Welcome to author Jo Jakeman who has dropped by to tell us about her novel Safe House and to give us the lowdown on one of her characters.
While we're waiting for your guest to arrive, Jo, can you tell us a little about your book?
The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She calls herself Charlie, but it's a name she's only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.
Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn't a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. This sacrifice cost her everything.
And now she has a chance to start again.
But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she's really paid the price for what she did.
Who will you be inviting for a cocktail and why?
I’ve invited Charlie Miller – the main character in Safe House. She’s recently moved into that rundown old cottage at the other end of the village and, quite frankly, I think she’s hiding something. She hadn’t even visited the place before she purchased it. Who does that?
What will they be wearing?
She’s wearing an oversized jumper and jeans. There are paint flecks on her face, from where she’s been decorating the cottage. She tells me that she only cares about comfort, and warmth – not fashion. Summer is long gone and there’s no central heating in that old house of hers. Those clothes though, they look like they’ve seen better days and are far too big for her. If they’re hers, she must have lost some weight recently.
What will they order off the cocktail menu?
Charlie considers ordering a Mocktail. I can tell she doesn’t trust me enough to let her guard down around me yet. However, I’m incredibly persuasive so we end up ordering a couple of espresso martinis. It’s the first alcoholic drink she’s had in nearly a year. When I ask if she’s on a health kick she laughs darkly and says, ‘Something like that.’
How will they react if the waiter spills their cocktail over them?
Obviously, I’m furious on her behalf. That buffoon of a waiter has been staring at her as if he knows her from somewhere. I tell him to watch what he’s doing, but Charlie says it was her fault and apologies to him. It’s almost as if she expects things to go wrong.
What can they tell you that will make you stay for a second drink?
I’d like to know what would make a young woman move to a remote village in Cornwall all on her own. And, between you and me, I’ve heard that Charlie Miller isn’t even her real name so, if she wants me to stay for a second drink, she needs to tell me who she really is, and who she’s hiding from.
Safe House by Jo Jakeman is published by Harvill Secker and is available to buy here.