Zibby is joined by bestselling author Becca Day to discuss her two new psychological thrillers The Girl Behind the Gates and All Her Little Lies. Becca describes her lifelong love of murder mysteries, the theater company she founded and sold, and what it’s like balancing writing and parenting. She also talks about the YouTube channel she created to support writers and the mentorship program she is launching in March to help aspiring crime and thriller authors (inspired by her own invaluable mentorship experience). Finally, she teases her next two projects and shares her best book-promoting advice.


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Becca. Thank you so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” to discuss your latest book, All Her Little Lies, and The Girl Beyond the Gate.

Becca Day: Thank you so much for having me.

Zibby: My pleasure. Where are you Zooming in from today?

Becca: I’m in England, in Surrey. I live in the middle of the woods. Lots of autumn-y trees around me at the moment. It’s really nice.

Zibby: Is that the scary place from which you write? Is there something mysterious about the woods that you inject into your thrillers? No?

Becca: No, no, it’s not a creepy woods. It’s a nice, family-friendly woods with lots of children living here.

Zibby: Can you tell listeners what All Her Little Lies is about?

Becca: My latest book that just came out a few weeks ago, All Her Little Lies, is set on a farm in England. We’ve got a character called Alex, who lives and works on the farm. She discovers a dead body. She decides, for reasons to be revealed, to clean up the crime scene and get rid of all of the evidence. Then it’s everything that happens after that and why she decides to do it and exploring all of that.

Zibby: Definitely, it starts with a bang. There’s a murder right away. I love how you structure it, the day before the murder, the day of the murder. It’s hard not to get sucked in right away.

Becca: I try and make sure that it starts with quite a big thing happening so that it grips the reader straight away.

Zibby: Since it only came out less than a year ago, can you also talk about The Girl Beyond the Gate?

Becca: The Girl Beyond the Gate was my debut. That came out in March. That is set in a fictional gated community. A woman called Jodie moves in. She starts to suspect there’s some weird stuff going on with her neighbors. She’s got a woman who has a girl who’s in a wheelchair. She starts to think that there’s some strange stuff going on there. It’s all about the secrets and lies that go on within the gated community. Lots of secrets and lies in all of my books.

Zibby: Where is that coming from? Is there something in your past that you feel like you want to get out and talk about? Where is this coming from?

Becca: No, I’ve had a really lovely life, actually. Nothing thriller-worthy has ever happened to me. It’s just my morbid imagination, apparently. I’ve always enjoyed murder mysteries and reading murder mysteries. I enjoy listening to true crime podcasts and things like that. I’m always trying to solve them. I wanted to write my own stories. I had so many ideas. I used to have a murder mystery theater company where we would put on interactive shows. I would write the scripts for those. It just was a natural progression from that to novels.

Zibby: Yes, I read that. You sold that company, and then you got into novels. Why did you decide to sell it?

Becca: Lots of different reasons. To be honest, it was a lot because I had my eldest daughter. I’ve got two daughters now. I had my eldest daughter. It was always at the weekends. I was like, I don’t really want to be spending my weekends away from her. Writing novels, I can be home with her while I’m doing it. It suits my lifestyle a little bit better.

Zibby: How old are your daughters now?

Becca: My eldest is seven. My youngest is one.

Zibby: Aw, so cute. I saw your youngest popping out in some of your YouTube videos.

Becca: I was pregnant when I wrote my debut. Then I had her in November. The book came out in March. Then I wrote my second book with a very young baby. It’s been a whole process.

Zibby: Hats off to you. I have four kids. That is no easy feat. I can barely get stuff done now.

Becca: I’m not entirely sure how I did it.

Zibby: Speaking of your videos, I love your whole series for authors, which is really great, including the one you did about how to deal with your own mental health when waiting for your queries to come back about your books and everything. Talk to me about why you turned to YouTube and your whole video series and how you do that and even your Facebook group for fellow authors and all of that.

Becca: I’ve always been into YouTube anyway. I used to work for a company that were a YouTube company. We used to produce videos for them. I’ve kind of always been in that realm anyway. Then when I was going through the querying process, which is to get an agent so that you can get published, it was really hard on my mental health. I really struggled. There’s a lot of rejection that is part of that process. Actually, I had a very quick and somewhat painless process. Some people are querying for years and years and years. I just don’t know how they do it. Because I struggled so much, I really wanted to create a space for aspiring authors where they could talk to each other and get support and feel like they’re not alone. I do that with my YouTube videos. I’m also part of a few different Facebook groups. Then I’ve also got a mentorship program that’s coming in March next year where it’s basically me and a bunch of other thriller authors. We’re each going to take a mentor and just help them with their manuscript — a mentee, rather — help them with their manuscript and hopefully get them published. That’s the goal, is to try and help some more aspiring authors who are in the same position that I was in two years ago.

Zibby: That’s amazing. Where can people find all of that? Let’s say they’re listening and they’re like, yes, this is exactly what I need. Where should they go?

Becca: It’s You don’t have to be from the UK. You can be from anywhere in the world, but you need to be writing a thriller or a crime novel because that’s what we all specialize in. You can submit in March. We’ve got a few events, like Twitter chats and things, in the lead-up to it. In March, we’re opening to submissions. We’re going to each pick someone to help out.

Zibby: That’s great. Great. We’ll try to remember to put that in the show notes. If not, I said it twice. Sometimes I need things repeated so I remember them personally, so I just assume people have the same needs. Did someone help you out? Where is the instinct to give back? Do you feel like anybody was there to guide you along?

Becca: Yeah, I had a mentor myself. When I was looking to get published, a woman called Lauren North, who is another thriller author, she very kindly decided to take me under her wing. She worked through the manuscript with me for The Girl Beyond the Gate. Then she was my rock while I was querying. Every time I got a rejection, I would come crying to her. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. That’s what made me want to give back, because I know how helpful it was for me. I’m not sure I would’ve got published without it. It’s a rough journey. You need help. You need support.

Zibby: How did you connect with her originally?

Becca: It was on Twitter. I didn’t really know about mentorships, but I knew I wanted some support from someone. She had just posted on Twitter saying, “I really want to mentor an aspiring author, but I don’t know how to get into it.” Then I literally just slid into the DMs. “If you want to mentor me, then please do.” It just went from there. Twitter is a really good place to be if you’re an aspiring author because there’s a lot of publishing professionals there, assuming Twitter’s still going to be around.

Zibby: I know. It’s crazy. I’m like, just don’t take Instagram. What would I do? I invest so much time in Instagram. It’s so silly. Not silly. I get a lot out of it, but it is this manufactured community that we rely on. One day, it can just up and go. You’re like, wait, what about all those relationships that I have on this other platform?

Becca: We’re getting to the point where we’re starting to meet each other in person now, finally.

Zibby: That’s nice. What are you working on now?

Becca: I’ve got a deal next year for books three and four with my current publisher. Book three has actually been put up on preorder now already. It’s called The Secrets We Buried. That is coming in June. I’m still writing it. It’s a whole process with a one-year-old. It’s getting there. Then book four, I haven’t got a title for yet, but that’s going to be coming early 2024.

Zibby: No more “I don’t know how I’m doing this.” I’m literally asking, how are you doing this? When is it happening? What time of the day? How fast do you write? How is this getting accomplished?

Becca: It’s basically any smatches of time that I have. I will literally write for fifteen minutes if that’s what I’ve got and just get as many words as I can done in that fifteen minutes. Then I’ll deal with the one-year-old. Then maybe an hour later, I’ll have another fifteen-minute smatch. I’ll write as many words as I can. I don’t really have a proper sit-down writing session anymore. It used to be that I’d be like, at one o’clock, I’m going to sit down and I’m going to write for an hour. It just doesn’t work like that anymore now that I’ve got a one-year-old. I have to just take what I can and write when I can, basically.

Zibby: Do you always remember — maybe it’s because I’m working on a novel, but I leave it for weeks and then come back. I’m like, wait, who is that again? Can you dip back in all the time because it’s so top of mind? I always forget. I have to read back. Where was I? No?

Becca: I have a weird issue where when I’m drafting a novel, I literally can’t think of anything else. My head is just filled with those characters and that story all the time. I’m playing out the scenes in my head. That’s actually one of the ways that I get the book written. I write it in my head first like a movie. Then I put it into words. I’m constantly thinking about it. It means that I’m always forgetting kids’ birthday parties that I’m supposed to be taking my daughter to and things like that. It’s a necessary part of it. My head is so filled with the story. I just never switch off from it. It’s a little bit stressful, actually.

Zibby: That’s amazing. That’s so cool. It’s almost like the writing is like — it’s like you just open the spigot for a little bit of time, but it’s all pushing out anyway. It’s all ready. Clearly, that’s not the same problem I have, but that’s okay.

Becca: There are blocks. I try and plan out as much as I can of the novel before I write so that I kind of know where I’m going with it. That helps to stop me from being blocked and sitting there going, I don’t know what to write. I always know what’s coming next.

Zibby: Wonderful. Do you have an in-person — I know you talked about your mentor. In Surrey and everything, are there authors that you meet up with for coffee? Is there a community of writerly people that you interact with in person at all?

Becca: Yeah. There’s a lot of people in London, which is a pain for me to get to with my kids. I don’t see people as much as I would like. There are a couple of authors who are more local to me who I meet up with quite regularly. Then there’s a festival called Harrogate, which all of the crime and thriller authors go to every year. That was really nice. I went last year. I met all the people I’d been speaking to virtually. I would like to be able to see people more, but at the moment with the kids, it’s not really feasible for me. I’m sticking to Zoom for the most part.

Zibby: Nice. Do your daughters — your older daughter, at least, does she ask what you write? Why so dark? Does she understand what you’re writing?

Becca: She doesn’t really understand what I’m writing. I’ve told her it’s not appropriate for her because she asks if she can read it. She loves reading. I’m like, “No, you definitely can’t read my books.” I’ve told her that they’re geared towards adults, but she doesn’t really know what they’re about. She does keep on saying, “When I am going to be old enough to read them? What age do I have to be?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I’ll see how we go.” She keeps on saying that she wants to write books now. She wants to do a different career every week, but it’s quite nice when she says, “I want to write books now.” I’m like, that would be so nice.

Zibby: That’s great. What do you like to do when you’re not chasing after your kids and dealing with the stories and characters swirling in your head? Do you have any time to do anything else?

Becca: I don’t really do much else, to be honest. I do pole fitness, which I do on a Thursday evening after the kids have gone to bed and my husband’s at home. He can stay home, and I’ll go there. That’s really nice because it’s kind of the only time I have just for me where I’m just doing something for myself. I really love it. It’s such an amazing workout. That’s really the only thing I do for myself.

Zibby: Is there anything that you have found to be really helpful in marketing your books?

Becca: Just making friends with people. That’s what I always suggest when authors are like, I don’t know what to do in terms of getting my book out there. I’m like, just be really friendly to as many people as you can because what you’ll find is that when you are friends with people, they will be willing to shout about your book for you. It’s always better if it’s coming from other people than from you. If you’re saying, “Buy my book,” no one will listen. If someone says, “Buy this book. I read it, and it’s amazing,” then they listen. Just try and make as many friends within the industry, and book talkers and bookstagrammers and as many people as you can. It will just naturally come. My books aren’t as big as some of the other books out there. I’ve definitely got a way to go. A lot of the publicity I’ve had has been just through friends being really nice and shouting about my book for me. That’s what I would say. Just be really nice. It’s a small industry. People remember if you’re a good person.

Zibby: Great. What’s your favorite snack or meal when you’re trying to write? Do you have a favorite food, meal, something like that?

Becca: I tend to eat really badly when I’m drafting a novel. I’ll have a bowl of popcorn next to me and anything picky that I can just snack on without thinking about it, and lots of coffee. Once I finish drafting a novel, I have to do a full detox to try to out of my system.

Zibby: Love it. Then last question, what are you reading now? Anything great? Have you read anything that you loved lately?

Becca: Yes, I’m currently reading a proof of a book that’s coming in 2023, which is called The Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan. It’s really interesting. It’s a thriller, but it’s also kind of sci-fi. It’s looking into the future kind of thing, speculative fiction. There’s a lot of buzz around it, so I imagine people will hear quite a lot about it next year. It’s really good. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m very much enjoying it.

Zibby: Wonderful. Excellent. Last question. I know I said last, but this is really last. What advice do you have for aspiring authors? I know you have so much on so many different topics and have a whole YouTube channel about it. What’s one piece that we should all take away?

Becca: I would say just focus on the writing. Just start. There’s a lot of things that can get in the way. You can think about, I need to make a website. I need to get on social media. I need to do TikToks and all of these different things, but none of it’s getting the book written. As much as those things do come into the business of being an author, the most important thing is to just sit down and write the book. If there’s something stopping you, if you’re like, I don’t know if I can do it, just sit down and write. Get some words down on the paper. Then you can edit them and make them better later.

Zibby: Perfect. Becca, it was lovely to meet you across the ocean here. Wishing you the best of luck with all of your multitasking. Again, my hat’s off to you as a working mom with a tiny little one. It is hard. It’s always hard, but it’s even more hard. Well done. Bravo.

Becca: Thank you so much.

Zibby: Take care. Buh-bye.



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