This week we’re thrilled to welcome to the Ball Fran Dorricott, author of the debut psychological thriller After the Eclipse!
Fran Dorricott is an author based in Derby, where she lives with her family, a cat, and three dogs (one of whom weighs more than she does). In 2013 she completed a degree in American Literature with Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, and from there went on to do an MA in Creative Writing, specialising in crime fiction, at City University London. In 2017 she graduated with a distinction.
Fran is also a bookseller working in the Derby branch of Waterstones, which is secretly just a way for her to fuel her ridiculous book-buying addiction. The opportunity to draw inspiration from the many wonderful and whacky customer requests is also a plus.
You can find Fran online at:
After the Eclipse is a page-turning thriller about love and grief and the people broken by both. At its heart is a romance between two women, rendered with both realism and care. Scaffolded carefully around that heart is a mystery that leaves you on your toes until the very end.
Read on to the end of our interview so you can find out how to win a copy of this fantastic, sapphic psychological thriller!
1. Let’s start off with a good one that I swear I’m not going to use this against you but: do you have any phobias?
I don’t have any phobias as such – I’m not scared of the usual spiders or water or tight spaces. But I do think that one of my biggest fears is something that seems to permeate a lot of what I write, and that’s losing my sister. Growing up with divorced parents I spent a lot of time looking out for her, especially considering she was six years younger than me, and I used to have these horrible, vivid nightmares where she would get hurt or lost and it drove me round the bend! So although it’s not a phobia, it is my greatest fear.
Also, I’m not a fan of fish. They freak me out (to a ridiculous degree)…
2. What’s your secret or not-so-secret super power?
My superpower, which is definitely not a secret, is my ability to sniff out DOGS within a three-mile radius. I have this extra sense for them, and I cannot help myself, I must stop and pet every. single. one!! It’s definitely a superpower because who doesn’t need more dogs in their lives??
3. Tell us a secret about Cassie, the main character of After the Eclipse — something that’s not even in your book.
Cassie really hates conflict, so she would hate me admitting this, but she is a pineapple on pizza kinda gal. She’s embarrassed about it though, and won’t tell anybody, not even Marion. (I wrote a very fun scene once where Marion found out and teased her mercilessly – Marion is NOT a pineapple on pizza kinda gal – but sadly it didn’t make the final cut).
4. After the Eclipse has a number of scenes that felt really raw, emotionally – Cassie’s relationship with her gran, with Marion, her problematic coping mechanisms, and her guilt especially. Was any of that drawn from a personal well and if not, how did you manage to capture those emotions on page?
I’ve actually been super fortunate in my life so far, so a lot of the issues I’ve portrayed in After the Eclipse haven’t affected me personally. But it was so important to me to capture Cassie’s humanity, and especially her relationships with her family and Marion after such a tragedy, that I spent a very long time researching and making sure I got the emotional register of the book just right. For example, I was worried about portraying Cassie’s relationship with her Gran accurately, as her gran has dementia, so I interviewed lots of people and researched as thoroughly as I could to get the most accurate picture possible, while still demonstrating that Cassie has a long way to go in learning to care for her gran.
Primarily I set out to write a crime novel where the victim is not forgotten – and I feel like Olive’s presence in the book definitely means that it’s perhaps more raw than it would have been without her. And I didn’t want to flinch away from that – the plot centres around a terrible, unforgivable thing, and I needed to portray that as openly and sensitively as possible, so I made sure to tread carefully around the difficulties the characters have without shying away from them. I did draw on some of my own experiences in the way that Cassie’s guilt about not being protecting her sister affects her, using my relationship with my own sister, but ultimately Cassie is a fundamentally different person to me and Marion plays a key role in soothing her; Marion is the water to Cassie’s fire.
5. And last: tell us about one thing that’s making you happy right now!
As anybody who is following me on Twitter knows, I’m currently absolutely obsessed with the TV show Gentleman Jack. And I just this second realised I have another episode to watch when I get home tonight, so I’m living. A period-drama TV show with wlw rep that I can watch in the mainstream? YES PLEASE. Plus the acting and music are just wonderful. I want to share this joy with all of you!
GIVEAWAY TIME! Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter and SHARE the interview for a chance to win AFTER THE ECLIPSE! For extra entries, comment on this post. We’ll choose and contact the winner shortly afterwards.
Two solar eclipses. Two missing girls.
August 1999: Olive Warren is abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse. Her older sister was supposed to be watching her. Olive is never seen again.
March 2015: In desperate need of a fresh start, journalist Cassie Warren moves back to the small Derbyshire town of Bishop’s Green to live with her ailing grandmother. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big solar eclipse, Cassie suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister – that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.
“A well-plotted and tense thriller with very human characters and a multitude of twists; a must-read for mystery and thriller lovers!” – the Crime Review