1) I don’t really like talking about myself. I don’t think I’m a particularly interesting person. I struggled with thinking of seven things about me that people would want to know. I thought about talking about other people in my life instead, and how they’ve influenced my writing, but that would still indirectly be about me, wouldn’t it? That’s why I didn’t write acknowledgements in my book – I did try, but no matter what I did it just felt narcissistic, like a mawkish Oscar’s acceptance speech. So I might as well stop trying to be clever about it and just write seven things about myself. Well, this counts as one thing, so six things, now. 

Rebecca Pert, Still Water

Rebecca Pert, Still Water

2.) I’m an overthinker. Oh really? Had you guessed?! It’s why it took me so long to write my book; every word had a synonym that might be better, every plot point a different direction it could go in. I ruminated endlessly over the smallest sentences. It’s not a good mindset to be in when writing a novel, it’s stifling and infuriating. I need to learn to be a bit freer and looser, to trust myself more. 

3.) At the start of 2018, my life changed in two seismic, unexpected ways – I found out I was pregnant, and I found out that I’d won the Cheltenham Literature Festival’s First Novel Competition, which led to the publication of STILL WATER. The baby was a lot less work than the novel. He’s very easy-going. He didn’t even cry when he was born! He’s three now and a total joy; I love him so much I sometimes think my chest is going to burst. 

4.) I’ve recently found out I’m pregnant again, just as I’m working on my second book. Apparently, I like my books and babies to gestate at the same time. I’m due in November and very excited. 

5.) My second book is going to be loosely based on the time I worked as a hotel chambermaid (“housekeeping operative” if you want its technical title), which was a horrible job but fascinating in a way. I’ve worked lots of different jobs: rollercoaster operator, cleaner, receptionist, telemarketer, medical secretary, security guard, librarian. I’m lucky enough now to have a job as a university administrator – part-time, to fit around childcare, with lovely colleagues. 

6.) I grew up in a small town in Devon, in a house that looks almost exactly like 4 Privet Drive in the Harry Potter films. My parents are nothing like Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia though. When I was young I couldn’t wait to leave, move to a big city and live an exciting glamorous life. Turns out I hated living in a big city. Now I live in an even smaller town than the one I grew up in. I have a very un-exciting, un-glamorous life, and absolutely love it. 

7.) I’ve run out of things to say, so here’s a random fact: I have something called Exploding Head Syndrome (it’s not as gory as it sounds so don’t be scared to Google it). 

About Still Water

When Jane Douglas returns to the Shetland Islands, she thinks she has escaped the dark shadows of her childhood. She carves out a simple life on the bleak, windswept island, working at the salmon fishery and spending quiet evenings at home. And for the first time in her life, she’s happy.

Then the body of Jane’s long-missing mother is found in a flooded quarry. Her mother disappeared when Jane was a teenager, following the death of Jane’s baby brother. Jane has spent her life running from her past, living in fear that she has inherited her mother’s demons. Now, Jane must face what actually happened on that fateful, tragic day twenty years ago…

Still Water is a stunning novel that explores some important and heavy themes around postpartum psychosis and motherhood. This is perfect for fans of Sarah Waters, Leila Slimani and Gillian Flynn’s writing.

About Rebecca Pert 

Rebecca Pert was born in 1990, the youngest of four siblings. She grew up in a small town in Devon before attending Cardiff University, where she received an MA in Creative Writing. Rebecca was the winner of the first Cheltenham Festival First Novel Competition in 2018. She now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, son and dog. Still Water is Rebecca’s first novel.