A Mother’s Love: Interview with Hazel Eggleton

Like many readers I love psychological thrillers – I find many of them so thought-provoking and fascinating. So when I discovered that Hazel Eggleton, the author of Lucky Stars, a fantastic YA novel that I have previously blogged about had a written a psychological thriller, I was keen to read it. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed; I found A Mother’s Love to be emotional, gripping domestic noir.

The novel is the poignant story of Meryan, newly released from prison after serving time for her husband’s murder. Returning to her Cornish hometown, Meryan’s community views her with fear and suspicion. As she tries to rebuild her family and business, she stumbles across a sinister crime web hidden in her husband’s past. As Meryan’s pursuit to save her family intensifies, so does the danger she finds herself in.

I recently caught up with Hazel in which she told me about her attraction to writing psychological crime fiction: “I love writing passages of suspense and creating atmosphere. Initially I wrote two ghost stories for children, which proved too scary for some, and then a YA novel. In all three there is fear and suspense. During one of the Covid lockdowns I did an online course with the great Erin Kelly in writing psychological thrillers: the genre seems to be the perfect vehicle for conveying tension and atmosphere.

A Mother’s Love is a poignant story about family, friendship, betrayal and belief. I was keen to know what inspired Hazel to write about these poignant themes. She told me: “I wanted to show how far a mother will go in protecting her son. When I read ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver, I was struck by her loyalty to Kevin. Even though he killed her husband and daughter and many of his friends, she still visits him in prison and says there will be a place for him in her flat if he is ever released. Sometimes on TV we see people being tried for unspeakable crimes and their parents are in court supporting them. I think families with all their potential for dysfunction, betrayal, loyalty, sibling rivalry and drama provide so much material for novelists. My themes are the universal themes of common humanity.”

Hazel Eggleton

Hazel told me that Meryan is based on strong women who fight fearlessly for justice: “Although there are elements of myself in her, she is much braver than I could ever be. But she also has a streak of recklessness which endangers her.” As a reader, although I was inwardly screaming at Meryan reckless behaviour, her actions did excite me. It portrayed her tenacity to uncover the truth and intensified the raw tension within the narrative.

Further enhancing the tension is the skilful setting of the novel in Cornwall, which Hazel knows well due to holidaying there many times.: “Cornwall provides a perfect setting for a psychological thriller with its tight communities, threatening seas, high hedges, broody skies and ever-changing weather,” Hazel told me, also saying: “There is a fierce sense of community and people who were born there seem to be pulled back as if by a magnet. So, a terrible crime, as in my novel, affects everyone in the small town.

I was curious to know if Hazel is planning a sequel to A Mother’s Love as I feel there is definitely potential for this. I am really excited by her response: “It wasn’t until I re-read the novel much later on that I realised I had sown the seed for a sequel (not planned of course!). Recently I have been imagining Meryan removed to an isolated place with a new identity for her own safety. But her enemy is hunting her down. There is plenty of scope for another novel there!

Hazel used to be a French and Spanish teacher, and didn’t start writing until her retirement. She told me that she needed to do something more liberating after years of being constrained by the rules of grammar, verbs, adjectival agreements etc: “[These] are all necessary to get children through exams but are rather stultifying. Writing in English which is such a fluid and rich language released my own creativity.”

Like many people, I am always curious about a successful authors’ writing style, so I grabbed my opportunity to ask Hazel about hers. She told me: “I am definitely not a plotter – more of a pantser! I start with an idea and a few characters and see where they take me…My plot evolves mainly through the actions and decisions of my main protagonist and I don’t know where it’s going to go or how it’s going to end when I start writing.

Having read and enjoyed two of Hazel’s novels I wanted to know if more is planned, and am overjoyed with her answer: “I have another psychological thriller already finished which I hope to get published. It’s about a young woman whose past is coming back to haunt her in the form of a male stalker. I also have a novel two-thirds completed which has an element of the supernatural – I’m back to my ghosts!”

These are two books I can’t wait to read, especially the one with a supernatural theme as I love a ghost story!

A Mother’s Love was released in February 2024 and is available now to read. A massive thank you to Hazel for a captivating read, and also for taking the time for me to answer my questions. There is also a condensed version of my interview with Hazel featured in the Manchester South Post, the Stockport Post and the Trafford Post.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.