Thea M Hartley ( Phillips) was born and bred in the valley town of Merthyr Tydfil. She had three children by the age of 20, and entered university when the children were older, gaining a degree in Psychology, Masters in Women's Studies and Diploma in Psychotherapy.
Thea was a Psychology and Counselling Lecturer for 30 years, and worked for a cancer charity, before retiring earlier due to an eye condition which causes blindness. This led her to her following a lifelong dream to write a book, and, encouraged by an online writing forum called, "Merthyr Writes", set about producing a biography of her grandfather called "The French Letter King". At the forum she also gave aid to other would-be authors. Thea's book was recently published and is available from Amazon online in hardback, paperback and Kindle version.
Where did the idea for your new novel, ‘No Refuge’ come from?
The idea came from the stories I had heard from women in refuges for escape from domestic violence.
What’s the book about?
The book is about domestic violence, sexual addiction and deviance and about not judging people by stereotypes. It’s set in a Welsh Valley town called, Merthyr Tydfil, where I was born.
How much plotting do you do before beginning writing a book?
I do no plotting as such. I think up an idea and go with it. The plot evolves as I write and my subconscious takes over.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done in the name of research?
I've researched strange sexual practices and asked people in the sex industry about their experiences.
Where do you get your ideas for your characters from and did you have a favourite in ‘No Refuge’?
My ideas for characters are subconscious mixes of people from real life. No one person, more a composite of characters. My favourite character in,"No Refuge" was Vince. He’s quite a complex character which makes the reader wonder if he’s a good guy or a bad guy. You’ll have to read the book to find out which one he is!
Will ‘No Refuge’ be part of a series or a stand-alone novel?
"No refuge" is a stand-alone novel, although I suppose it could have a sequel.
Which crime writer would you compare your writing style to?
I would compare my writing style with Val McDermid or Peter James, but essentially my own.
What advice would you pass on to new writers that you wish someone would have told you when you were starting out?
The advice I would pass to new writers is not to give up trying to publish your book …even though it’s very difficult, I would tell them that if they have a passion for writing, and find it a delight not a chore to write ...then keep at it! However, if they find it difficult, and a chore ...then to reconsider their choice of career! For myself, writing is as essential as breathing.
What are you working on at present?
I’m working on "Tooth and Claw" the 4th Psychological mystery Thriller featuring Psychologist, Resa James.
Where can people purchase ‘No Refuge’ from?
No Refuge can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk