TV’s Queen of Clean Aggie MacKenzie is making sure The Move stands up to close inspection, its writer reveals.
The former Channel 4 star of How Clean is Your House?, who hails from Aviemore in the Highlands, is the ex-sister-in-law of the novel’s author Felicity Everett.
Felicity, 59, says: “Aggie reads my books. She is in a book group and we talk about books a lot. She is someone I ring and have a chat to when I need a sympathetic ear. I have known Aggie for 30 years. She was at my daughter’s birthday party recently and we had a good old natter.
“Cath, the fictional sympathetic neighbour in the book, is a characterful Glaswegian. Like Aggie, she is a Scot with a telly presence (in Cath’s case a TV gardening show).”
Felicity admits real life has informed the novel, a domestic noir/suspense and her third adult fiction (she’s penned more than 20 children’s books). But she insists it is far from autobiographical.
The writer – married to Adam Goulcher, with whom she has four grown-up children Martha, 32, Jacob, 30, Thea, 27, and Lizzie, 22, and a first grandchild, baby Sophie – based it on a troubled couple’s bid for a fresh start in the countryside.
Felicity, best-selling author of The Story Of Us and The People At Number 9, plunges the reader into the uncertain world of middle-aged Karen, who has packed up her London life to begin anew with her hubby in a renovated country home. It’s a dark and foreboding tale of a rural dream gone wrong; of what can happen when we try to paint over the cracks.
Says Felicity: “I am ashamed to say the inspiration for the novel is that I moved from city to country comparatively recently and found it a bit of a struggle.
“It was the perfect storm of things combining in my life; one was moving – a big culture shock. I was also menopausal. The menopause kind of makes my heroine a bit unhinged.”
The author, who has a fourth novel “in the works”, says: “I didn’t have the nerve to attempt adult fiction until I was 40. Then I went for it. My children read my books and complain about the sex scenes. But I think they are secretly proud.”
While not gory, her latest offering ripples with a suspense that will have pulses racing.
“People expect blood on the carpet with books that are dark and domestic noir,” she says.
“They sometimes come away feeling cheated if there isn’t a murder. There is no murder in The Move. It is all head stuff.
“I always think that what happens in people’s heads is terrifying enough.
“I don’t feel the need to chuck in a dead body.”
Felicity Everett’s The Move, HQ, £12.99