Meet Lauren North Author Of All The Wicked Games

You and your best friend decide to play a game - but at what price? Lauren North's latest thriller All The Wicked Games delves into the dark side of the internet and asks just how far you'd go to help your best friend... 

Lauren is kindly offering to give a signed copy of All The Wicked Games away to one lucky TW reader in the UK (this is due to postage charges, with apologies to overseas readers). To enter go to this post on Twitter and reply with why you'd like to win it! The prize isn't transferable, you've got until the end of Thursday 27th Oct to enter and we'll announce the winner on Twitter on 28th October.

Download the ebook of All The Wicked Games from Amazon or buy the paperback from Thriller Women's list at NB: if you buy books through this link we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops.

Book cover of All The Wicked Games by Lauren North.

TW: Wow Lauren, All The Wicked Games has so many twists and turns! There's not too much I can say without giving away any spoilers but how would you describe the novel?

LN: At the heart of the story is the intense friendship between Cleo and Rachel, and what happens to that friendship when they try to escape the mundanity of their lives by pretending to be people they’re not in an online video chat room. It’s all a bit of fun until they play the game on the wrong person and it almost costs them their lives.

TW: The novel explores the theme of friendship in the characters of Cleo and Rachel. How did you come up with the two women? Did you know the ending before you started writing or did the story evolve as you explored the characters?

LN: I’ve written three previous thrillers and while they were all different, they all centre around the relationship between a mother and a child, and so I knew with my fourth thriller that I wanted to explore a different relationship. It wasn’t long before I thought about the intense friendships so many of us have in our twenties, where that friend or group of friends becomes everything to us. Often the intensity doesn’t last. People move away, get different jobs or begin a relationship, changing the friendship completely. I thought this was a really interesting dynamic to explore in a novel.

TW: You write in a dual timeline, now and five years ago, which juxtaposes the stage of life that the two girls are in. Why did you decide to use that as a narrative technique?

LN: I think I’m someone who likes to read different point of views and different timeframes and so it feels natural for me to create this in my own books. I like to keep mixing things up both as I’m writing and then as a reader. If I’m feeling a bit bored then the reader is definitely going to feel that. Using multiple POVs and timeframes is a good way to mix things up. I’m also a huge fan of text messages, emails and transcripts in novels and often use them too.

TW: This novel is perceptively darker than your previous psychological thrillers. What brought about the change? Do you prefer reading darker stories yourself?

LN: As soon as I knew I wouldn’t be writing about children, I realised two things – children naturally add a heightened sense of tension to a novel because there is always the fear of what could happen to them, and so without children in my book, I would need to explore other ways to up the stakes for my characters. And secondly, without children, I had a lot more freedom to explore that darkness.  I also found the dangers of the online world naturally made for a darker novel.

TW:  Rachel and Cleo look at a website called 'CamChat' in the novel, where they can talk to other people online. What gave you the idea? Do you know if such a thing exists?

LN: CamChat is a video chat room that requires no login or username. You click 'Chat' and within seconds you’re connected to a video chat with anyone else in the world. These websites do exist. I first learned about them in an online safety evening run by my children’s school. I knew the moment I heard about them that I would one day use it in a novel, although it took another three years before Cleo and Rachel formed in my head.

I did take some creative license with my fictional website in order to push the story forward a bit quicker than might normally have happened but the basic premise I've explained above is very much a real thing.

TW: What are your tips for the perfect red herring and twist?

LN: When I think about red herrings, I ask myself, “What do I want the reader to think is going on?” My mission is to lead the reader down a rabbit hole that is close to the truth but never quite touches it. My advice for red herrings is to make sure that you know exactly what is going on, and then exactly what you want your reader to think is going on, and they shouldn’t be the same thing. A good red herring is one the reader can look back on and realise the truth was actually staring in the face the whole time.

Twists are a tricky thing. There is a lot of pressure now to create those gasp-worthy twists at the end of a thriller. When I think about my own twists, I think about two things:

1. Is it realistic? We are writing fiction, but I think a good twist should feel natural and be in keeping with the book to create a satisfying ending. The clues have to be there all along so that even if the reader is surprised, they can then look back and see it all laid out. “And then they all woke up” is the opposite of this.

2. Is the twist enough on its own? Is there more I can do with the ending? It’s important to tie up the loose ends of a novel, but thrillers don’t need to be completely neat. Throwing a last red herring or extra twist in the final lines is a great way to leave the reader thinking about what might happen next.

TW: What's been the highlight of your career so far?

LN: Gosh, this is a good question. The highlights for me are around writing a novel that the publisher loves and then seeing it being enjoyed in the hands of readers. I still feel at the start of my writing journey. I want to keep learning and developing as a writer. And if I can continue to go to bed on a Sunday evening filled with excitement about waking up on Monday morning and being able to do what I love, then that’s highlight enough for me.

TW: Readers don't have to wait too long until your next novel is out. What can you tell Thriller Women readers about that please?

LN: I’m so excited about my next book. It’s called The Ugly Truth and it’s out in March. Here is the blurb:

Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?

Quick fire questions:

TW: Best thing about being an author?

LN: Getting to do what I love every day. 

TW: Worst thing about being an author?

LN: It can sometimes be a bit lonely.

TW: Favourite time of the day to write? 

LN: First thing in the morning.

TW: Favourite thing to do to relax after writing?

LN: What is relaxing? Just kidding. I love exercise classes and walking the dog. 

TW: If you weren't an author what would you do for a living? 

LN: Maybe I’d be a teacher although I’m not sure I have the patience for it. Or maybe an event organiser which I’d hate doing and would spend all my time dreaming of writing a book.

Thanks Lauren!

Author photograph of Lauren North. A smiling woman with a blonde bob, wearing a black jacket.

More about All The Wicked Games

Are you ready to play?

Best friends Cleo and Rachel spend their evenings pretending to be people they're not, inventing elaborate stories to escape the monotony of their real lives. It's all harmless fun - until they play the game on the wrong person...

It's your move now.

Five years later, Cleo is still struggling to come to terms with the night that destroyed her friendship with Rachel and almost cost them their lives. And then she receives a text: Rachel is missing. Have you seen her?

There's only one person to blame.

Wracked with guilt for failing Rachel the last time they were in danger, Cleo races to find her friend. But could the past be repeating itself? Only this time, they're caught up in a far darker game.

The rules don't matter when the goal is revenge.


Thriller Women is going to be taking a break for the rest of 2022 so co-founders and editors, Penny and Emma can work on their own thrillers. 

We'll be back in January 2023 with a book we just know you're going to love ... 

If you are a female thriller author or the PR of one and have a new book coming out from April 2023 onwards please let us know at We'd love to consider you for future posts. 


Popular Posts