AJ (Alison) Waines is a hugely successful author, she has sold over 450,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in two consecutive years with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train.
Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Hungary and USA (audiobooks).
Her fourth psychological thriller, No Longer Safe, sold over 30,000 copies in the first month, in thirteen countries.
Her most recent book is Don’t You Dare, a thriller that explores the dark side of a mother-daughter relationship when pushed to the limit.
About Don’t you Dare.
When barmaid, Rachel, discovers her soon-to-be-married daughter, Beth, pinned down by a stranger in the pub cellar, Rachel lashes out in panic and the intruder ends up dead. In desperation, Rachel convinces Beth they should cover up the crime and go ahead with the planned wedding in one month’s time.
But Rachel has her own reasons for not involving the police.
Hiding their dreadful secret is harder than they both imagined and, as the big day approaches and the lies multiply, Beth becomes a liability. Rachel looks on in dismay at the hen party when, after too many drinks, Beth declares she’s about to make a special announcement. But before Beth can say a word, she disappears…
When two people share a chilling secret, can both hold their nerve?
Some questions…Tell me about your family.
A. My family is now very small. I never wanted children myself and coming from generations of very small families, I have only a sister and a distant cousin left! That is my extended family! I do have a brilliant husband and his family and a terrific circle of inspiring and supportive friends, though!
Q. Where were you born?
A. I was born in Middlesbrough, North East England, but left at 18 and have gradually worked my way south (not intentionally) through college, university and jobs. I lived in London for 15 years, where I had a private practice in psychotherapy, before I became a writer.
Q. Where do you live now?
A. A village in Hampshire called Hamble-le-Rice. I love Hampshire – I’ve been here for 15 years, now.
Q. Tell me what you like most about your home.
A. It’s five minutes from the water (see pic below). There is a beautiful marina here, with the river on one side and part of the English Channel (Southampton Water) on the other.
I love the house, because it’s so quiet and there’s a beautiful garden, not overlooked, where we’ve just installed an arbour for reading and a fountain for lazy Sunday afternoons just sitting, watching the birds.
Q. Earliest childhood memory?
A. Falling out of a car window when I was two. The car wasn’t moving at the time, thankfully, but I landed on the tarmac with a thud, nevertheless. I’d been playing around with the window winder. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s an actual memory or whether I just recall my parents telling me about it.
Q. Favourite film?
A. It changes, but at the moment, it’s the spell-binding Phantom Thread. I saw it twice in one week and loved it. Every word seemed so carefully chosen, with subtle and meaningful visual and aural detail, great music, powerful script, and so many ‘threads’. Superb.
Q. Favourite writer?
A. Belinda Bauer. Her writing is quirky, poignant and macabre with a brilliant injection of humour. How can anyone combine those elements and make it work? Belinda cracks it every time. Rubbernecker is probably my favourite. There are many threads to this story that interweave in a complex, refreshing and fascinating way, taking psychological thrillers to a new level. The author also manages to address issues such as communication, isolation, the assumptions we make about coma victims and empathy in a chilling page-turner. An absolute must-read!
Q. What was the last book you read?
A. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time.
Themes of loneliness, alienation and the struggle to fit in – we’ve all experienced these to some extent – form the humanitarian reach of the book. It’s Eleanor’s view of the world, however, that is not only refreshing, but funny and heart-breaking.
Q. How many hours a day do you spend on your phone?
A. Ha! About two minutes maximum. I don’t use a mobile unless I’m out meeting someone. I’m usually at my favourite place all day – my desk – so I use a landline. I do use social media on the PC though. And I skype.
Q. Star Wars or Star Trek?
A. Definitely Star Trek. When I was a psychotherapist, friends used to call me Counsellor Troy! It certainly wasn’t for the similarity in looks or the outfit, however.
Q. What’s in your bag right now?
A. Hardly anything. Purse, lip-balm, chewing gum, paper tissues. No phone (see above!). An iPod Shuffle if I’m going on a train. I always have several pens and a notebook. That’s all. I also have a different notebook in every room of the house, so I can trap ideas for books like butterflies, before they disappear!
Q. Favourite meal?
A. Anything with garlic bread. I’m very lucky as my husband is a brilliant cook and makes all our meals. I’m basically not allowed in the kitchen and it suits me fine.
Q. What don’t we know about you?
A. I can recite Pi to 16 decimal places and I learnt to do the splits aged 12, and can still do them. The photo below is proof!
To pre-order copies of Don’t You Dare: