obsession cover

Perfect for fans of B A Paris and Paula Hawkins, Obsession is a dark, twisting thriller about how quickly our lives can fall apart when we act on our desires. Here the book’s author Amanda Robson discusses how travelling around the world influences her writing.

I love writing. I write most days. Whether I am sitting in a murky hotel on the outskirts of Manchester, or resplendent on a balcony overlooking the Caribbean sea, writing takes me to another world. I live each scene as I write, temporarily transported somewhere else- anywhere I want to go. This is my way of relaxing. To step away from real life to the life in my head.

But the world that surrounds me slowly infiltrates my being, wherever I am.

Recently I was visiting the Cayman Islands. Whilst there, I spent some time in the bedroom of our condo, writing about my home town, Twickenham. Twickenham in the sun, surrounded by the relaxing warmth of Tortuga. The feel of sand between my toes. Sea caressing my skin like silk. The hiss of waves breaking across the beach. People so courteous, so welcoming.

No double-decker buses chugging up the High Street. Grand Cayman. Party Island. A stranger, sucked in, made to feel special.

A guest at a party that was not a party but a way of life. I left the island and the party behind. But not the moment. Not the party feeling. Nothing mattered except the moment. I will not forget the sugar pink sunsets that burst to orange, and disappeared as I blinked. The palm trees, so exotic, so biblical. The green iguana that ran across my feet. Blackbirds so streamlined, so feminine, with feathers that do not seem like feathers but ball gowns of taffeta. Strutting their stuff. Shaking their tail feathers. How can blackbirds be so beautiful?

Cayman came back with me to Twickenham. It bubbles inside my head, waiting to surface on demand. That’s what we all do isn’t it, carry our memories everywhere?

I am writing this piece in a ski resort in the Alps; Lech Austria, in the kitchen of our apartment. A snowstorm is developing outside, so it is a pleasure to be down the mountain. Let me tell you about Lech. It is breathtakingly beautiful. A cascade of geological sharpness, softened by a blanket of snow. Beauty so intense it intimidates. A tree line of stiff firs, dusted by snow, village nestled below. Chalets, church spires, a plethora of wood panelled restaurants.

Outdoor bars with heaters and sheep skin rugs. Après ski. Music pumping. Swaying throngs of ruddy-faced skiers drinking too much. Everybody having fun.

So here I am, writing about where I am. That makes a change. But I just want to say that while I am here, I can go anywhere in my mind. And that I will keep this place in my mind forever and take it away.

After graduating, Amanda Robson worked in medical research at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at the Poisons Unit at Guy’s Hospital where she became a co-author of a book on cyanide poisoning – and this book makes terrifying use of poison throughout… Amanda attended the Faber novel writing course and writes full-time. Obsession is her debut novel.

Obsession is published in May 2017.