5 July 2017 10:07

A new psychological thriller about to hit the bookshelves has been penned by a Lancaster University Creative Writing MA graduate.

‘Trust Me’ is author playwright Zosia Wand’s first novel and is published by ‘Head of Zeus’ in e-book format (available for download from July 1) and hardback later in the year. 

The plot, which focuses on a young stepmother’s relationship with her teenage stepson, is described as absorbing, suspenseful and thought-provoking.

When her stepson becomes sullen and withdrawn, Lizzie starts to suspect that something sinister is going on at school. But nobody believes her – and then suspicion falls on Lizzie herself...

The novel, set against a Cumbrian landscape, is said to appeal to fans of dark women’s fiction and the recent wave of GripLit, the psychological thriller genre.

“I’ve always been interested in what I call salvaged families, domestic arrangements that are born of difficult circumstances or unusual relationships” explains Zosia.

“I have a half-sister who was born when I was sixteen and my stepfather was only eight years older than me. Such relationships are unique and often require a significant degree of trust. This inspired the book.

“I write thrillers, but at the heart there is always a love story. Not classic romances, but love stories in a much broader sense, exploring the relationships that occur in contemporary, more complex families.”

Zosia, who hails from London and now lives in Ulverston, has had several plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4, including, ‘The Treehouse’, a thriller in 5 parts, broadcast in May 2014.

Her stage plays include, ‘Quicksand’, staged at The Dukes theatre in Lancaster and the Theatre By The Lake in Keswick in 2011, ‘Pearl’, a monologue for Paines Plough Theatre Company in 2012 and ‘Blackout’ at the Dukes, Lancaster in 2013. 

In 2014 she wrote the script for the Dukes’ Williamson Park production of ‘Hansel and Gretel and More Tales From The Forest’. 

Zosia studied part-time for her the MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University from 1997 through to 1999 - a key turning point in her life.

“There were so many bonuses I hadn’t considered when I applied for the course: new friendships, a writing support group (which continues to this day), fresh insights and the space and time to develop my ‘writing voice’.  

“The course was encouraging, challenging and responsive.  It was a golden, creative time for me and I have done my best to recreate it through workshops and courses of my own since.”  

She said the quality of the analytical discussion at Lancaster was ‘second to none’ and that having a group of people regularly looking at her work and supporting her in realising her ambition was invaluable.  

Since that time, added Zosia, the number of creative writing MAs had exploded and the choice was dazzling, but, she added, Lancaster remained a strong course because of its simplicity.  

“My MA continues to improve and inform my work with every sentence I put on the page,” she added. “It was the best decision I ever made.”  

Zosia runs creative writing courses at The Reading Room, a creative writing venue in Ulverston.  

She is currently working on her second novel, ‘The Accusation’, which will be published in 2018.