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Lucy Clarke: On the Power of Creativity

Novelist Lucy Clarke discusses how a marathon of writing led to a first draft in just 17 days for her new psychological thriller, One of the Girls.

Lucy Clarke is the author of six psychological thrillers. Her debut novel was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, and her books have been sold in over 20 territories. Her most recent novel, The Castaways, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Lucy lives by the sea with her husband and two children. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Lucy Clarke: On the Power of Creativity

Lucy Clarke

In this post, Lucy discusses how a marathon of writing led to a first draft in just 17 days for her new psychological thriller, One of the Girls, the power of creativity, and more!

Name: Lucy Clarke
Literary agent: Fletcher and Co
Book title: One of the Girls
Publisher: Putnam Books
Release date: June 26, 2022
Genre/category: Psychological thriller
Previous titles: Swimming at Night, A Single Breath, The Blue
Elevator pitch:A group of friends hire a remote cliff-top villa on a picturesque Greek island to celebrate Lexi’s upcoming wedding. The long weekend begins with sun-scorched days and midnight swims—but ends in murder.

Lucy Clarke: On the Power of Creativity

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What prompted you to write this book?

I wanted to set a book on a hen weekend (bachelorette party) because I was intrigued by the intensity of the setting. On a hen weekend, you leave behind your everyday life and are thrown together with a group of people—some of whom are strangers—in an intimate setting, and are instructed to “have fun!” But what if fun isn’t all you get?

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

I began One of the Girls in spring 2020, as we went into our first lockdown in the U.K. The world felt chaotic and scary, and my head was spinning, so I decided to switch off the news, take a break from social media, and instead spend time in a world that I did want to inhabit: a Greek island with a group of girlfriends.

I only spent two days planning the book—and then I began writing. The words came fast and fluid—this was proper butterflies-in-the-stomach writing—and in just 17 days, I finished a 71,000-word free-flow draft. The writing was raw, and the plot rutted, but by the end I knew I had the shape of something exciting.

Several more drafts followed, but I will always remember that first as a standout moment in my writing life—a testament to the sheer transportive joy that a spell of intense creativity can bring.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

The publishing industry is constantly evolving and shifting to reflect the way we consume stories. My publishing teams at Putnam in the U.S., and at HarperCollins in the U.K., are comprised of smart, passionate, and hugely likeable people, and there is so much I am learning from them.

One of the things that continually surprises me is just how far in advance the build up to publication begins, with ARCs, endorsements, reviews, blogs, marketing, and publicity. I love buckling in for that journey and watching how the momentum for a book builds and builds.

Lucy Clarke: On the Power of Creativity

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

The speed of the first draft was a complete surprise. I have always plotted and planned my novels, spending anywhere between a few weeks to a few months on the early stages. With One of the Girls, I simply invited each of the protagonists onto the page and let them tell their story, so the plot grew organically out of character. This is my seventh novel and I love that writing process still has the power to completely surprise me.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope readers will be transported to the sun-drenched shores of a Greek island and be taken on a thrill ride with a group of women who they’ll be cheering for by the final pages.

If you could share one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?

Write about something you’re passionate about. That passion will shine through every page.

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