The Birthplace of The Missing One

19 Jan 2015

The Missing One USA hardback The Missing One USA hardback


I keep remembering what it was like to guiltily work on a book I was sure would never be published. I wrote The Missing One while living in a suburb of Boston, USA. I’d sit in Lincoln Street Coffee (now closed – perhaps too many customers stayed 3 hours with one Americano?) or the tiny George Howell Coffee near our house George Howell Coffee   or  – frequently – the beautiful Newton Free Library  feeling really guilty (I had other things, paid things, to work on) and wondering what on earth I was doing this for.  And now, a year after it’s UK publication,The Missing One is about to hit the shelves back in its birthplace.

My favourite bookshop when we lived in the Boston area was the beautiful Newtonville Books  and they are kindly hosting the launch event for The Missing One on 12th February.  My friend, Nick, sent me this photo as he walked past the window yesterday. All those lonely, guilty, self-doubting hours in Newton, MA were worth it in the end.

missingone newtonville books


Gibraltar event

18 Nov 2014

Kate Mosse, Joanne Harris, Erica Wagner, Gibraltar 2014 Kate Mosse, Joanne Harris, Erica Wagner, Gibraltar 2014

I am sitting in Gibraltar Airport lounge, surrounded by Literary Festival dignitaries – from where I’m parked, I can see Lord Carey, Ben Okri, Claudia Roden, Nicholas Parsons, and Patti Boulaye.  If the plane goes down (yikes) there’ll be some fabulous headlines.

The Gibraltar Literary Festival has certainly been an interesting  – and intense – experience.  I was here for a panel discussion skilfully chaired by Erica Wagner (for many years literary editor of The Times), along with writers Joanne Harris and Kate Mosse. Among other things, we talked about the politics of book jackets: how novels by women are often dumbed down, visually, and in the process, trivialised.  Then Mosse made a point that says it all: ‘if David Nicholls had been Davina Nicholls,’ she said, ‘there would have definitely been a kiss on the cover of One Day.’ Later, I went to hear Mosse talk about her excellent new novel The Taxidermist’s Daughter (which she called ‘a bit of fun’, making me want to curl up in the foetal position and give up writing forever). Mosse set up the Orange (now Bailey’s) prize for Fiction and told the story of how, at the prize’s launch, the first question from the media was: ‘Are you a lesbian?’

You’d think the literary world would be enlightened, egalitarian, valuing only talent but there is still a long way to go (even though women buy more books than men). People like Mosse and Harris and Wagner – and the brilliant Maggie Gee, (another fascinating talk in Gibraltar), who speak out about this, articulately and uncompromisingly and with humour, are an inspiration.  I am coming off the rock feeling very lucky to have met them.

Maggie Gee at Gibraltar 2014 Maggie Gee at Gibraltar 2014

Talking in York

31 Oct 2014

This coming Thursday – 6th November – I’ll be taking the train up to York for an event  at York St John University (Quad South Hall), 7-9.30pm with the novelist Nuala Casey. Her psychological thriller, Summer Lies Bleeding, was published in August and it’s absolutely gripping. We’ll be reading from our books and answering questions.


And here’s Nuala (in her spare time she’s also a supermodel):

Novelist Nuala Casey Novelist Nuala Casey

Dr Goodhart

23 Sep 2014

quick selfie at the British Medical Association quick selfie at the British Medical Association


I am so happy today that my good friend, clinical psychologist Dr Frances Goodhart ( who I wrote How to Feel Better with has received the professional endorsement she so thoroughly deserves. Last night How to Feel Better won Highly Commended at the British Medical Association Book Awards (Popular Medicine category).  I organized her words on the page but ALL the content/goodsense/compassion/25 years of expertise and hard work is hers. She really deserves this!


How To Feel Better by Dr. Frances Goodhart and Lucy Atkins


Festival of Writing

9 Sep 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 17.19.29I will be there this weekend, in York, being a ‘book doctor’ and running a workshop with Stef Bierwerth, Quercus’s fiction publishing director. Pathetically glad to be escaping from my solitary basement to meet lots of writers, editors, agents and generally reacquaint myself with the human race. There’s even a Gala Dinner.

The Real Missing One – my uncle

2 Aug 2014

Article about Uncle Des in the Guardian family section Article about Uncle Des in the Guardian family section


When people ask if my book is autobiographical, I always say no – totally made up.  Then, a month or so ago, someone asked me a direct question: has anyone in my family ever gone missing? I couldn’t believe I’d never thought about this before – my Uncle Des, who we all adored, went missing when I was 8 years old.  Without knowing it,  I’ve written a novel drawing on some of those feelings of loss and longing, of family secrets, and the unknown. My subconscious has clearly been very busy and my book makes sense to me now, in a way that it never did before. Weird, and also oddly satisfying.

My mum is still convinced Uncle Des is in an ashram somewhere so I’m expecting his facebook friend request any day now…

why I can’t stand the name ‘Chick Noir’

3 Apr 2014

Oxford Literary Festival Event Oxford Literary Festival Event


Here’s a blog post for  –  ‘Going Going Gone Girl..’ blog post   – about the Oxford Literary Festival, where I did a lively event (‘Chick Noir: why Gone Girl Has Us Hooked’) with the fantastic and very witty India Knight. The evening was made only slightly more comical by a male chair who apparently assumed that our almost entirely female audience must spend their days either in Sainsbury’s or reading Fifty Shades of Grey (or perhaps both? We never quite got to the bottom of that one. We had to get to Sainsbury’s before it shut).

Hay & Psychologies Magazine

24 Feb 2014

PsychologiesCover_0The lovely Psychologies magazine has picked The Missing One to kick off its new Psychologies Magazine Book Club.

Lucy will be talking about creativity and inspiration with Psychologies editor  Suzy Greaves on Wednesday 28th May 2014 at the HowTheLightGetsIn2014 Festival at Hay-on-Wye.


More details to follow.

Read the first chapter for free…

4 Dec 2013

The first chapter of The Missing One is available for FREE right here

Publication of The Missing One

3 Dec 2013

The Missing One, a psychological thriller, will be published on January 16, 2014.

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