An emotionally resonant and beautifully crafted story
Filled with emotion, Lost In Nashville is a captivating read - one that will appeal to country music fans and readers alike
Lisa Hall - number one bestselling author of Between You and Me
A heartwarming, funny, emotional road trip
Steve Cavanagh - bestselling author of the Eddie Flynn novels, including Thirteen and Twisted
As heartbreaking and heart-warming as the very best country music - laugh, cry and singalong
Steph Broadribb - author of smash hit Drop Down Dead
Like the best country music songs, this beautifully-written story will make you laugh and cry, and will stay with you long after the final words
LOST IN NASHVILLE
Lost In Nashville is my first venture beyond crime fiction, the genre in which I have written twelve novels, including a number one bestseller. Lost In Nashville is different though, because it's the book I'd always wanted to write. A labour of love, in many ways.
My own journey with the book begins, I suppose, with my childhood, living in 1970’s northern England. My father was a Johnny Cash obsessive. It was the only music he played, and he had to have everything he released, even if the albums were just greatest hits compilations of songs he had already.
It was the weekends when the house came alive with Johnny Cash. He would work during the week, and by the time he got home it was too late to play records. But when the weekends came around, it was the deep boom of Johnny’s voice that would wake me and my two brothers, and that chugga-chugga guitar rhythm would fill the house.
The thing with childhood habits is that they become a part of your life that you can’t do without, and that’s how it was with Johnny Cash, and the older I got, the more I sought him out.
It was a map that was the genus of the Lost In Nashville book.
I can’t remember if it was a train of thought that popped into my head, or it came about because of something I read, but I remember looking at a map and noticing how close Dyess was to Memphis, and then I saw Nashville just further along. And Starkville. And Gatlinburg, which I knew from Boy Named Sue. The seed was planted. A road trip. And not just any old road trip, but a Johnny Cash road trip. What could be better?
The answer: a book about the road trip.
My journey as a published writer had begun by this stage, with thrillers published by HarperCollins under my belt, but this created a problem, as I couldn’t write two books at the same time, as my deadlines were always looming, and with edits to do, and I just wouldn’t have the mental energy. I was still working as a lawyer at this point, a Senior Crown Prosecutor (for the American readers, this is probably equivalent to an Assistant District Attorney), and I had a family, and there is only too much time in the day.
Then, a gap appeared.
I had completed my ninth novel and hadn’t yet agreed a contract with my publisher. It was on. I could do the trip and write it.
These things never run smoothly though.
The premise of the book was always going to be about a father and son travelling the trip, because I would have loved to have taken my own father on the trip. In the book, the father and son are estranged. That pretty much described my own relationship with my father. I wanted to take him, knowing how he would have loved it, but his ill-health meant that it was never going to happen.
I did the trip with a friend instead. He isn’t a Johnny Cash fan, so we came to a deal: we could do the Johnny Cash stuff during the day, provided that we were in a bar by seven. That was fine by me. And many of the incidents in the book occurred on the trip.
I did the trip in 2015. I wrote the book that year, before I signed a contract for more thrillers, and it was the book I enjoyed writing the most.
I hope you enjoy Lost In Nashville. I’m proud of it, but you enjoying would be my greatest thrill.