Bishop's Stortford College Festival of Literature: Tammy Cohen drew on her own real-life family drama for her crime thriller Stop at Nothing
The real-life attempted abduction of her own daughter formed the framework for author Tammy Cohen's latest crime thriller, Stop at Nothing.
The former freelance journalist, who wrote features for many national titles, including The Times, Daily Telegraph and women's magazine Marie Claire, drew on her own family drama and her feelings as a mother when something like this happens.
"That feeling of helplessness as a parent... did you take your eye off the ball? What if he's still there and can you protect her?" said Tammy.
"You want to do something and make sure that it doesn't happen again, and that stayed with me, so this book takes that feeling and has the same bare bones in that there's an attack, she fails to ID him and then sees him again in the street.
"But the mother then takes matters into her own hands, starts stalking the man, becoming obsessed with him and it becomes quite dangerous."
An audience at the Bishop's Stortford College Festival of Literature on Wednesday evening (February 12) will hear Tammy and fellow crime writer Emma Curtis being interviewed about their careers and writing processes.
"It's the first time I've visited Stortford and the festival so I'm very excited," she said, explaining that even as a journalist she had always wanted to write fiction and got the chance in 2008-09 when her freelance work began to dry up.
"I would never finish a full-length book – when there was no deadline or contract it's quite a difficult thing to do. I would get to 10,000 words and just lose confidence and give up.
"But when it started to look bleak in journalism and I had a period of insomnia, I started writing fiction in the night with a view that I needed another career.
"I got to 10,000 words of Mistress of Revenge [her first published novel] and sent it off to an agent to look over and they thought it had potential."
From there things happened quickly and now, with a handful of crime novels as well as historical fiction, written under the name of Rachel Rhys, under her belt, Tammy has sealed her place as one of the best in her genre.
* Emma Curtis and Tammy Cohen will be in conversation with fellow crime author Chris Whitaker at Bishop's Stortford College's Festival of Literature on Wednesday February 12, from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. Tickets priced £8 for adults and £5.50 for 16- to 18-year-olds are available online.