I’m CJ Cooke. I write novels of the psychological suspense, thriller, and gothic variety. My first novel, I KNOW MY NAME, is about a woman who washes up on a remote island off Crete without any memories or identity, and was published in the UK by HarperCollins and in the US by Grand Central Publishing in 2017. It was also published in a number of languages and the film/TV rights were optioned by Catalyst Global Media. My second novel, THE BLAME GAME, is out in March 2019, and is about a family who experience a terrible car accident whilst on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Central America. Helen, the wife/mother, wakes up in hospital to discover the accident was a deliberate attempt on their lives, and that her husband Michael was responsible. But Michael has disappeared from the hospital, despite being seriously ill – was he kidnapped, or is something much more sinister at work?
This blog documents the research and writing of my third novel as CJ Cooke (and fifth novel in total), titled THE NESTING, which will be published in 2020 by HarperCollins (UK) and Penguin Random House (USA). When Lexi lands a job as a nanny in a remote part of Norway, she imagines a roof over her head and free reign to immerse herself in gorgeous scenery. In other words, a much-needed break from real life.
Her employer, Tom, has very different plans. Still reeling from the suicide of his wife, he’s hell-bent on channelling his grief into building an insanely-ambitious high-concept eco-home in the middle of a remote and unforgiving landscape. With plans spiralling out of control, there’s no completion date in sight, and Lexi finds herself living on a building site rather than the cosy home she’d envisioned.
But creature comforts are the least of her problems. Tom’s dream home is being built on top of long-buried secrets, and the excavations are stirring up more than just soil and rock. Soon, Lexi begins to see things that may not be real. Did Tom’s wife really commit suicide, or did she fall victim of this wild, cursed place? And could Lexi be next?
Thanks to Arts Council England for funding the research process, which includes some trips to Norway to research the architectural and environmental elements of the book, and to enable me to portray this beautiful setting with sensitivity and authenticity. Thanks also to John Arne Bjerknes at the Nordic Office of Architecture for giving advice on architectural regulations, aesthetics and paradigms.