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Quickfire author Q&A: Ruth Heald

Ruth Heald released the psychological thriller, The New Girl in January and is gearing up for another release in September.

She's worked in nuclear decommissioning, management consulting and at the BBC before becoming a full-time writer.

She's been talking about writing quick first drafts, juggling motherhood and writing, and how the gym is sometimes her office...

Where do you live?

I'm currently living in Brussels, Belgium, but I'm originally from England.

How many books have you published?

Six in total - five psychological thrillers with my publisher, Bookouture, and one self-published. My seventh, The Nanny, is due out in September.

How long have you been writing?

I think it must be at least twenty years since my first attempt at a book!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, always. Although, it just felt like a pipe dream for a long time.

Do you write full-time?

I feel very lucky that I can write full time now. I combine it with looking after my two young children. Previously I worked for the BBC, and before that I was a management consultant.

Who are your favourite authors?

Kate Atkinson, Lisa Jewell, Adele Parks

What does your writing day look like?

When I'm doing a first draft I like to write at least 2,000 words a day, usually in the morning when the kids are at school. I can write a first draft quickly, but my edits take a long time, as a lot of it needs re-writing!

Do you plan your books in advance or discover as you go along?

A bit of both. I write a synopsis. Sometimes I stick to it, other times it seems to go by the wayside as better ideas come up in the writing process.

Where do you write?

At home usually. Sometimes in cafes or at the gym.

Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere! Snippets of conversations I overhear. Newspaper articles. Some ideas just randomly pop into my head.

Which has been your most successful book to date?

The Mother's Mistake has sold the most - over 70,000 copies.

If readers are new to your work – which book of yours do you recommend starting with?

I'd say The Mother's Mistake if they like something quite dark. Or The Wedding if they want a lighter beach read.

What are you currently working on?

I'm currently outlining another psych thriller! It's very early days at the moment.

Tell us about your latest release.

My latest release is The New Girl. My next release is The Nanny, which is out in September.

Ruth Heald the bestselling author of a number of psychological thrillers and the relationship drama 27: Six Friends, One Year. She studied Economics and Management at Oxford University and then worked in an eclectic mix of sectors from nuclear decommissioning to management consulting. She worked at the BBC for nine years before leaving to write full time. Ruth is fascinated by psychology and finding out what drives people to violence, destruction and revenge. She’s married with two children and her novels explore our greatest fears in otherwise ordinary, domestic lives.

Find out more about Ruth Heald on Twitter, Facebook or on her website,


Ruth Heald was talking to AJ Wills, the bestselling author of multiple psychological thrillers. He was a journalist for more than twenty years and has been writing full-time since March 2021. He's married to fellow thriller writer, AJ McDine.

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