Dead At First Sight, the first book the author wrote after moving to the Island from Sussex two years ago, mentioned Jersey, but this is the first novel set entirely in the Island, and features local landmarks, history and even the Jersey Evening Post.
With worldwide sales of over 20 million copies and 16 Sunday Times bestsellers, this publication could provide the level of exposure for Jersey in the literary world that Bergerac did on the small screen.
‘Jersey is such a fertile place for inspiration and so little has been written here. I hope the book encourages people to come and find out about the Island for themselves,’ said Mr James. ‘Hopefully people will read it and want to visit Jersey.
‘I love the place; it’s beautiful, the food is great and it is so friendly,’ he said, adding that his Brighton-based Roy Grace novels had given the seaside town a boost, with Visit Brighton placing a Roy Grace novel in every hotel.
An ITV adaptation of two of the novels will also be filmed in Brighton later this year, starring Life on Mars actor John Simm as Roy Grace and written by Endeavour’s Russell Lewis.
The storyline for I Follow You is based on an incident involving the author’s wife, Lara, who had an unnerving experience when she was out jogging.
The couple lived in Sussex at the time and Lara, a keen marathon runner, used the Strava app to track her progress. After acknowleding a fellow runner one day on an isolated rural path, she noticed that he started taking the exact same routes as her.
‘Within the next few days, I noticed this chap had started following me. I didn’t know him at all. I was scared but also curious about how much information I was giving away on the app,’ said Lara, who realised how easy it would be to stalk someone using one of these apps.
‘It wouldn’t take much before you could look up someone’s patterns of when they run, where they live, when they’re away. It’s so easy to follow someone. It’s a big cautionary tale – be careful who you’re letting see your profile,’ said Lara. The incident prompted her to suggest it to her husband as a scenario for a novel.
The result is I Follow You, which is described as a fast-paced thriller that looks inside the mind of a stalker, giving an unnerving insight into how they think, while featuring the author’s trademark twists and page-turning plot. The story features a prominent doctor at the General Hospital who becomes obsessed with a runner who looks like one of his previous girlfriends. He begins to use a running app to track her movements to try to get into her life and her heart. But events take a tragically unexpected turn.
Readers will be able to have a sneak preview of I Follow You with extracts from the novel appearing in the paper today and tomorrow and every day next week before the book is officially launched on Thursday.
lThere is also a competition giving readers a chance to win one of ten copies signed by the author. See pages 18 and 19 for more details.