As an overworked NHS psychiatrist, Dr Clancy Mclean is used to dealing with mental illness. But she is stressed – trying to balance her career and the needs of her only child, Rowan. And she has her work cut out trying to keep her patients well. She knows two of them are psychotic, and becoming overwhelmed by their voices. If they act on them it could prove disastrous.
Rowan is troubled. Her boyfriend is abusive but she doesn’t want to end the relationship – she’s too scared of being lonely. Can she find someone else to keep her company?
And, as if Clancy doesn’t have enough to worry about, another of her patients is paranoid and convinced she is being stalked. Is it just a symptom of her mental illness?
Because there is a stalker on the prowl and he is getting closer to his victim with each passing day.
As a full-time psychiatrist, who is also a mother, and the full-time carer and guardian of my five year old step-grandson, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands. When I can, if I’m not too tired, my writing day starts at six–thirty am. The alarm goes, and after feeding the dogs and making a cup of tea I review social media and if I’m lucky spend thirty minutes writing my Work in Progress. Then it’s time to get up, get my grandson up, do the chores, take him to school and start my working day.
Hopefully I land at my day job by nine am. And then, like Clancy, I’m straight into work. Fortunately, my work provides me with plentiful inspiration and interaction with people of all types – both staff and patients. Essentially, my work involves sitting listening to people’s life stories – I am paid to spend my time in character study.
This involves listening, but also observing body language and facial expressions, and reading the external manifestations of emotions. I see people who are in the throes of distress, anger, paranoia, sadness. I have always maintained that the most important skill of a successful psychiatrist is good listening – under scored by a natural curiosity about people, their lives and their stories. Some might even call it nosiness. One of the arts of psychiatry is to gather enough information to try to experience the patient’s internal world as they are, and to feel what they are feeling– empathy is key.
The stories I hear never fail to surprise and shock me. The average reader would not believe some of the extraordinary occurrences that I hear about. But they feed my imagination and help me develop and deepen characters. In my day job I am in receipt of countless ideas and inspirations, and have a huge pot of ideas from which to build my characters and their experiences. So it is during the work day that I do my thinking. I carry my notebook everywhere. In it is the up to date mind map of my Work in Progress, and I add any new inspirations I get along the way.
When I am home, after school pick-up, I start the evening routine – tea, bath, reading. And then, finally I can get back down to writing. When I‘m working on a WIP, I set myself a daily target of 500 words, but try to continue to 1000. Some days the words flow, others they have to be squeezed out, but I figure I can always do 500, and it surprising how the word count grows. Of course, so much more time is spent reviewing and editing work – I find it far harder to set targets with this. It really is just a case of getting stuck in, and letting the time pass.
Reading and writing are my main forms of relaxation. One of the greatest things about being a writer is that you can argue to yourself that reading is work. I read prolifically – I always have a book on the go, and I take one with me everywhere. I have a phobia of being caught with time on my hands without a book.
I don’t watch TV. When people ask me how I get time to write on top of everything else, that is usually the only reason I can find. Oh- and I don’t go out or socialise much either. By the time I get back from work, I am very reluctant to venture out again. I enjoy peace and quiet, the countryside and to spend time alone or on a one on one– walking, running, thinking. And at the end of the day, I love to go to bed early – anytime from nine pm onwards. And I love sleeping and dreaming. And then, it’s time for the new day and off I go again.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy Lead Me Home and will look out for the sequel, The House of Love.
About The Author
CS Savage is a psychiatrist, and a life long fan of mystery/suspense and crime fiction.
She works and lives in South London with her family and two dogs, but spends as much time as she can in her Lake District retreat.
She followed her life long ambition to write two years ago, and is an alumni of the Faber academy.
Lead Me Home is her debut novel, and she is currently working on the sequel.