Updated: May 11
Hello! I’m Miranda Rijks and I live in sunny Sussex in the south of England with my husband and black Labrador. Our daughter is a musician studying in Boston, USA, and she doesn’t come home nearly enough! I write psychological thrillers and mystery books. The Obituary is my first psychological thriller and it’s a stand-alone novel. I’m currently writing book number three of a series featuring a psychologist called Dr Pippa Durrant. She specializes in lie detection techniques and helps Sussex police solve murders!
I’m writing full-time now, but that’s only come about in the last year. Before that I ran a number of businesses and was a business coach. I have a degree in Law, a Masters in Writing and various qualifications in psychometric testing and coaching. In 2015 I got diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, which is a rare bone cancer, and we had to move from our lovely home in the Peak District to London for my treatment. After a hellish year, during which our house was sold, we moved to Sussex, which is where I’m from originally. We built a house (crazy!) and I wrote a book called Don’t Call Me Brave, which is a novel very loosely drawing upon my experiences of having cancer.
When did you realise that you wanted to write and publish a book?
A very long time ago! I’m not new to writing. My first book, called How Compatible Are You? was published by Bloomsbury Publishing. Fast forward ten years, and I wrote a biography called The Eccentric Entrepreneur published by The History Press. In 2012, in my spare time, I completed a distance-learning Masters in Writing because whilst I knew I could write non-fiction, I really wanted to gain confidence in writing fiction. I’ve written a few novels that will stay in a hidden file on my computer, never to see the light of day!
Okay, so you have decided to write a book, where did you start? Research? A single idea? Tell us what got the ball rolling.
I love reading psychological thrillers so it seemed natural to write in a genre I enjoy. One day I was flicking through a newspaper and glanced at the obituaries page. I wondered what would happen if someone wrote an obituary about a person who was still alive. That idea sowed the seed for The Obituary. I have decided to set all my novels in Sussex, near where I live. I know the area well and it is fun mixing fiction with reality.
Once you had started, how long did the process take?
It took me just over three months to write. That’s pretty quick but I love writing and once I’ve got clarity on the plot, the writing happens fast. It helps that I type as fast as I think!
What were the things along the way that both helped and hindered you during the writing of this book?
I work regularly with a book coach. Emily Tamayo Maher of The Meaning Method is American and lives in Columbia, so we speak on Skype. I find it really helpful to bounce plot ideas off her. At the end of a typical call, I’ll have a line or two for each chapter and that’s enough direction for me to go off and write a few thousand words. I really admire fiction writers who can work totally alone. I can’t. I think it’s particularly hard writing thrillers that have lots of plots lines and dead ends, and I know that if I do it alone, I get my knickers in a twist!
Did the process of writing this book come naturally to you? Did it run smoothly? Or was it an uphill battle?
I’m lucky. Writing comes easily to me, but then again, I’ve done a lot of it! I must have written millions and millions of words over the years, including press releases, business plans, online content, magazine articles and about ten books.
Set the scene. When you sat down to write, where were you? What did you need to help you? Did you have a routine with your writing? Tell us what was conducive to a successful writing session.
I write at the kitchen table. I have an office, but it’s small and at the back of the house, and since we’ve moved into our new house, I use it as my dumping ground! I like the kitchen because the room is big and very light, and I keep the dog company. Also I’ve got a lovely view onto the garden and the woods behind us. Last summer we spent some time in Switzerland and that was so conducive to my writing! The fabulous mountain air, those jaw-dropping views and no builders giving me hassle, meant the words flowed. I try to write everyday but if I don’t manage any writing, I try not to beat myself up too much. If I miss a few days, it’s harder to get back into the flow.
Did you enjoy the process and is it something that you plan to do again?
Yes, yes and yes! I love writing and hope that I’ll have lots of novels published over the next few years. I’m excited about self-publishing as it allows the author a great deal of control over the process.
Whilst you were writing the book, what inspired you? What made you keep at it and not push delete?
My book coach Emily is a great help, making sure I stay on track and don’t let those inevitable dips in self-confidence get the better of me. And my husband too. He is my first beta reader and when he eventually comes to bed at 3am because he can’t put my book down, I know I’m on the right track! But most of all, it’s getting positive feedback from readers. There is nothing more wonderful than good reviews or receiving messages from readers telling you how much they’ve enjoyed your book.
Now the book is written, finished and published, is there anything looking back that you would have done differently?
No. Like anything worthwhile, writing and publishing a book is an ongoing learning curve, so I’m hopeful that I will get better at the whole process the more I write.
Did you find the cover design part of the process difficult or enjoyable? And what were the feelings and emotions of handing your creation over to someone else to have the cover designed?
I loved the cover design part of the process. It was such a joy working with Tim, who nailed the cover of The Obituary on the very first attempt. I’ve had so many compliments on the book cover. It’s very genre specific but has a wonderful feel to it. Tim is designing the covers for my next two books and will do the whole series. I think that says it all!
Is there any advice that you would like to offer anybody reading this who is currently writing, or thinking of writing a book?
Just do it! Writing is like anything else. The more you do it, the better you get. And think about working with a coach – I thoroughly recommend it. But most of all, enjoy the process and don’t focus too much on the end result. It takes a huge amount of time and energy to write a book so relish the journey!
Check out the fantastic new novel by Miranda Rijks. An unputdownable psychological thriller with a nerve-shattering twist!
You can follow Miranda Rijks at
Cover designed by DISSECT DESIGNS
Thank you for reading this fascinating interview. Please check back often for more from the 'Meet the Authors' series of interviews.
If you require a book cover created for your novel, contact me now and we can talk through ideas.