What drives a woman to murder? A whydunnit rather than a whodunnit, Sleep follows Lizzy Dyson, who is on trial for killing her husband and his lover. Was it premeditated, a crime of passion, or a moment of madness? Told through a series of flashbacks and testimony, the struggles that drove Lizzy Dyson to murder the man she loved are revealed.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to explore what drives a woman to murder. Having experienced anger & frustration in my own relationships, I wanted to explore what could possible push someone that far, especially someone who still loved their spouse so much. For women it can be hard juggling so much: work and running a home, and then if they choose to have children it’s even more. If they start to feel unsupported by their partner it can really tip the balance. I wanted the reader to understand and even feel sympathy for her.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I feel that the main character, Lizzy Dyson, is based on a reflection of myself, as well as other people I have known. Some of her stories have elements of my own as well as other people's, and the entire novel is set in an area I used to live in. For a time I lived like the characters in the book, going out at the weekend and drinking and socialising. The tales of people's lives and relationships are far more twisted in real life than in any fiction novel.
I didn't really feel Lizzy's husband was coming across as mean enough, so his best friend was created to sort of pick up the slack, and he grew as I wrote the book.
It was going round and round, and no matter how high she pulled the sheets up she could still hear it. It had been going for hours, and it was keeping her awake. She was already angry, this just made it worse.
Lizzy hated being laughed at and he’d known that. But he’d carried on, hadn’t he? Behind her back and in front of people they’d both known. He’d made her one big fat joke! Fat, yes, there was that word again, one he’d kept using, along with his mate Reedy. They’d loved making jokes at her expense, any kind of put down would do, whether it was about her weight, her inability to have children, her lack of libido, anything to give them a good laugh. They’d laughed a lot, hadn’t they? Right in front of her sometimes. And he hadn’t cared how upset it had made her – or how angry, oh no, he’d just thrown back his head and laughed. Yes, she was fucking hilarious!
But she’s had the last laugh now, hasn’t she? Served him right.
It wasn’t just that though, there were many things – like the house. He’d never done anything round the house. She would ask as pleasantly as possible, try hard not to nag, but lately it just seemed to spark a row and he’d storm out, leaving her to do it. Then when he’d get back, he’d make out she was playing the martyr, saying she was doing it deliberately herself so she could moan about it later. It made her so angry!
The buzzing was getting louder; it was still going round the bedroom. Then it got caught in the net-curtains, bashing its little body against the glass. The tapping was irritating, getting right inside her head just like they had. She’d had enough!
She jumped out of bed and snapped on the light. It was a huge bluebottle fly. She rolled up a magazine lying on the bedside table and attacked it. It took three hard swats to kill it, even then its little legs still twitched, but it wouldn’t be getting up again.
Satisfied, she flicked the light off and hopped back into the warm bed, snuggling down deep. With her anger dissipated, she drifted off to sleep.
Once again, she became aware of buzzing. She didn’t know how long she’d slept but it felt brief. There were two of them this time. She just lay there, letting them get the feel of the room, her anger rising.
This was all his fault; they wouldn’t be keeping her awake if it wasn’t for him. She’d known things hadn’t been right between them for years; they didn’t talk or touch anymore. And yes she’d let herself go, she knew that too. He hadn’t needed to keep saying it. But she’d seen no point in making the effort anymore. She was always too angry and he was too preoccupied.
She hadn’t been surprised when she’d found out – she’d known it would only be a matter of time. Lizzy had seen her too, a pretty blonde thing: young, slim – his usual type. But he hadn’t been discreet; he’d paraded her round the pubs for weeks and weeks, even snogging with her at the bar. Then the ultimate of betrayals: he’d brought her here, to their home. She couldn’t have that, not in her house, not in their bed. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. He’d known that.
She’d had enough of these two. She clambered out of bed again, this time more slowly giving her body a chance to wake up, and switched on the light. She blinked, waiting for her eyes to adjust, but as she did another fat one came in under the door. She sighed. This was getting ridiculous. She couldn’t put up with this.
She opened the bedroom door and stepped out onto the landing. There were plenty more out here. They all seemed to be flying in and out of the master bedroom. The door was ajar giving them easy access.
She walked across the landing and pushed it wider, looking in. This was where they had spent the ten years of their marriage: the first five loving, the last five screaming. The thought made her sad.
The sound in here was no longer an individual buzz, it was more of a collective hum. It reverberated off the walls filling the entire room. She switched on the light.
The sheet had fallen off and with the small top window open hundreds of them had come in, attracted to the scent.
She stood there staring at them lying on the bed, expressions of horror frozen on their faces. They hadn’t expected her to come home; they thought they’d got away with it. Had it been the first time? She didn’t know. But the freezer knife had surprised them – and herself if she was honest.
It had been a strange sensation when she’d plunged it into his back, not quite how she’d expected. It had been difficult at first, like pushing a knife into hard butter, gaining speed once the surface was broken. When he’d arched his back in response, she’d had trouble hanging on, but she’d persisted until his resistance had slowed and he’d slumped down onto his woman, who’d started screaming hysterically, eager to get out from under him.
It’s the only reason Lizzy had killed her. All that noise would definitely bring the neighbours round and she couldn’t have that. She’d brought a swift end to it, the gurgling only lasting a few seconds. But it had been a shame; she’d had such a pretty neck.
A fly flew into Lizzy’s face jerking her out of her reverie. She couldn’t just stand here reminiscing, she had to get them covered up again to get rid of the flies, otherwise she’d never get back to sleep.
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