Super topical (it’s the first book we’ve read set in 2021, so pandemic times) and super exciting, I Know What You’ve Done is legendary author Dorothy Koomson’s 15th novel and sits firmly in her trademark brilliant emotional thriller territory.
We couldn’t put it down!
We’ll let Dorothy explain more about her book...
Do you remember the moment you were inspired to write I Know What You’ve Done?
I do remember. I was in bed feeling unwell and I remember looking out of the window and realising I could see all the way down my road. And I thought to myself, what if I looked into someone’s window and saw them doing something they shouldn’t be doing? And what if that person realised I’d seen and wanted to shut me up?
That kind of grew into what if someone was spying on her neighbours and someone tries to kill her because she knows too much.
How would you describe the story?
I think of it is as the ultimate ‘nosy neighbour gets a nasty surprise novel’. I’m joking!
I mean, most of us have neighbours and we know them, but when we were constantly around them because everyone was home, I think, we all started to take a bit more notice of what was happening to others. This noticing our neighbours has carried on, I think, even after we were able to go away from our homes more.
The book is set in 2021 – how did you approach the pandemic references?
I write about the world we live in so I didn’t want to ignore what happened but I also didn’t want to dwell on it. I mean, our world has been forever changed by it.
I don’t mean just the illness and its effects, I mean how people responded to it, how we see people we might have previously liked and admired responding to it. That is what I tried to weave into the novel – how all of that affected people – but I don’t linger on it or directly reference it. I wanted I Know What You’ve Done to be realistic so had to allude to it, but I didn’t want to write about it.
Do you think the pandemic will be challenging for authors to include in their stories going forward?
I think it’s going to be hard for a lot of authors to know what to do. Some are setting books earlier in 2018 and 2019, I think a lot will start setting them in 2022. I hear a lot from readers that they don’t want to read about the pandemic and that is more than fair enough. I know a lot of authors don’t want to write about it, too.
What message would you like people to take away from your book?
Which character do you relate to most?
Oh, that’s a difficult one. I think there’s a little bit of me in all of the main characters, just like I hope a lot of readers will see themselves in them. Actually, I think I relate most to Okra and Yam, Rae’s two Yorkshire Terriers because they remind me of my own two!
Did you know how the story would play out before you started writing?
I usually have an idea how the story will go and where it needs to get to, but that doesn’t often pan out. There were a couple of twists and some relationships that I wasn’t expecting that developed while I was writing, so I guess I Know What You’ve Done is part carefully plotted and part ‘let’s see where the story takes us’.
I Know What You’ve Done is set in Brighton – the perfect staycation location. If I had 48 hours in Brighton, what should I do?
When people ask me this, I always say: paddle in the sea, go on the Pier to play the slots or just stare out to sea, get fish & chips from Regency or Melrose on Brighton seafront, then head down to Marroccoo’s on the Hove for the best ice cream.
You can also go shopping in the Lanes or head out to the Marina for cinema and bowling. There’s also the big i360, which gives you views all over Sussex, but I’ve never been in it. There’s lots to do but if the weather’s even a little bit nice, I like to sit and read on the beach.
Thank you so much for talking to us, Dorothy!
Get your copy of I Know What You’ve Done here.
We'll be discussing the book over in our Facebook group, so make sure you join us there!