Book: Secrets of the Tide

By Linda Hall

As books editor for the Hawke's Bay Today I've had hundreds of books land on my desk.

Secrets of the Tides is the first one I've come across with such a glowing introduction from the publisher.

One quote says: "It is such an exciting feeling reading something that you know is really special and discovering an author who has the talent and the story to win hearts."

So confident were the publishers that the original manuscript was sent out for review.

I thought, "wow ... impressive". I know it's a publisher's job to sell their authors, but once I started reading I understood exactly what they meant.

Secrets of the Tides is a wonderful, moving story of a family of five - mum, dad, two girls and a boy - torn apart by tragedy.

Set on a clifftop overlooking the sea, the same story is told through the eyes of the three main female characters, Helen, the mother, and daughters Cassie and Dora.

I especially fell for Dora.

Author Hannah Richell is British by birth and worked in book publishing and the film industry in London for eight years. She now lives in Sydney with her husband, and their two young children.

"I worked in the film industry for 18 months when I first emigrated," Hannah says. "Then when I had my son and was on maternity leave I decided now was the time. I would put him down for a sleep and run to the kitchen table to write.

"Inspired by being a new mum I started with a family. I had this absolute sense of overwhelming love for my baby and wondered what would need to happen to break that bond.

"It took a while to 'grow' my characters. They developed as I went. I gave them time to explore, grow and breathe.

"I would think I was on track. Then suddenly they would do X instead of Y and I would have one of those lightbulb moments when the storyline took a twist or gathered a quirk.

"My characters are a bit like the sea, calm on the surface but below there is turmoil."

It took Hannah four years to complete the book. The time included the birth of her second child.

"I looked at my writing as a secret hobby ... something I would do on the side," Hannah says.

"I was too scared to tell anyone. I expected people to be annoyed or disappointed in my writing."

Hannah says books have always played a big part in her life.

"I come from a bookish family. My parents were passionate about reading. We would always get books for presents on birthdays and at Christmas."

Her advice to aspiring writers is to just start.

"You can dream about it but you need to make time and build writing into your day, every day."

Hannah is now writing her second novel which is also about three women connected by a dark secret.

Watch out for this author, I have a feeling that she is going to be a bestseller before she knows it.



Win a copy of Hannah Richell's Secrets of the Tides.

Send your name and contact details, by July 4, to

- Hamilton News

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