Hello to the lovely #MyBookMoment subscribers! My name is Louise Beech, and I’ve been telling people I’m a writer since I was about eight, though I didn’t get a book deal until I was forty-four and had written four novels.
Every book I write is a little bit different because I always follow my heart and the story first. I’m a bit of a rebel too, and don’t like to be boxed. But when I realised that Call Me Star Girl fell into the Psychological Thriller category I can’t lie and say I wasn’t excited. I’m a huge crime novel reader so to create something that bit darker, that bit twistier, and that bit more thrilling was quite a ride. I had the most fun writing this one.
The idea first came to me when I was doing my regular evening guest slot at a radio station and I realised how solitary a job it is. You’re locked inside those small walls and yet speaking to the entire world, or at least it feels that way. DJs at this hour are utterly isolated and therefore pretty vulnerable. I began to see a young woman called Stella, a woman with a lot going on in her life, and I realised she was doing her last ever radio show. I decided to set the novel during that one, final show to add to the urgency and pace.
The rest fell into place: a theme of secrets, a long-absent mother returning out of the blue, an exquisite antique perfume bottle with a star-shaped stopper, a dark and demanding boyfriend, the unsolved murder of local pregnant girl, Victoria Valbon, and a caller who says he knows who did it…
It was fun to pick the music. I chose songs I love that tied in with each scene and moment. Throughout the five months of writing the book, I listened to the Starboy album by The Weeknd, and his gritty and haunting lyrics set the tone for me.
It’s been said by my readers that I write from the heart, and even in this darker novel the characters – and their personal journeys – mattered as much to me as the twists and turns did. My publisher messaged me when first reading it to say that she had tears streaming down her cheeks at one scene. What can I say? I was pleased.
I had such an intense experience writing this one that, who knows, I may be writing another novel in a similar vein, though it won’t be remotely the same…