Sam Blake on Remember My Name

It All Started With A Phone Call…

‘If she’d turned off her phone, instead of listening in, perhaps no one would have died..’

Remember My Name started life when someone called me and didn’t hang up properly – it’s happened to us all, both making and receiving calls, and it started me thinking about what might be overheard in those crucial few seconds…

For Cressida Howard’s husband, Laurence, it’s a conversation with a woman that he really didn’t want his wife to listen in to, and it starts off a chain of events that end in murder.

For me, story ideas always start at two or three separate points, ‘light bulb’ moments that converge to form a whole. After a chance conversation with my agent Simon Trewin about how much some major retailers know about our shopping habits, and what our online purchases could reveal about us to the wrong people, I began to wonder who could get hold of that information and how they might use it.

And then things began to get interesting…

Remember My Name is a standalone thriller, like Keep Your Eyes on Me and The Dark Room, and like those books, it’s part of the Sam Blake world, so regular readers will recognise details like hotels, brands, and minor characters – reinforcing, I hope, the sense that they are stepping inside the ‘real’ world of the story. I find new readers with every book and it’s vital that every story works on its own, but for anyone who picks up another Sam Blake, those ‘easter egg’ moments are waiting.

Brioni O’Brien was a character I loved writing in High Pressure (released as a digital exclusive), and as a cyber expert, I knew she was the woman Cressida Howard needed to investigate her husband, Laurence’s, activities. I got onto the Tube in London one day to find myself sitting near a girl wearing a black leather jacket whose hair was neon pink and shaved up both sides, in a double undercut. I had a literal lightbulb moment, and she stepped into a story that was inspired by pop star Ollie Murrs’ tweet about hearing gun shots in Selfridges.  I love a twisty plot, but to me, character is king. I want readers to put my books down feeling they know the characters personally, just like I do.

When we meet Brioni in Remember My Name, it’s several years after High Pressure and she’s at a completely different point in her life. But what Brioni and Cressida discover in Remember My Name is far more complicated and dangerous than Laurence ‘just’ having an affair, because he’s got into bed with some very dangerous people. And Laurence’s biggest mistake is underestimating the women in his life.

Sam Blake herself is a character from the imagination of Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin who is the founder of the multi award winning writing resources website Writing.ieThe Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and is the founder of Murder One, Ireland’s International Crime Writing Festival.  Vanessa is a board member of the Society of Authors, led by Chair Joanne Harris, the UK based trade union that campaigns and lobbies at government level on issues that affect authors. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) – noteable past fellows include Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Nelson Mandela, David Attenborough, William Hogarth and Tim Berners-Lee. A past chair of Irish PEN, she is the convenor of the Irish Chapter of the Crime Writers Association.

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