Behind the Pen with Sarah Ridout

It gives me great pleasure to welcome a favourite of mine to Behind the Pen today, Sarah Ridout, author of the beautifully mysterious novel, Le Chateau. She’s here to share some of her favourites and I’m delighted that she could join us. Thank you for dropping in Sarah!



What is your favourite…and why…


Character from one of your books?

That’s a hard one. I get attached to my characters! From ‘Le Chateau’ although I loved Charlotte (and related to and identified with her) Henri was my favourite. This was largely because he initially scared me: writing a male character. Readers tell me they loved him so I must have pulled it off. That’s great feedback for a writer to receive.


Scene from one of your books?

Like the previous answer, a counter intuitive one: the sex scenes also because they scared me and I put them off for ages. I wrote that part of the book in Dublin and I remember getting myself a big glass of a light French red and cranking up the mood music and letting rip. The first draft barely changed. I’m not scared of sex scenes now and would follow the same approach. A universal comment I have received from readers is that the book is very ‘sexy’ and ‘life affirming’.



Original Cover of Le Chateau


Movie of all time?

Sorry, but I majored in Film theory and production as an undergrad, and even won the Queensland Young Filmmakers Award, so I cannot name just one film!! There are different directors, genres, eras styles I love. If I had to name four directors they would be Alfred Hitchcock, Jean Luc Godard, and from modern cinema, Jane Campion and Ang Lee.


Book that you always keep a copy of and recommend to others?

Wow as above – too many. It depends on mood, age and what’s happening in the world. But I would recommend ‘The Catcher In the Rye’ to every teenager. So that’s as close as I can get!


Fashion accessory that despite having plenty of, you still keep collecting?

These questions are revealing me to be a hoarder and appreciator of beauty. Silk scarves, costume jewelry by YSL, French handbags, and decadent dresses that suit an earlier lifestyle! I lived in France for eight years so I have the French respect of quality ingrained now.


Drink that you enjoy everyday?

Coffee, more and more, essential for writing kick starts. It’s taken over from red wine and champagne– quelle horreur!


Treat you indulge in?

Reading and listening to podcasts. Massages as often as I can fit them in, writers have to look after their bodies I have learnt this the painful way … shoulder problems anyone?


Place to be?

I’ve lived in four countries and travelled extensively so that’s another impossible one. For culture and ambience: Paris and Venice. For uniqueness (for now): Havana. For spirituality and timelessness: Kakadu and Uluru. For peace: Stradbroke where part of my next book is set.


Person you admire?

I admire so many. Right now with the world we’re in: Angela Merkel. I don’t envy her being the sane one around all those Privileged White Males.


Season of the year?

That’s changed as the world has. When I was a child in Brisbane it was summer, now it’s autumn and winter. Brisbane is getting unlivable now in summer. It’s like Singapore: people who can afford it live in air-conditioning 24/7. It’s really sad. I can’t believe Australian governments continue to ignore the elephant in the room, Climate Change. They’ve had more than 30 years, seriously. They need to act so our children have habitable lives when we’re gone. Call your local reps / politicians of every tier of Government (Local, State, Federal), the companies you hold shares in, your Super Fund: say you’re mad as hell and won’t take it anymore! They must act responsibly. Do it for your kids / grandkids!




About Le Chateau:

What really happened at the chateau?

When Charlotte regains consciousness after an accident, she finds herself living a stranger’s life. The previous five years are a blank, and her husband, Henri, and daughter, Ada, are strangers. Arriving at their family chateau in southern France, she hopes to regain her memories. Instead she feels isolated and unsettled. Strange events hint at underlying darkness and menace. Charlotte doesn’t know who to trust.

Did she really have an affair with their charming Irish neighbour, as her enigmatic mother-in-law suggests? And what of Henri? He seems loving and kind, a good parent, but Charlotte is wary. Then there is Ada, a little girl who just wants her mother back.

With the help of her friend and fellow Australian Susannah, Charlotte starts to piece together events, but her newfound confidence is shaken with news that puts a deadline on her quest…

Le Chateau is a suspenseful gothic tale that will appeal to readers of Daphne du Maurier and Kate Morton.


Read my review of Le Chateau here.

6 thoughts on “Behind the Pen with Sarah Ridout

  1. Very interesting to find out a bit more about Sarah, who I met just recently (hi Sarah!). And I love the tip about writing sex scenes! – makes total sense!
    Thanks Theresa for a fascinating interview.

    Liked by 1 person

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