Meet Dorothy Koomson Author Of All My Lies Are True

We're over the moon to welcome prolific thriller author Dorothy Koomson as a Thriller Women interviewee. Her latest novel, published this week, is called All My Lies Are True, but we're hoping we can believe all her answers!

The ebook is available from Amazon or you can buy the paperback from Thriller Women's list at Bookshop.orgNB: if you buy books through this link we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops.

Read on to find out why Dorothy has written a sequel to the bestseller The Ice Cream Girls, why she calls herself The Happy Author and what her desert island read would be...

Image of book cover of All My Lies Are True. The photographer was Niall McDiarmid

TW:   Dorothy, you’ve now written seventeen novels, congratulations. How do you stay motivated as a writer?

DK: Historically it’s not been difficult to keep myself motivated because I love my job. I’m very fortunate to be able to have a job that I love and that I can do well. Recently it’s been difficult to stay motivated and keep on track because world events have just made everything so tough. However, I’ve been able to look back at the other books I’ve created during tough times and remind myself that I can do it and to keep going.

TW: People very often know you for your 2010 novel, The Ice Cream Girls, but what do you consider to be your greatest achievement spanning your whole career?

DK: It’s funny because most people actually came to my work with my third novel, My Best Friend’s Girl which was published in 2006. The Ice Cream Girls was the next book to bring new people to my work. 

I’m really fortunate to have lots of things that could be classified as my ‘greatest achievement’ but I think the two that come to mind are helping people to make sense of their lives – my books really help them to see that they are not alone when different things happen to them. The other thing that I would consider one of my greatest achievements is the amount of Black women who have told me over the years that reading my books made them see that they could be the main character in contemporary, popular novels. Instead of always being the sidekick they could be the romantic lead or the kooky main character. Both those things were not what I set out to do when I started writing but to think that I’ve helped people in that way is fantastic for me.

TW: What made you want to write a sequel to The Ice Cream Girls?

DK: I’ve always said over the years that I don’t do sequels – my characters always go through so much, I didn’t see the need to put them through more. But since I wrote The Ice Cream Girls in 2009/2010, so much has changed in the law and society – we seem to be much more clued up on the themes of abuse, that I started thinking about exploring if anything had truly changed in society in those interim ten years.

I only properly decided to write the story after I got on a train and I sat near an unhappy couple. The way the man calmly and quietly put down his partner was chilling. All of us bystanders felt powerless and it inspired me to look again at abusive relationships and how they impact everyone around them, using Serena and Poppy’s story as a framework.

I could only do that, though, because there was somewhere for their story to go. If there wasn’t a legitimate way to carry on the tale, I would not have done it.

TW: Why do you call yourself ‘The Happy Author’, and what do you think is the key to happiness as someone who writes books for a living?

DK: I call myself The Happy Author because I love my job. Writing is my happy place. Books – writing and reading them – have always been my escape and my solace. I wanted other people to see that even though it is hard work – punishingly so at times – I still wouldn’t swap anything about what I do. The key to happiness to someone who writes books as a living is to do the job because it’s what you want to do. Enjoy yourself and be open to trying new things.

TW: What kind of books do you like to read for pleasure and do you have a favourite genre?

DK: As a writer I read all genres except maybe horror because I terrified myself reading them when I was younger! If you’re a writer and you don’t open your mind and read as widely as possible, then you’re closing yourself off to finding out how other people tell stories. I love reading, it’s an incredible way to take yourself out of reality or make sense of reality so I’ve never limited myself to one particular genre.

TW: What would be your advice to young, aspiring authors, especially to those who may come from disadvantaged or low income backgrounds? 

  • Read as much as you can. (Use libraries to get access to free books)
  • Write as much as you can. (You only really need a pen and paper)
  • Keep going
  • Listen to my podcast, The Happy Author. It gives lots of advice and information about getting writing and keeping going. 

TW: Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favourite, and why, and which book did you find most challenging to write?

DK: I love all of my books equally, but The Cupid Effect was the first to be published so possibly that is the most special for that. Each book has had its challenges but my next book, I Know What You’ve Done, has been especially hard to write. The world is not in a good place and that has really impacted work for a lot of writers including me.

TW: If you hadn’t found success as a writer, what do you think you would have ended up doing?

DK: I have no idea! I did not have a Plan B. I’d probably still writing stories for myself, because I can’t not write, and trying to get published. But to make money, I’d probably still be a full-time journalist and editor.

TW: You named your car after Dolly Parton! Tell us your favourite Dolly Parton song.

I did name my first car after Dolly! My favourite tune is Islands In The Stream because that’s the song I walked down the aisle to when I got married.

Quick fire questions:

TW: Your ideal holiday destination?

DK: Brighton and Hove beaches – I’m lucky that I live here.

TW: A book you’ve never read that you should have by now?

DK: Loads! For example, the books about the boy wizard.

TW: Your favourite tipple?

DK: Prosecco and water. (Not together.)

TW: Your desert island read?

DK: The biggest edition of the Oxford or Collins Dictionary I can get.

TW: Your ideal way to spend a weekend?

DK: Asleep!

Thanks Dorothy!

Photo of Dorothy Koomson. The photographer was Niall McDiarmid

Dorothy’s next book I Know What You’ve Done is published in hardback on 8th July.

More about All My Lies Are True

Verity is telling lies...

And that's why she's about to be arrested for attempted murder.

Serena has been lying for years...

And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable...

Poppy's lies have come back to haunt her...

So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?

Everyone lies.

But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?


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