Sarah Pearse – Reese Witherspoon book club author discusses moving from short stories to novels

This week, we chat to Sarah Pearse. Her debut novel, ‘The Sanatorium’, was the best selling debut fiction book of 2021. It was a New York Tiimes and Sunday Times bestseller, a Waterstones Thriller of the Month, and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.


Her new one is called, ‘The Retreat’. Set on an eco-wellness retreat on an island near Devon, it promises rest and relaxation, yet the locals believe it to have a cursed past. When a young woman is found murdered nearby, DS Elin Warner is called in to investigate.


We chat about how her writing routine is slightly dictated by family, where she moves for inspiration, and how she changes scenes that she wrote in the first few days of an idea.


You can hear how much she thinks about pacing and structure when writing genre, why her best thoughts come at night, and how she found moving from short stories to full on novels.


This week’s episode of the show is supported by ‘Believe Me Not’, the fantastic new novel by Natalie Chandler.

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