Blog Tour: Q&A with Sam Hepburn, author of Her Perfect Life.

How far would you go to create the perfect life?

Gracie Dwyer has it all: the handsome husband, the adorable child, the beautiful home and the glittering career. The perfect life.

Her new friend Juliet doesn't exactly fit in. She's a down-on-her luck single parent with no money and not much hope.

So just what is it that draws Gracie and Juliet together? And when the cracks start to appear in Gracie's perfect life, can both of them survive?

Today on Hummingbird Reviews, I'm delighted to be welcoming Sam Hepburn, author of Her Perfect Life, to the blog, to take part in one of my author Q&A sessions for my stop on the blog tour. Without further ado, let's get crackin'!
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? And what's your shoe size?
I'm Sam Hepburn (the Sam is short for Samira) and I was born in London. My dad was from Sudan but I was brought up in London by my English mum. I was a documentary producer at BBC for twenty years and I now write books. I have published two mystery adventures for younger children, two YA thrillers and I've just written my first psychological thriller for adults, Her Perfect Life. Oh yes, and my shoe size is 5 which is lucky as both my daughters are a 6.

When is Her Perfect Life due to be published?
Her Perfect Life is being published on 23rd February by Harper Collins.

What is it about?
It's about two women, Juliet Beecham a down on her luck single mum and Gracie Dwyer, an attractive TV chef who appears to have the perfect life. But perfection is easy to shatter and Juliet wants nothing more than to pick up the pieces.

How do you hope readers will feel while reading it?
Nervous, curious and (I hope!) gripped.

If you were to describe this book in the same way you'd describe the weather, what would you say?
Squally with gathering clouds.

When did you begin writing? What was your first book about?
I began writing in 2010 and my first book Quicksilver was a mystery for children 10+ about three children from three different continents who are brought together by the power of ley lines.

Whether that was a while back or just recently, did you or do you have any goals for you writing?
I want readers to curl up with my books and keep turning those pages.

Which authors inspire you?
There are so many, but I love Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie.

Describe your writing style in three words.
Ooh that's really difficult - maybe pacey, twisted, accessible.

What themes do you usually focus on within your writing? Is it different with each book?
All my books seem to involve loss, yearning and mysteries from the past.

Once you've an idea firmly in place, what's the next step for you?
I go for a long walk with my husband and my dog and talk it through.

Do you have a favourite part of the writing process?
I like doing the final draft when I can draw all the strands together and tighten the twists.

Are there any techniques/methods you use when it comes to plotting?
Scribbling thoughts on the back of shopping lists when I'm in the supermarket.

Have you ever come face to face with writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
Until recently I've only had a relatively short window of writing time between school runs so I haven't had time for writer's block. Now my children are older and I have more time to myself it will be interesting to see what happens.

Where do you find inspiration?
Any and everywhere - books, newspapers, overheard conversations, chats with friends.

What does a typical day in your life look like?
I get up at around 6.00 am and write everyday but we're living in Nairobi for a couple of years so I usually spend a couple of hours in the afternoons working with I Afrika, a charity which rescues street boys. I do fundraising but also spend time with the boys. Some of them are as young as seven and just want someone to give them a cuddle or read them a story. (If any of your readers are interested in hearing more do please contact me via my website

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult?
Describing emotions.

How do you come up with your titles?
I'm terrible at titles and need a lot of help from my editors.

When it comes to creating to your characters, what is the first step you take?
I like to think how they look. Sometimes I clip pictures from magazines and pin them up above my desk.

Have you ever taken a research trip? If so, where did you go and for which book?
I always take research trips if I can because I always stumble across tiny details that enrich the story. Whether that means a trip to the ancient ruins at Meroe in Northern Sudan for my first children's book or a train ride to North London to look at squares of decaying Georgian houses for Her Perfect Life.

Do you set yourself word-count goals?
Yes. 500 a day minimum, but I don't always reach it.

What is your definition of 'success'?
A page, paragraph or sentence that 'works'.

What is your definition of 'happiness'?
Seeing my children happy.

Which do you find hardest? The beginning or the end?
The beginning.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don't give up.

What one piece of advice would you pass on to another writer?
Don't give up.

Tell us an author who is on your auto-buy list.
Harriet Lane.

If you were to write in a new genre, which would you pick and why?
A spy novel because I love the work of writers like Le Carre.

What are you working on at the moment?
A second psychological thriller for adults and a YA novel about blood minerals.

Now for some quick-fire questions:
Tea or coffee? Tea - weak, black Earl Grey.
Summer or winter? Summer.
Bath or shower? Both.
Sweet or savoury? Savoury.
Holiday in the city or in the countryside? Erm... countryside.
Text or call? Call.
Facebook or Twitter? Post Trump I'm glued to both.
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
TV or movies? Movies (but I also love TV).
Wine or beer? Wine (white).
Cats or dogs? Dogs, especially my own.
Chinese or Indian food? Neither.
Pasta or cheese? Cheese.

About the author.

I read modern languages at Cambridge University and, after a brief spell in advertising, I joined the BBC as a general Trainee. I worked as a documentary maker for twenty years, mainly in the Arts Department and was one of the commissioners for the launch of BBC Four. Quicksilver, my first novel for children, was published in 2010. Since then I have published Serpent's Gold - a sequel to Quicksilver, two crime thrillers for teenagers Chasing the Dark and If You Were Me.

Her Perfect Life (Harper Collins 2017) is my first psychological thriller for adults. I live in London with my husband and two younger children but over the next couple of years we'll be spending time in Kenya.

You can find Sam Hepburn on Twitter &
You can purchase your copy of HER PERFECT LIFE on Amazon UK.