Skegness is inspiration behind plot of latest book by international bestseller

A former Skegness Standard reporter who has become an international bestseller has just published her sixth book with rave reviews.
Author Barbara Copperthwaite.Author Barbara Copperthwaite.
Author Barbara Copperthwaite.

'Superb - one hell of a rollercoaster ride' is one of the comments about .'The Girl in the Missing Poster' - and its the perfect description as the setting is inspired by her time in Skegness.

Ahead of World Book Day which is tomorrow (Thursday), we spoke to author Barbara Copperthwaite about the book and her time in Skegness as a young trainee reporter in the 90s

She says her journey to becoming an international bestselling author of psychological thrillers has been a 'long and twisty one'.

The Girl in the Missing Poster' is Barbara Copperthwaite's sixth book.The Girl in the Missing Poster' is Barbara Copperthwaite's sixth book.
The Girl in the Missing Poster' is Barbara Copperthwaite's sixth book.

'The Girl in the Missing Poster' is her sixth book and the story unfolds when dog behaviourist Stella Hawkins takes part in a Netflix documentary

to throw light on her twin sister's disappearance 25 years ago in the hope of finding answers.

What she gets is new information, fresh danger - and messages from the killer, offering to tell her everything…in exchange for something only she

can give. Can Stella find the truth before she has to pay with her life?

All of the action takes place in Mereford, a seaside town based on Skegness. Readers will recognise the beach, Tower Gardens, the Clock Tower, the High Street, St Matthew’s Church, and much more, as they follow Stella’s journey towards the horrifying truth of what happened to her 19-year-old twin sister all those years ago.

Leila and her family had been at her dad’s 50 th birthday party at Richmond Caravan Park, when she was seen leaving in a hurry, running into the

night in tears, never to be seen again.

"I changed the name from Skegness to Mereford only so that I could take a couple of liberties with the geography, and make the town more down

at heel, to fit with the dark nature of the story," said Barbara.

"I felt that the beauty of Skegness beach, and the atmosphere of a seaside resort, was the perfect setting for an intense psychological thriller.

"I was raised in Skegness, attended the Grammar School, worked on the Standard; the town is part of who I am.

"Although I don’t live here any more, I still return all the time to see family, friends, and get my ‘fix’ of the sea and fens. There is something about a visit to the beach there that feeds my soul like nothing else."

Barbara says she was inspired to write the book two years ago, when she was watching a lot of true crime documentaries.

"Six months prior to that I’d fallen ill, and the consequent chronic fatigue that struck was so profound I couldn’t walk sometimes," she said.

"I didn’t have the strength to stand beneath the shower, I had to sit; I couldn’t concentrate enough to read a book let alone write one.

"By February 2018, I’d improved enough to actually read! I could even watch TV that required more than two brain cells, and that’s how my true

crime documentary addiction started.

"Right near the end of one about TV presenter Jill Dando’s murder, her brother, Nigel, said something that instantly hit a nerve with me:

‘I just wish someone could explain to me – or a judge and jury – and tell me why they killed her.

"It makes no sense to me. It will never make sense to me.’ I rewound it, grabbed a notebook and jotted it down.

"The thought of ‘what if something happened to one of my loved ones?’ really got inside my head and refused to leave me alone, like a song

going round in my head, along with ‘what if I never found out what had happened to them?’

"It was like someone had thrown open a window in my brain and scenes and scenarios flooded in…

"I started writing immediately, even though all I could manage was a couple of paragraphs a day, at best. I got frustrated often, remembering

the person I used to be and wishing I could work and think like before.

"Sometimes it felt like it would never be finished – yet somehow I reached the end, growing stronger with each month that passed. Now, pretty

much two years to the day after I was first struck by the idea, 'The Girl In The Missing Poster' has been published.

And that line from Nigel Dando? It’s been used in the book in full as a little tribute and thanks. I hope one day his sister’s mystery is solved."

Previous bestsellers include Invisible, which was self-published and became an Amazon bestseller in the UK.

Her second book, Flowers For The Dead, did even better, becoming a hit in the USA, too. Barbara then signed with publisher, Bookouture , and her writing career went up a gear. The Darkest Lies has been an Amazon bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and has featured on the USA Today bestsellers list. Her Last Secret and The Perfect Friend followed and were also international bestsellers – with a translation of The Perfect Friend hitting No 1 on Amazon in Italy.

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