deliberate a lot of occasions together with some UK e-book signings and a celebratory e-book launch celebration for all my writer buddies and people within the business.

Are you already working on your subsequent e-book?

Yes, my subsequent thriller is already with my agent and hoping to promote that to a writer quickly — fingers crossed. Like GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST, this one additionally facilities on points ladies face — however with homicide, after all.

GOOD GIRLS DIE LAST is out on e-book and audio now; its hardback will seem in bookstores and on-line on June twenty second. You can be taught extra at Natali’s website or discover Natali on Twitter.

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