Author #GuestPost – How I Came to Write The Child Left in the Dark by J M Briscoe #BLOGTOUR | @JM_BRISCOE | @GRACEPUBLICITY


The Child Left in the Dark is the follow-up to the stunning, The Girl with the Green Eyes.

Book blurb

There’s something growing in her that’s going beyond us. Some sort of darkness, a confidence… the more it emerges, the more she seems to just… disappear.

It has been six months since Bella and her daughter Ariana were driven into a desperate flight across the country. Six months since the explosive events at the Futura Laboratory changed their lives forever. Bella must live with the impossible decision she made back in the autumn, even if the consequences are monstrous. She will do whatever it takes to keep Ariana safe, even from herself. Especially from herself.

Ariana, meanwhile, cannot escape the nightmares of the terrifying creatures she saw at the lab. Struggling with the reality of a life out of the shadows, Ariana cannot help but feel more alone than ever. Except for the voices, of course. The whispers of a creeping, dark blankness growing within her. Everyone tells her she is normal. Everyone is lying.

Today is my turn on the BlogTour for The Child Left in the Dark by J M Briscoe and I am delighted to be able to bring a guest post by the author J M Briscoe.

Author Guest Post: How I came to write this book – inspiration, technique, etc

Despite the rather dramatic ending to The Girl with the Green Eyes and the uncertain positions in which I’d left my main characters, I almost didn’t write The Child Left in the Dark at all. It was 2020, the world was mid-crisis and I’d spent much of the first lockdown rediscovering the manuscript of Green Eyes which I’d written around 18 months earlier. I’d edited and made it as polished as I thought it could be, then sent it out to literary agents who, for the most part, were very niceabout it but didn’t feel strongly enough to sign me up. It’s a brutally difficult industry to crack and it’s harder than ever for debut authors to sign with literary agencies, particularly if they aren’t famous or have much of a social media following. (Not to mention I was competing with the hordes of other bored creatives who’d decided they might try writing a novel while stuck at home.) I found myself in something of a dilemma regarding book two. I didn’t want to plough my heart, soul and precious snatched hours of baby’s naptime into it if the whole enterprise had no hope of publication… I also wasn’t ready to give up on the story (which almost felt like another baby at that point!). Successful self-publication, on the other hand, felt like a mountain of industry knowledge and self-motivation I just wasn’t sure if I could commit to climbing.

Then I received an email in my junk folder which changed everything. ‘You’re on the list’ was the subject matter. Assuming I’d inadvertently signed myself up to some mailing list for mum-tum exercises or rainbow wellies or something similar, I duly clicked on the email, ready to scroll to the unsubscribe button. That’s when I saw the name of my novel.

I checked the sender; it was The Bridport Prize and I’d made the longlist – the top 20 of over 1600 entrants. It changed everything for me. I didn’t win, I didn’t suddenly gain 5000 new followers on Instagram. There wasn’t a barrage of literary agents flooding my inbox with offers to sign me up immediately. But it meant so much to me that my story had been judged worthy of being on that list (and clearly still does, because here I am over two years later, still banging on about it). It was just the shove I’d needed to put fingers to keys, drag my mind back to where I’d left my poor characters at the end of Green Eyes and type the words: ‘She wakes herself screaming’.

I wrote a chapter a day while my two eldest were at school and nursery and the youngest was napping. I’d never written a second instalment of a series before and found the process harder than I thought I would, trying to find the balance between ‘reminding’ the reader of the events of book one but not spending huge swathes of narrative retelling The Girl with the Green Eyes (my intention, eventually, is that all three books can be read comfortably back-to-back). It took me a little while to build up confidence in the story’s pacing (I remember worrying in the early stages that there wasn’t enough action going on compared with Green Eyes) but once I’d finished drafting and had started the editing process, I realised that this book had its own voice, its own narrative direction and, if anything, I loved it even more than The Girl with the Green Eyes. It’s a lot darker, the twists are less obvious but clench you deeper. And it has a real gut-punch of a denouement. Just saying.

A few months after I finished the first draft of The Child Left in the Dark, I signed a contract to publish The Girl with the Green Eyes with BAD PRESS iNK. And therein began a new journey, one which found me wanting to say, many a time, to many a reader, ‘Just you wait… Just you wait until you read what happens next…’

It might have taken another two years to get here, but I am so happy that finally that time has come.

My thoughts

Thank you so much J M Briscoe for your guest post on coming to write The Child in The Dark it’s been a pleasure to host you and a terrific piece to read.

Oh my! Looks like everyone is in for a real treat with J M Briscoe’s second novel The Child Left in the Dark and that ending sounds like it’s going to be a-maz-ing!


My thanks to Grace at Grace Pilkington Publicity for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour for The Child Left in the Dark by J M Briscoe.



Like to read more about the book and what these wonderful bloggers thought about it? Well there’s just one way to do that – check out this great BlogTour…



The Child Left in the Dark is the second part of soft sci-fi trilogy, Take Her Back. Book one, The Girl with the Green Eyes, was long-listed for The Bridport Prize: Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award in 2020. It became an Amazon bestseller following publication by BAD PRESS iNK in 2021.

Publisher: Bad Press Ink Limited | Publication Date: 15/10/2022

Format: Paperback/softback | Pages: 396 pages | Category: Science fiction | ISBN:9781838457754

Buy: AmazonSmileUK | your local bookshop | Hive


J M Briscoe got an English and Creative Writing BA at Royal Holloway, University of London. Following graduation, her quest for a job with ‘anything to do with writing’ delivered a lucky break in the role of reporter for the Kingsbridge and Salcombe Gazette, part of the South Hams Newspapers group. Two years later, she went on to study a PgDip in Broadcast Journalism at Cardiff University.

Briscoe’s career as a journalist has spanned newspapers, radio stations, a little bit of TV, a lot of online reporting and several years as a B2B trades magazine reporter and editor. Her true passion, however, has always been writing fiction; when she switched to freelance journalism in order to focus more on her growing family, she also took the opportunity to write.

In 2016 her first Young Adult novel, The Thing About Amelia, was long-listed for the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition. A few years later, while pregnant with her third child, Briscoe wrote the first novel in a soft sci-fi trilogy, The Girl with the Green Eyes. Following a revisit and edit during the first 2020 Coronavirus lockdown, she submitted it to The Bridport Prize annual competition and was thrilled when it was long-listed for The Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award, reaching the top 20 of more than 1,600 entries. The Girl with the Green Eyes was published by Bad Press Ink on November 5th, 2021.

J M Briscoe lives in Wokingham, Berkshire, with her husband, three children and two fairly indifferent cats. She writes a light-hearted parenting blog entitled Fearless Worrier – Parenting without fear: a work in progress.

More about J M Briscoe – J M Briscoe website there’s lots of amazing information, the authors interview with Mariella Frostrup and a video trailer for The Child Left in the Dark do check it out | You can follow @jm_briscoe on Twitter

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