Tonight I am having celebratory drinks with the first short-listed nominee in the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers for her novel, A Mother’s Lie. It is author… Leah Mercer.
Leah, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
I’m drinking something with a lot of tequila so I can pretend I’m on holiday! Maybe a lime margarita with one of those paper umbrellas. Yum.
If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
I’d take you to a great place on High Street Kensington called Balans, where they have a happy hour and delicious cocktails.
If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
I’d love a drink with Margaret Atwood, because she’s a fellow Canadian and I think she’d have lots to say on every topic imaginable! Plus I’d invite along Chris Whitty, because I have a secret crush on him and I’d like to see what he’s like when he cuts loose.
So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
I’m just now fleshing out ideas for my next book. I love this stage, because there is always so much potential and excitement before you get bogged down in the reality of trying to get your characters to behave!
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
I think reaching the top ten on both Amazon.com and Amazon UK with Who We Were Before, my first Leah Mercer novel, was my proudest moment. The biggest challenge has been to just keep going, despite the self-doubt and obstacles. I knew it would be difficult to get published, but I never realized how hard it can be to stay published.
Zoe knows that it wasn’t really her fault. Of course it wasn’t. But if she’d just grasped harder, run faster, lunged quicker, she might have saved him. And Edward doesn’t really blame her, though his bitter words at the time still haunt her, and he can no more take them back than she can halt the car that killed their son.
Two years on, every day is a tragedy. Edward knows they should take healing steps together, but he’s tired of being shut out. For Zoe, it just seems easier to let grief lead the way.
A weekend in Paris might be their last hope for reconciliation, but mischance sees them separated before they’ve even left Gare du Nord. Lost and alone, Edward and Zoe must try to find their way back to each other—and find their way back to the people they were before. But is that even possible?
What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!
What novelist doesn’t want to reach the New York Times or the Sunday Times bestseller list? Yes, please!
What do have planned that you are really excited about?
For the first time since March 2020, we are going to see our family soon! We’re off to Egypt over Easter and then to Canada this summer. I can’t wait.
I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
Ooh, that’s a great question! I have so many favourite places, but top of the list has to be Nova Scotia, Canada, where I grew up. It’s so beautiful – the beaches are pristine. At the top of my bucket list would have to be St Petersburg in Russia.
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.
I used to have running records back in my home country. I’m pretty sure they’ve all been broken now!
Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
My mind goes blank when people ask me this! I do love The Time Traveller’s Wife. It always makes me sob!
This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future.
In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
A big glass of water and lots of ibuprofen!
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
Probably sleeping, as my liver is not up to what it used to be.
Leah, thanks for chatting with me this evening and good luck in the awards.
Leah’s short-listed novel, A Mother’s Lie, is available now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.
My darling child… I can already feel your tiny fingers gripping mine; smell your soft hair. But how do I keep you safe?
Heartbroken and alone, Ali arrives at her grandmother’s old house on the beach. Perhaps here, she can escape her past, and make a home for her unborn child. Greeted by the familiar scent of roses and the sounds of the waves, Ali feels instantly safe.
The couple next door, Michael and Meg, welcome Ali into their seemingly perfect world with their glamorous home and beautiful baby. Ali feels an instant connection and knows she has made the right choice for herself and her baby.
But Meg is holding onto a dark secret. As a powerful bond grows between the two women, Michael leaves suddenly for a work trip, and Meg becomes impulsive – unpredictable.
As Meg’s behaviour becomes ever more erratic, Michael shows no signs of returning, and Ali begins to worry. Are she and her unborn child safe? And what about her own devastating secret… the one she ran from?
Leah’s latest book, Why She Left, is also available now here.
Fifteen years ago, her daughter vanished. Now, she’s back.
Ruth has spent every day of the last fifteen years grieving for her daughter Isobel who left the family home as a teenager and completely disappeared. Walking around the school to which she has given her life, every child she sees reminds her of her daughter’s bright future and of a happy family destroyed in an instant.
So when Ruth opens the door to find Isobel and a grandson she never knew existed, she feels a rush of joy. Isobel tells her that they need a safe place to stay whilst she gets back on her feet. Having lost her daughter once, Ruth is determined to keep her family together and enrols her grandson at the school, in the hope that they stay for good.
But as mother and daughter begin to heal the wounds of the past, a violent attack brings old secrets to the surface once more. It is clear that someone is prepared to destroy everything Ruth holds dear. Can Isobel confront her darkest secret before it is too late?
Leah Mercer was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. Her first ambition was to be a journalist, but after completing a master’s in journalism, she soon realized she preferred anything other than reporting the news. After trying her hand at public relations, teaching and recruitment in various countries around the world, she finally settled in London and returned to writing… fiction, this time. Her first two novels, Who We Were Before and The Man I Thought You Were, were shortlisted at the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards. Leah loves books, running, and visiting historic houses with her husband and their son.
Connect with Leah:
Facebook: Leah Mercer