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Returning to Haddley – A town where everyone buries the past…

Robert Gold on returning to Haddley


We loved Robert Gold’s bestselling debut thriller Twelve Secrets and, ahead of his next book Eleven Liars, we wanted to know what it was like writing a second novel set in the fictional town of Haddley. Over to you, Rob…

Sitting down to write a second novel is an oddly daunting experience. I’m sure every author writes their first novel more in hope rather than in expectation. The idea of anyone reading that first book is something of a pipe dream, even as the story and characters come to life. A second novel is a different experience, one which often begins with your editor asking, “When will it be finished?”.

When I sat down to begin writing Eleven Liars, I wanted it to be a story that would grip new readers while offering a degree of familiarity to returning readers of Twelve Secrets. For that reason, I chose to set the story once again in the fictional London suburbs of Haddley and St Marnham. The small town and village, nestled on a bend of the River Thames, create a closeness of community which might not be immediately associated with big city novels.

In Twelve Secrets we met the characters who live around Haddley Common, and the story told of the entangled lives they shared. For Eleven Liars, I realised I could broaden out the community, allowing the reader to see different parts of the Haddley, while still maintaining the claustrophobic sense of fiercely guarded secrets.

In this new book, we see the return of leading characters Ben Harper and Dani Cash, with the story allowing the reader deeper inside their lives. By introducing new areas of the town, such as the centuries old church standing on the riverbank and the terraced homes built on Haddley Hill, I was also able to bring in new characters and new lives, each one embedded in the darkest parts of Haddley’s past. I loved exploring and imagining new parts of the town and meeting characters who had made Haddley their home for decades.

The reader response to Twelve Secrets has been amazing, and way beyond anything I had ever imagined possible. I hope all of those readers who do return to Haddley and St Marnham find something strangely familiar, while discovering a story that is both new and full of unexpected turns.


Pre-order your copy of Eleven Liars now.