1--What is the title of your latest release?
OUT OF HER DEPTH
2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?
When Rachel lands a dream job in the Tuscan hills, she is drawn into a circle of privileged young Brits. But as the champagne flows and the party doesn’t stop, rivalries fester, and she begins to realize that ‘all that glitters…’
3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?
I lived in Florence as a student and have visited it every year since – I even got married there. I always knew that the duality of the city: beautiful piazzas fed by dark passageways; the home of both Renaissance art and the menacing Medicis: would make it the perfect setting for a thriller.
4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?
Goodness no – in fact, I think all the characters in the book are pretty awful!
5--What are three words that describe Rachel?
Voyeuristic, unreliable, naive
6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?
What happens to a body after its spent weeks in the water (sorry!!)
7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?
I actually did a TikTok about this exact topic! I cannot write a “messy first draft;” I’m totally “slow and steady,” moving on to the next chapter when I’m satisfied with the previous one.
8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?
I’m a complete ice cream junkie. In fact, in Out of her Depth I have a lengthy description of the pistachio and ricotta “cremino” flavor from my favorite ice cream place in Florence which is pretty much my heaven on earth
9--Describe your writing space/office!
I have always worked in coffee shops, even when I was studying for my degree. I love the buzz and the frequent flow of people (you never know what conversation might be ripe for the fictional picking…). It also helps to be that close to a caffeine source. My go to is Redemption Roasters in Islington, where I live. Not only are the staff amazing and the coffee great, but they are also the world’s first prison based roastery, aiming to provide offenders with valuable skills to reduce the chance of re-offending
10--Who is an author you admire?
Taylor Jenkins Reid: her world building is so immersive.
11--Is there a book that changed your life?
The Golden Compass. But a book that literally changed my life is A Girl Named Anna, because it made me an author overnight, and without it I wouldn’t be talking to you now!
12--Tell us about when you got “the call” that you had won the Daily Mail competition first novel prize for your debut A Girl Named Anna (or was it an email?).
I had sent in the first couple of chapters to the Daily Mail on a whim several months before and had forgotten all about it. It wasn’t the first competition I’d entered, and I assumed there was no hope in hell I’d even be longlisted. I was prepping for a meeting at work when I got a call from someone called ‘Luigi’ who I assumed was a cold caller. All I can remember when I finally realized what he was talking about was slowly sliding down the office wall in shock!
13--What’s your favorite genre to read?
I’m voracious reader and particularly love anything with a strong female lead, but I tend to flit between psychological suspense, literary fiction, and dystopian fiction. The best books I’ve read lately were Sorrow & Bliss, Mrs. March and Girl A, so fairly wide-ranging!
14--What’s your favorite movie?
The Talented Mr. Ripley – it hasn’t aged and is one of few films that lives up to the book, which happens to have been a huge inspiration for Out of her Depth
15--What is your favorite season?
Summer. I could live in tropical heat. Don’t ask me why I live in London.
16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?
Well, see above – my birthday’s in October so I don’t normally get much heat! But my favorite ever birthday was when my husband was living in Singapore, and we travelled to a tiny island in Borneo for the weekend. Swimming in the sea on my birthday was pretty much perfection. In London I’ll take a dinner in Hackney with a babysitter for my three-year-old son firmly on the cards!
17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?
TV show: I’ve just inhaled watched WeCrashed on Apple +. Every episode got more and more shocking as Anne Hathaway’s performance got more and more brilliant
Movie: I just loved Promising Young Women. Emerald Fennell is a really exciting new voice in film, and I’ve always thought Carey Mulligan was such an intriguing and charismatic actress
Podcast: I am loving ‘Sounds Like a Cult,’ and I would also recommend the host Amanda Montell’s non-fiction book ‘Cultish.’ Which may give you a little insight into my fourth book, which I have just started writing…
18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
I have spent a lot of time travelling in Southeast Asia and absolutely love all the food in that region. My dream dish is Khao Soi, which is a coconut chicken noodle soup from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. But of course, I have great affection for Italian food, particularly around Tuscan and Liguria, where I have grown up spending summers – I dream about pesto focaccia from Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera.
When I’m not writing, I’m the Head of Brand for the boutique restaurant group my brother founded, and my husband’s a food writer, so food plays a big part in our lives!
19--What do you do when you have free time?
…What is “free time”…? I have always liked to live an extremely full life, it’s a running joke that I will spontaneously combust if I sit still. I balance writing part time with working for the restaurants three days a week, plus running around after a three-year-old, but I would be miserable if I didn’t make time for: dancing (I do street dance and dance hall and ballet), eating out with friends, reading, and binge watching tv shows. You may not be surprised to learn I am also a travel junkie and am always happiest when I’m planning my next trip.
20—Tell us about your next book.
Yes! It’s called A GIRL LIKE THAT, and swaps the hills of Tuscany for the coast of Cornwall in the UK. It’s loosely inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and is about a young woman who escapes a bad relationship to become a nanny for a wealthy couple in Cornwall and becomes embroiled in their dark marriage…
There are summers that will change your life.
There are summers that may end it.
In the lush green hills beyond Florence sits the Villa Medici—a graceful pensione surrounded by manicured gardens. Rachel, a college student from an unfashionable London suburb, can’t believe her luck in landing a summer job here. Especially when she’s drawn into a circle of privileged young sophisticates, including her glamorous coworker Diana, who promises to help Rachel win the affections of handsome, confident Sebastian.
But as champagne flows and rivalries fester in the Tuscan countryside, Rachel realizes that Diana has motivations of her own. Adrift in a world of backstabbing and bed-hopping, lavish parties and easy betrayal, Rachel feels the stakes rising along with the temperature until, one night, something snaps. Someone dies. And nothing will ever be the same…
In this atmospheric thriller set in sun-drenched Tuscany, Lizzy Barber weaves a deadly web of manipulation and desire that will keep readers enthralled until the breathtaking last page.
Suspense Psychological | Mystery [MIRA, On Sale: June 28, 2022, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9780778386445 / eISBN: 9780369720726]
Lizzy Barber studied English at Cambridge University. Having previously dabbled in acting and film development, she has spent the last ten years as head of marketing for a restaurant group. Her first novel, Anna in the Dark (known as My Name is Anna in the US), won the Daily Mail and Random House First Novel Prize 2017. She lives in London with her husband, a food writer.
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