Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award winning and bestselling author of I Let You Go, I See You, Let Me Lie, and After The End, all Sunday Times bestsellers. She has more than two million copies of her books sold in 40 countries. Her latest thriller, Hostage, will be published in June 2021.
Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply.
It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.
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Phenomenal! This explosive locked-room thriller has everything a reader could want in this genre: murder, mystery, morally grey areas, and a very empathetic heroine. Mina is a mother first, but when someone presents her with an anonymous note while on her most recent flight, she’s forced to choose between the passenger’s lives, or the one life that matters most… Read full review
Author’s Corner – Interview with Clare Mackintosh
Thanks so much for being on Author’s Corner! Can you tell us one funny, quirky thing about you, something most people might not know? An interesting hobby or funny habit, something so readers can get to know the person behind the author.
The pressure! This is like when people ask you for your favourite joke, and instantly, all the funny things go right out of your head… I love open water swimming, which I do in the lake in my home town, where the water rarely gets above 15 C. My favourite time to swim is in winter, when it’s a balmy 5 degrees and the cold makes your skin tingle.
What are some of the jobs you had before becoming a writer, and how did they help you with what you do now?
I did a lot of waitressing in my teens, and I think it’s one of the best jobs for people watching. You get to observe relationships, and the way people behave when they think no-one’s watching – like the guy who makes out he’s leaving a big tip, then puts it back in his wallet when his date’s finding her coat. After I left university I joined the police, and I was an officer for 12 years. It taught me a lot about the thin line we all walk between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and between a safe life and an unsafe one. It’s terrifyingly easy to cross between the two; a space I often occupy in my writing.
What is the very first thing—ever—that you remember writing?
A short story for a school competition when I was seven. It was printed in the village magazine, and I have the page framed on my office wall. It’s called The Unhappy Rainbow, and it’s about a rainbow who loses his colours then meets a boy who paints them back on. There are disappointingly few plot twists.
What are some of the book(s) that you’ve read and loved recently?
I adored The Eighth Girl, by Maxine Mei Fung-Chung, about a woman with multiple personality disorder. The author is a psychotherapist and this debut blew me away. I’ve also (very late to the party) just finished American Dirt, and was breathless the entire time. I can understand the controversy around it, and hope publishers are doing more to seek out Own Voices stories, but I also understand why it’s been such a hit.
In our author chat a few months ago you mentioned how there are some books that motivate you, and others that make you feel like you can never write as good as that author. Can you give me an example of each?
Ha! That was a rare moment of honesty 😉 To be more specific about this, if I’m in a fragile state of mind, reading a brilliant book can pull me down, whereas on another day it might inspire me. So I couldn’t name a specific book or author, because it’s less about them and more about myself. Does that sound weird?
If you could be a character in a book for a day, who would you be?
Pollyanna, from the children’s book of the same name, by Eleanor H Porter. When she receives a pair of crutches in the missionary Christmas package, instead of the doll she was hoping for, Pollyanna is happy not to need them. Imagine being able to find the joy in a pair of crutches! I’m sure I’d annoy the hell out of my friends, but playing the Glad Game seems like a nice way to spend a day.
Just for fun, choose one answer for each:
- Laundry or Dishes? Laundry (but only if someone else pairs the socks)
- Movies or TV? Movies
- iOS or Android? iOS (I hate that I’m a slave to them, but…)
- Coffee or Tea? Tea – I’m British!
- Ninjas or Pirates? Pirates are best. Why? Just because they AAARRRRGH.
- Beach, City or Forest? Forest, every time.
If you could invite five people (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
Oh man, you ask GOOD questions! I’m going to skip over the fact that, really, I’d like dear departed family members there, and go for a fantasy guest list. Agatha Christie, for plot twist advice; Daphne du Maurier, for insight into writing compelling characters; Elizabeth Gilbert, for creative inspiration; Maggie O’Farrell, because every time I read an interview with her she sounds like the nicest person; and let’s have Oprah as the fifth. Because, well: it’s Oprah.
Let’s talk about your book Hostage. Can you tell my readers a little about it?
Hostage is a locked room thriller set on a long-haul flight from London to Sydney. Flight attendant Mina receives an anonymous note from a passenger on board the plane, forcing her to choose between her own family, and the safety of the people on board.
Hostage is a high-octane thriller that honestly left me breathless, flipping the pages throughout. Are there any plans for it to hit the big screen at some stage?
We’re in talks with producers at the moment, but the screen world is even slower than the book world…
Where did you come up with the idea?
It’s been knocking around in my head for a long time. I have a notebook in which I record vague ideas for stories, and I’ve had ‘plane-based thriller: save the child or save the plane?’ scribbled on a page for a few years. Then, in summer 2019 I was on a flight from the UK to San Francisco, and the story fell into place. I emailed the synopsis to my editor when I landed and wrote the first draft that autumn.
Describe Hostage in three words.
Tense. Twisty. Emotional.
Let’s talk about the protagonist, Mina. I absolutely loved her! Empathetic, compassionate, and yet put into an impossible situation. How did you grow this character for this plot?
Thank you! All my books feature ordinary people, which I think is much more interesting than stories about super-heroes. When James Bond gets into a fight, you know who’s going to win, but when mum-of-three Sandra from 43 Bridge Street faces down her nemesis, the odds are much lower. I ask ‘why?’ a lot, when I’m creating characters. Why did Mina choose to be a flight attendant? Then, when I get the answer, I dig deeper. How does she feel about that? What has it done to her relationships? Being a writer is a bit like being a therapist, unpeeling the layers of your characters until you find their ultimate motivation.
That ending! Wow! Without giving it away, did you know the ending for Hostage before you started writing it? Are you typically a plotter or pantser?
I plot and plot, and then I plot some more. After I write a first draft I tear it up, re-plot, and write again from scratch. It’s such an inefficient way of producing a book, but I’ve accepted it’s just my process, and it produces books readers like, so… With Hostage, I worked towards an ending, then in the second draft – just as I reached the end – I realised there was another twist, one which made me laugh out loud because it was so perfect for the character involved.
It found it incredibly insightful how you wove climate change throughout your theme in Hostage. What motivated you to do that?
I don’t think you can write about aviation and not at least consider the implications on the climate. I read a review from a reader who marked down their star grading because of my ‘condescending author note’, but I’ve read it over and I stand by what I say. The scientific evidence on climate change is incontrovertible, and air travel is a significant factor. The pandemic has given us all an opportunity to work in different ways, and I think it’s important to consider if our journeys are truly essential. I’m not saying we shouldn’t fly – I have tickets booked for a holiday I very much hope I’ll be able to take – just that we should be more mindful about the consequences of our choices. Also, if anyone would like to charter me a yacht for my next European book tour, I won’t say no.
What do you think readers will love about Hostage?
I think they’ll enjoy getting under people’s skin in surprising ways, and being wrong-footed, just when they think they know what’s happening.
What’s Next For You?
Are you working on a new book? Can you tell my readers a little about it, a blurb, potential release date, etc?
We’re always working on a new book, right? I don’t have a title, release date or an official blurb yet, but the second draft is done and I’m about to start edits. It’s a murder mystery set around a lake in north Wales, UK. The border between England and Wales runs through the middle of the lake, and there are tensions between the rural village on the Welsh side, and the luxury holiday resort on the opposite shore. On New Year’s Day, the locals pile into the freezing water for their annual swim, gossiping about the party hosted at the resort the night before, designed to bring the two sides together. But as the mist clears, a body floats through the water…
Get In Touch
Clare loves connecting with readers. You can get in touch with her at:
300 Reviews for Clare Mackintosh
Thank-you for the opportunity
Hostage sounds like the kind of book I love to read! Looking forward to reading it!
Thanks Sheila, I hope you enjoy it!
This sounds so good.
OMG!! I’m dying to read this!! Adding to my collection of your books!!
Thanks so much Kim!
Have read lots of excellent reviews.
I really really need Hostage!
It sounds like an awesome book
I really enjoyed this interview, and I can’t wait to read Hostage. Thank you! 🙂
Thank you so much, Kelly! 🙂
Hostage sounds so intriguing!
I would be thrilled to win ♥️
This sounds like a perfect summer thriller! Thanks for the chance.
I just love that as a fellow author, you not only conduct these interviews, you also give the readers a chance at winning new books!! You are so down to earth and the interactions with your fans (like me) make us feel so special and important!! So..THANK YOU!!!
I love what Claire said about people watching, I love to do that. Airports and Las Vegas provide great people watching opportunities 😂. I am a huge fan of hers and cannot wait to get my hands on this newest work of art! Thank you for the chance.
Thank you, Jacey! That means so much to me! 🙂
Love Clare’s books. Reviewsare again excellent and I hope to be lucky enough to read this soon.
Thanks Julie, I’ve been so happy with the reviews!
Sounds like a great read. Thank you.
It sounds like a great thriller – I can’t wait to read it!
This book sounds so good, and intense. I would love to win.
I loved American Dirt too. Hostage sounds like a great book that I need to put on my TBR ASAP!
Definitely, it’s sooo good!
I NEED THIS ONE!
This book sounds amazing!!!
Thanks for the giveaway chance. Stay safe and healthy.
Sounds like a great read
Sounds like a good read. A little reminiscent of a Halle Berry movie I saw once.
Look like a great read.
This sounds amazing! I’d love to read it !
Looks like a book I’d love to read at book club
It’s certainly piqued my interest!
Hostage is on my to be read list!
Thank you for the engaging interview!
Can’t wait to read this one…sounds so good! Just finished I let you go and loved it!
I’ve heard this is a good one!!
Ohhhh can’t wait to read the book!
I would love to read this book.
Sounds really great I love a good thriller. Enjoyed your interview .
Can’t wait to read this book!
I love your answers for the dinner party guest list. Great choices!
Would love to read Hostage.
The book looks fantastic! I definitely want to read it!
I can’t wait to read this!
I would love this book to read out at the Lake!
Sounds awesome! Can you ever fly again? 🤣
I can’t wait to get on a plane again!
want to win desperately
Love how it is described in 3 words, sounds like something I would love!
Sounds so good! Can’t wait to read it!
Would so love to win! 😊
This one sounds good.
Hostage sounds like one of those books that keep you up all night to find out how it ends. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
This sounds so good! Thanks for the chance to win. I like that Clare is a people watcher and was a police officer. I think those two things can really assist in her storytelling.
It definitely does, she’s amazing! 🙂
This has been on my Goodreads list – thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!
I can’t wait to read Hostage!!
I love a good thriller and this books sounds like it’s right up my alley! Very much looking forward to this read!
This sounds amazing! Look forward to a chance for winning and will be adding this to my collection regardless!
This sounds so good!
This sounds so good
I want to be a fly on the wall (if not the sixth guest) at that fantasy dinner party. Clare Mackintosh is one of my all-time favorite authors, too– since day one of her debut. Here’s to Hostage, and the one to follow!!
Aw, you can definitely be the sixth guest, Jennifer!
I cannot wait to read this one! I still remember where and how I felt reading I Let You Go.
Swimming in the winter! Wow your brave! The Hostage sounds great! Looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the wonderful opportunity!
I am so excited to read this! I love your books!! Thanks for the chance
I love a good twist and this sounds like there are many!
Can’t wait to read this!
Can’t wait to read this!
An amazing variation on the locked-room theme! What an idea! But, please tell me: how can I get invited to that dinner party? Or better yet, can we make it a locked room tea party?!
Hearing of problems on planes now is very much in our minds. I’m looking forward to this book!
Thanks for the chance to win! This book sounds very interesting.
Sounds like a great read!
I can’t wait to read!
THis book looks really good! Also- swimming in the winter?! Crazy!!!
It’s bracing! 😉
Can’t wait to read this!
This cover looks amazing, I can not wait until I get my hands on a copy.
I LOVE INTRIGUE AND MYSTERY!!! WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A COPY…SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT SUSPENSE STORY 😉
Can’t wait to read this ever since she first announced she was writing it!
This book looks really good. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!
Ooo this sounds like a good one!
WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A COPY 😉
Wow! Hostage sounds like a bone-chilling, finger biting thriller and I’d love to read it. Thank you for the chance.
Loved the Q/A. Being a former Flight Attendant, I already know I would love this book. The synopsis is too intense to miss. Thank you for the chance!
I can’t wait to hear what you think – I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes 😉
Wow! Hostage sounds like it would make me a nervous wreck, I have to read it! 😁
This sounds amazing. Thank you for the chance! 🙂
Sounds so good! Can’t wait to read this
I’ve never been disappointed by one of Clare’s books. She’s one of my faves!
I will be reading this story one way or another, but would love to win an autographed copy as I collect them. Have about 38 at the moment!
Impressive collection, Ann!
I am SO EXCITED for Hostage!! I love Clare’s novels and this sounds so amazing and so perfect for summer. And I already want to read her next book ASAP so I can figure out who’s floating in that lake 😆!
This sounds so GOOD!
So excited to read Hostage!! I love all her books!
Can’t wait to read it!
I’ve read 3 of her books so far and add her books as they are published to my wish list. Never disappointed so far.
New author for me… Sounds very goos.
This book sounds like a real edge of my seat thriller. I can’t wait to read it.
Would love to read this!
Love the interview and the review – can’t wait to add to my short list!
I really like the sound of hostage . Thank you Christina for the wonderful interview with Clare , it has given me a great insight into the author and her book which I will have to look for in the library if I am not drawn the winner .
Love Clare’s books! Can’t wait to read this one as well!
I LOVE Clare Mackintosh! She writes such great books. I really want to read this one. Thanks for the interview!
I just started binging Clare Mackintosh’s previous works last month. I love the variety of genres and topics that she has tackled as a writer. I am looking forward to Hostage.
Thanks Sabrina, this makes me so happy!
Sounds like a fabulous book!!!!!
I absolutely agree about the appeal of books about “normal people” getting into situations. That’s why I used to love Mary Stewart stories, and it’s still the appeal of The Man Who Knew Too Much.
I love suspense thrillers…it was fun to learn that the author was in the police force for 12 years which makes it interesting as she knows what goes behind the cases. Would be wonderful to read her book.
Loved ATE- can’t wait to read this one!
Oh wow I cannot wait to read this book. It sounds totally awesome
I can’t wait!!!!
It’s really neat to learn about authors. Book sounds amazing!
I’m intrigued….can’t wait to read this!
Sounds good, cannot wait to read this!!
I love Clare Mackintosh! Can’t wait to read this book!
Sounds like a great book – excited to read!
Can’t wait to read! Sounds amazing!
wow hostage sounds like a great book I cant wait to read it ! thanks
I can’t wait for this one!!!
Sounds like a very interesting read cannot wait!
Hostage sounds so good.
Sounds so good! Thank you for the opportunity!
Can’t wait to read this one!
This sounds so interesting! I would love to read it!
Looking forward to this book
Clare is one of my new favorite authors. She’s ripped my heart out and made me throw the book I’ve been so freaked out ! Bring on Hostage! Super excited for this book!
This book sounds very interesting. I love books like this kind. I’m gonna have to add this book to my list of books to read
This sounds so good!
What a great interview! Hostage sounds so good!
Sounds like a good thriller! I’ve been wanting this book since I first saw it.
Wow two of my favorite authors chatting! Hostage sounds awesome! I can’t wait to read it.
I can’t imagine being put in this predicament but I know what I would do. Thanks for the chance. I’m looking forward to reading this new book.
I can’t wait to read this!!
Sounds like a page turner, cannot put down kinda book I want to read!!
Hostage looks like it’s a suspenseful page turner! I can’t wait to read the whole book!
What a great summer read!
This is my kind of book ! Love thrillers ! Can’t wait to read it !
This sounds so good! I love locked room thrillers!
HOSTAGE sounds like a thrilling read!
New author to me! This sounds like a intriguing edge of the seat kinda book! Cant wait to read this one!
Hostage is very high on my to be read list! I really enjoyed the interview and learning more!
This book sounds so intriguing.
I love locked room thrillers so Hostage sounds fabulous!
Sounds so good!
Can’t wait to read this!! It looks so good!!
Great interview! I’d be so excited to win a copy of Hostages. THANKS!
Oh Hostage sounds so GOOD!!! I can’t wait to read it!
Would love a copy!!!
I can’t wait to read this. It sounds really good.
Sounds like a great read!
Sounds like the type of book that I love!
Wow! Can’t wait to read!!
Recently changing my genre to suspense/mystery. Loving it.
Would love to read! Thank you for the opportunity!
I can’t wait to read it, I’ve been part of the Hostage Facebook group since the beginning
Oh! Can’t wait!
Beyond excited for this new release!!
Fab interview, love love love Clare!!!
I cannot believe Clare likes to swim in water so cold! I’m in the states so I had to google convert 5C = 41F = BRRRR! I don’t get in my pool if it’s below 80F lol. Hostage sounds really good, looking forward to reading it!
Sounds like a great read!
Ohh this sounds good, so good I’m almost afraid of reading it – will I want to fly again?
This sounds such a great book by a wonderful author. Can’t wait to read this!
I love a good suspenseful thriller!
Hostage sounds like a great book.
Really looking forward to reading Hostage. The plot sounds intriguing.
I love thrillers , would love to read.
Sounds my kind of read. Thanks
This is a very useful and insightful interview with a very talented writer. I have already read all of Clare’s books – including the Quick Read and I just love them. She is one of a select group of authors who I pre-order just by name and have not been disappointed. I can’t think of a greater compliment!!
Thank you so much, Karen! I absolutely love Clare’s books, every single one of them!
sounds like a good read.
Would love to win a copy, sounds like a great read!
Sounds fast paced and compelling!
This might be a tough one to put down
My heart was pounding just reading the review! Would love to win a copy of this rollercoaster ride of a novel!
Definitely a read on my TBR!
This sounds amazing! Adding it to my list.
This is definitely my kind of read!!
Sounds both good and very stressful. Lol. Great interview! I always learn about several great books and authors when you each give your favorites as well!
I would love to read this book!
I’ve loved a few of Claire’s books so looking forward to this one! Thank you!
Sounds great! I’d love to win!
Hostage sounds very intriguing !
This sounds awesome! I definitely want to read this!!
Can’t wait to read this one!
Love the cover and Hostage sounds very mysterious and a wonderful read!!
This book sounds really good! I can’t wait to read it!
Will have to put this book on my TBR list… seems very interesting, Thank you for doing the interview and giving us an intro to this book
Sounds like a very interesting book and the kind I enjoy reading. Can’t wait to read it.
Great interview! This book sounds so good!
this sounds really good, would love to win a copy, congrats~
Always looking for a fresh author. Looks good!
Twists. After writing you think of something else. Hmm. Plane, no real place to go. I’m intrigued.
Hostage sounds like the perfect on the edge of your seat page turning thriller!
Great interview! Huge fan of you both!! Cannot wait to read this one!
Sounds suspenseful! Just the kind of books I love to read!
I absolutely love Clare’s books and would be soooo excited to win her latest!
I enjoy learning about the authors, this makes reading the book more personal. Thank you
This sounds amazing, I would be thrilled to win a copy!
I added this book to my list!❤️ It sounds like an amazing read!
I love her books! Can’t wait to read her new one 🙂
Love the plot setting. Sounds like it will be a GREAT read!
Sounds really good! I’d love to win this.
Sounds so good, Love to read this
This book sounds amazing! Thanks for the giveaway.
Hostage sounds so good! Definitely a book I need to read! Just from the plot, I can tell this would make a great movie.
Great interview and this sounds like a great read, definitely caught my attention!
can’t wait to read it! thank you for offering the giveaway
Great interview! This book sounds so good!
I love books set on planes and I can’t wait to read Hostage. It sounds brilliant!
Hostage looks like a good read. I agree with Clare that tea is the way to go also!
I have read several of Clare’s books, and I loved them all. Can’t wait to read Hostage.
I always look forward to Clare MacIntosh’s novels!
Sounds so good!
Hostage sounds like a great read. I’ve read a few by Clare so I know I won’t be disappointed 😁 Also , I agree about the lakes. There’s too much sand at the beach for me 🤣🤣
Oh wow. This book sounds like a very exciting read.
This book sounds fantastic. I must read this. I am a pirate gal too. Your quip, hilarious!! I’m still laughing
Thanks for the opportunity, sounds good!
This sounds like it would be such a good book!
Another to add to my TBR list!
I have had Hostage on my TBR for months. I also heard Claire on a video call a few weeks ago- very interesting. I am wondering how this book will compare to Falling by TJ Newman. I really like Claire’s books so I am sure I will like it. I liked her answers to your questions- great questions to give insight to the author.
Adding this one to the TBR!
Love finding new to me authors. This sounds like a winner!
Sounds like a really good book
Your 3 word summary of Hostage made me want to read it even more!! The way you said that reading a book can either hurt if your are in a fragile state or uplift is very true! I find I have to choose my books wisely. Some just linger on in my mind (and mood!). Great interview!
Thank you for the opportunity. This sounds so good.
Sounds intriguing! Thank you for the chance, this book seems right up my street 😊
Sounds intense! Definitely on my must read list.
My favorite comment the author made during the interview was how writers are a lot like therapists, they have to peel the layers away from the characters to dig in. I like that!
So true! 🙂
I can’t wait to read this book! Thanks for the opportunity!
Looking forward to reading and sharing!
Can’t wait to read this
Sounds like an exciting read!
Sounds great. And I guess I also need to read “American Dirt”!
This book sounds so good !
This books sounds fantastic! Thanks for the chance to win it. 🙂
Sounds like a great book !!
Thanks for the chance
Thanks for the chance. Looking forward to the book.
Can’t wait to check this one out!
This sounds like a good read…one that keeps you on the edge and hard to put down…my favorite type of read! Thank you for the chance!
Can’t wait to read Hostage. It sounds so in!
Ooh sounds so good!
Your new book sounds wonderful ❤️❤️ Really loved your interview 😘
I cannot wait to read this book!
This is a new to me author. I love finding amazing authors to love and binge all of their stories. It sounds like this is one of those authors! Thanks for sharing!
I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I like that it’s a little different in the thriller genre as far as the plane hostage situation. Most thrillers I’ve read are about domestic violence and missing people. So this one is the next TBR on my list.
This looks so good! I can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance!
This sounds like a terrific book, adding it to my tbr list now!
Sounds like a interesting page turner! I would love to read it.
Sounds like an interesting book!
I want to read this one! Looks like a suspense that will keep you turning the pages!
This sounds great!! Adding to my To-Read list!!