I am delighted to be able to share with your a guest post from L K Chapman, as part of the blog tour for her latest book, The Stories She Tells.
There are still a few remaining stops on the tour, here’s where it’s heading next.
When Michael decides to track down ex-girlfriend Rae who disappeared ten years ago while pregnant with his baby, he knows it could change his life forever. His search for her takes unexpected turns as he unearths multiple changes of identity and a childhood she tried to pretend never happened, but nothing could prepare him for what awaits when he finally finds her.
Appearing to be happily married with a brand-new baby daughter, Rae is cagey about what happened to Michael’s child and starts to say alarming things- that her husband is trying to force her to give up her new baby for adoption, that he’s attempting to undermine the bond between her and her child, and deliberately making her doubt her own sanity.
As Michael is drawn in deeper to her disturbing claims he begins to doubt the truth of what she is saying. But is she really making it all up, or is there a shocking and heartbreaking secret at the root of the stories she tells?
A day in the life of Tamsin Quinnell
Tamsin wakes up when her baby daughter Madeline starts to cry. Her husband Paul is still asleep and she reluctantly gets out of bed to make up a bottle for the baby, feeling tired and withdrawn. She wants to have an easy day with Madeline but doesn’t hold up much hope that that will be the case as she finds being a mum very challenging and draining. She always seems to be forgetting things and getting confused, so in the kitchen she concentrates very hard as she measures out scoops of baby formula into the bottle.
Madeline’s room is decorated in soft pinks. There is a pile of clean, folded sheets and baby clothes on top of the chest of drawers. Tamsin sits on a chair in the nursery with the baby on her lap and before long she hears Paul get up and go downstairs to make some coffee. She joins him in the kitchen and he gives her and the baby a slightly odd, sad look that sends a feeling of unease through her, but then he kisses both her and Madeline and everything seems normal again.
Once Paul has gone out to a business meeting and she has spent a fraught hour or so of trying to calm a fussing and crying Madeline, Tamsin has a long bath while the little girl is sleeping. Afterwards she sits down at her mirrored dressing table to carefully apply her makeup, then she spends a while choosing an outfit. She hears the front door open downstairs and her housekeeper calls out a greeting, but Tamsin doesn’t reply straight away, she’s concentrating on getting dressed and styling her hair. She finally says hello to her housekeeper Sally when she feels peckish and goes downstairs to find something to eat. She looks around for a while for some food she fancies and settles on a handful of blueberries, which she eats in a few big mouthfuls, while Sally chatters away cheerfully to her.
Later on, Tamsin goes out for a walk to the farm shop down the road, taking Madeline with her in her pushchair. She spends a long time walking around the shop looking at all the produce, but buys very little and makes her way slowly back to the house again. She feels listless, and is looking forward to Paul coming back home. She opens the fridge to find something to snack on and she sees that Sally has left a dish of pasta bake for them to heat up for their dinner later on. Briefly it feels surreal to her to have nice, home-cooked food in the house but she shakes the feeling away.
When Madeline goes for a nap again, Tamsin pours herself a glass of wine and goes down to her art studio in the garden, taking the baby monitor with her. There is a cosy sofa against the wall in the studio and she sprawls out across it taking sips of wine and looking out of the window, watching the sun across the fields behind the garden. Before long she falls asleep and wakes up when Paul finds her and tells her that Madeline is crying, and Tamsin realises that although she has the baby monitor with her, it hasn’t actually been on.
During the evening Tamsin drinks more wine with Paul and forgets for a while about her struggles caring for Madeline as the pair laugh and talk together. She snuggles close to Paul in bed and tells him that she loves him. He says that he loves her too but that he wishes things weren’t so hard for her, but she has already fallen asleep.
Many thanks to Louise and Emma for inviting me on the tour!
About the Author
Louise Katherine Chapman was born in Somerset, UK, in 1986. She studied psychology at the University of Southampton and has worked as a psychologist creating personality questionnaires for a consultancy company. She has also spent some time volunteering for mental health charity Mind.
Chapman loves to write because she loves learning about people and she loves stories. A major turning point in her life was the day she realised that no matter how strange, cruel or unfathomable the actions of other people can sometimes be, there is always a reason for it, some sequence of events to be unravelled. Since then she is always asking “why” and “what if” and she is fascinated by real life stories capturing the strength, peculiarities or extremes of human nature.
L K Chapman’s first novel, Networked, was a sci-fi thriller but now she’s turned her attention to writing psychological suspense. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and young family, and enjoys walks in the woods, video games, and spending time with family and friends.
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