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Exclusive Q&A with Sheila O’Flanagan

Sheila O’Flanagan is the award-winning author of The Hideaway and over twenty other titles, including the Sunday Times bestsellers What Happened That Night, The Missing Wife and If You Were Me. 

This Q&A is taken from The Hideaway. The full Q&A is only available in the paperback edition of The Hideaway, out on 7th March. Get your copy here.

What first inspired you to write this novel? And did the focus of the story change as you were writing it?

When I see news reports of certain events on TV I often wonder about the people in the background and what their stories might be. In this case, I imagined what it would be like to see or hear about someone who shouldn’t have been there, being caught up in a tragedy, especially when that person has a life that has been kept secret from you. I had a pretty clear idea of how I wanted to write the story so the focus didn’t shift, but of course the characters always take on a life of their own as the novel develops.

The description of the setting is so beautiful and vivid, it’s no surprise that you mention in your acknowledgements that you have spent a lot of time in this area of Spain. Could you tell us more about your love of the area?

I first stayed in this area of Valencia nearly twenty-five years ago and I was struck by the colours of the countryside. On the one hand, the zone is quite dry. But the vividness of the orange, lemon and lime trees against the backdrop of the blue skies, the mountains and the sea are simply stunning. Although there are a lot of tourists and ex-pats living in the area, it still retains strong links to both its Moorish and Christian cultures and the (almost daily) summer fiestas are a part of that.

The Hideaway

Read the rest of the Q&A in the paperback edition of The Hideaway, out 7th March 2019.