Carving Out Some Family Time by Isabel Ashdown

Like many writers, I’m a workaholic, forever struggling with the concept of ‘downtime’ because my office and home are one and the same.  When you’re self-employed, there’s always something you could be doing at your desk – editing that last chapter, plotting out the next book, researching crimes, updating the website or Twitter or Instagram or Facebook … It’s fair to say, my working week is a long one, and the end of the To-Do list never really comes.

But as well as being a writer and workaholic, I’m a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend, and as a result, I’m occasionally dragged away from my desk and instructed to relax.  To have fun.  I come from an artistic family, so for me, true relaxation means making and creating, and this is where the pumpkin carving began – a few years ago, one fateful Halloween, when I was up to my eyes in deskwork and my husband Colin was away from home.  For the first time ever, the task of carving the Halloween Jack O’Lantern fell to me.  ‘You have to do it,’ my two (then) small children demanded.  ‘But I have a deadline,’ I complained.  ‘What’s a deadline?’ they asked, straight-faced.  And with that, I realised my deadline could wait.  I shut the office door and headed for the kitchen, where we set about the pumpkin, trying to work out which knife would serve best without taking off the top of my thumb.

That year, we started with a few standard ghoulish faces.  To my surprise, I found I was quite good at it.  Carving those pumpkins really was relaxing and fun, serving to both distract me from my work and trick my kids into believing I was the most talented Mum ever.  The following year, I elbowed Colin out of the way and proposed a Minion, earning more brownie points with the children.  It became a tradition, and whilst we have had a few fails along the way (including a cat that looked more like Freddie Mercury), we’ve enjoyed making every one.  A few years on, and I started to show off, using a giant pumpkin we’d grown ourselves to create the ‘Hallo-weenie’ pumpkin – homage to my pesky little dachshund Leonard.  Well, let me tell you, when I posted the picture on social media, it almost broke the internet!  More recently, when my October-born daughter turned eighteen … well, naturally an ‘18’ pumpkin appeared as centrepiece to her party.  She groaned at the time, but I know she loved it.

The latest creation is in celebration of my very first book release in the USA, Little Sister, and I hope the creepy, glowing pumpkin gives readers a hint at the chilling tale which lies within the pages of the book.

Happy Halloween everyone!

“Gripping. . . . Recommend to fans of Paula Hawkins and Fiona Barton.” —Booklist

No one knows you better than a sister—your dreams, your fears, your mistakes, and all your secrets.

It was just that way when Jess and her older sister, Emily, were children. Born barely a year apart, they were deeply entwined, complementing each other in their differences. When Jess felt awkward and shy, Emily, the consummate big sister, was happy to take the lead.

After a long estrangement, they’ve become close again. Jess moves into the comfortable Isle of Wight home Emily shares with her husband, step-daughter, and toddler. Any misgivings about the past are swept away and forgotten.

And then, on New Year’s Eve, little Daisy disappears while in Jess’s care.

Jess is in shock, unable to remember what happened. Emily, traumatized, watches helplessly as her life unravels. But as the search intensifies and the police detective’s questions grow more pointed, a different picture emerges. Behind the image of a seemingly happy family—Daisy’s doting teenage sister, Chloe, loving father and husband, James, and siblings Emily and Jess—there are devastating deceptions and long-ago choices that can never be unmade. And underlying everything is the story of what really happened to drive Emily and Jess apart years ago.

Unfolding through shifting perspectives, Little Sister is a brilliantly plotted, dark, and constantly surprising tale of love, rivalry, and broken loyalty that reveals how far one sister might go to protect—or destroy—another . . .

An International Sensation

Praise for Little Sister

“A missing baby girl, a marriage ravaged by mistrust, a sibling rivalry with a very dark heart: Little Sister had me gripped from start to finish.” –Louise Candlish, author of The Swimming Pool

“Constantly had me changing my mind, guessing, then reevaluating everything I’d read. I adored this book.” –Lisa Cutts, author of Mercy Killing

“Couldn’t put it down . . . darn thing kept me up until 2 am! Brilliant gripping read.” –Liz Fenwick, author of The Returning Tide

“Excellent twists and turns.” –SJ Holliday, author of Willow Walk

“Grips the reader from the opening chapter. . . . I found myself racing to the end to discover the true villain of story.” –Sarah Ward, author of A Deadly Thaw

“Addictive and brimming with dark surprises.” –Juliet West, author of The Faithful

“With family secrets, lies and betrayals at its dark heart, it’s my kind of thriller, and it thrums with suspense—I had to stay up late into the night to finish it.” –Jane Rusbridge, author of Rook

“This thriller doesn’t hesitate to pull you into the twisted world of family secrets and sibling rivalry. A great story with characters that just leap off the page and a thoroughly satisfying ending.” –Katerina Diamond, Sunday Times bestseller of The Teacher

“A brilliant twisty and compelling story. . . . This book had me totally gripped!” –Sam Carrington, author of Saving Sophie

“Kept me up three nights in a row, I was desperate to race to the end but gutted to finish it.” –Holly Seddon, author of Don’t Close Your Eyes

“A tense and claustrophobic read.” –Lesley Thomson, author of The House With No Rooms