Rachel Sargeant AuthorRachel Sargeant
Jan 1st, 2018

Thank you, Terry Lynn, for letting me have a post on your website.
I really appreciate the opportunity to engage with you and other readers in the United States.


What was your favorite book as a child?
I wasn't a big reader as a child but I absolutely loved Summer with Tommy by Caroline Silver. It was the author's account of looking after an abandoned pony.


What inspired you to be a writer?
In 1999 I attended a summer ball where a palm reader had been hired as part of the evening's entertainment. For a bit of fun I had my palm read. The lady was most insistent that I should give writing a try. So I did.


What is your day job?
I work as a school librarian and promote reading to pupils aged 7 to 13. I write my first drafts in the long summer holidays and edit them throughout the year when I get home from work.


Tell us about your current release. What inspired you to write it?
HarperCollins has recently published my psychological thriller, The Perfect Neighbors. It sprang from two ideas. The first one formed after I read about an outrageous real-life crime and the second idea was for the setting.


Where is your book set? What draws you to this setting?
The book is set in a close-knit expat community in Germany. I was interested in this setting because I lived in a similar place for ten years. I wondered whether the crime I had in my mind for my novel could happen in a neighbourhood where everyone knows everyone's business, or thinks they do.


Who is the protagonist?
The lead character is Helen Taylor who gives up her successful teaching career in England to join her new husband at an international school in Germany.


What/who is the obstacle that your character faces?
She feels stifled by the claustrophobic atmosphere of the street in which she lives. Convinced that one neighbour holds a sinister power over the others and that Gary is hiding something, she strikes up a dangerous friendship with mysterious and brooding local man Sascha Jakobsen.

Eight months later she's arrested for murder.

From her police cell she looks back on the claustrophobic routine of expat life and sees through the polite veneer into a community of dark secrets and petty jealousies. Which of her neighbours should she have trusted?  Who was the menacing puppeteer in their midst?


What are you reading right now?
Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie


If you could give advice to a new writer starting out, what would that be?
Write, write, write and read, read, read.


About The Perfect Neighbors
Published: 15th December 2017 (HarperCollins Killer Reads)

The perfect neighbours tell the perfect lies... When Helen moves to Germany with her loving husband Gary, she can't wait to join the expat community of teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare.

Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret... As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace.

When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the neighbourhood, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything.


Extract from The Perfect Neighbours : Chapter 8
When Gisela went to get the second bottle of Sekt from the kitchen, she saw Sascha on the balcony. He was hanging out his trunks and towel. It wasn't that long ago he would have left them in his bag on the floor, expecting that his washing would reappear clean and dry on his bed. But he no longer expected that of his mother; he no longer expected much of her at all.

He turned round, and she darted into the lounge. With the first bottle already inside her, she had to grab the doorframe to keep herself upright. She fell into an armchair and hid the new bottle under a cushion. She lit a cigarette and inhaled so hard that she hacked up phlegm.

Pages: 1 2


Available from Amazon US: The Perfect Neighbours