Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. That imagination led to her writing 28 novels which have sold more than 10 million copies.
She has been my guest on BBC Radio Devon on many occasions and always brings a new book with a new tale of intrigue and murder. Her latest escape into the murky world is no exception and has just been published; it is simply called ‘Liar’.
“Liar is the story of Amelia White who is working for a local newspaper.
“She wants to be a reporter but has to sell advertising space.
“Then she happens to find a pair of boots on a pile of rubbish, it’s the 1970s and the strikes of the time have meant that the rubbish is building up.
“Tugging at the boots she finds that they are attached to legs. The body of a young girl is uncovered and because she was on the spot, the editor of the paper suggests that she goes to talk to the family.
“She writes about them and that situation soon leads her to discover that she might be in danger herself... and that is as much as I am willing to tell you.”
YOU BASED THIS STORY IN WEST LONDON?
“Yes, I used to live there.
“Fifty years ago I remember saying to my ‘then’ husband that you could dump a body in the rubbish and no-one would find it until it was cleared.
“It’s funny what sticks with you, that idea came to me again and thus the story unfolded. It’s funny what haunts you?”
WHAT DOES HAUNT YOU, DO YOU EVER REGRET WRITING SOMETHING OR WANTING TO CHANGE THINGS IN YOUR BOOKS?
“No... I never read them again after publishing. I never go back, it’s like going back to an old love, and it’s never worth it.
“Returning to an old love you soon discover that it is as rubbish as it was the first time.
“Just remember things with a rosy glow.
“However, I did with my very first book want to write a sequel but the heroine had a really dull boyfriend. I was going to killed him off by walking into the propellers of a plane but people said that was bit blood thirsty… I didn’t do it.”
DO YOU EVER USE TORBAY AS A BACKDROP IN YOUR BOOKS?
“Yes, Dead to Me was set here and You’ll Never See Me Again was based around Hallsands.
“My imagination went into overdrive when I visited the destroyed village on the coast.
“It must have been horrifying when the sea swamped the buildings and for the people who lived there.
“Mind you, I lost my own house in Babbacombe Bay due to the land slipping away but I have a lovely house now on a nice flat piece of land.
“By the way, You’ll Never See me Again touched on Spanish Flu and when this virus cropped up, it was an all too familiar situation.”
YOU NEVER SEEM TO STOP WORKING?
“I have got three children and grandchildren to look after, I need to work.
“I ‘should’ have been hard at it but I have been gardening, binge watching television series, clearing out cupboards... I should have been writing but no.
“Then I go out for a walk with the dog or listen to audio books... I love audio books. In fact, they have sent me a suggestion of listening to a Lesley Pearce novel. I didn’t bother!”
WHAT DOES LIVING HERE MEAN TO YOU?
“I gradually worked my way west. I became a convert very quickly. I got to know lots of lovely people.
“I walk along to sea every morning and I never get fed up with it. Whether its really wild or incredibly hot, Devon really is the perfect place.”
• ‘Liar’ is out now published by Penguin Michael Joseph.