Sarah Naughton talks about some of the Belgravia spots which inspired her latest psychological thriller. Words by Alex Briand.

 

 

Bestselling author Sarah J Naughton’s latest book, The Mothers, is a psychological thriller based around five friends who meet at their NCT class.

Each harbours a secret.

Local resident Sarah set the book in and around Belgravia. Here she reveals the local places that inspired her…

 

The cafe

“The book is based on my own mothers’ club. One of their husbands is the one that gets bumped off in the book.

“But I haven’t told them who. They’re all still trying to guess!

“We meet in lots of places, but I love Food Filosophy on the corner of Ebury Street and Lower Belgrave Street. My kids went to St Peter’s Eaton Square, and the mums all went there. That’s where we all got to know each other.

“When your kids are developing there’s always something that you’re worried about. They’re not talking properly, they’re not walking, they’re not sitting up.

“And you join this little community of other anxious mothers who will be able to reassure you.

“In these cafes everywhere around London, there are commuters grabbing a quick coffee, and it’s bustling.

“But there’s always a little enclave of parents in the corner, chatting, with prams and pushchairs, looking knackered.”

 

The bar

The Royal Court theatre bar is a brilliant place to go. When everyone goes into the show, you have this amazing place to yourself. It’s got such a brilliant atmosphere and it’s so inspiring.

“It has a buzz of energy, and the people that you meet there are really interesting. A very beautiful and stylish 80-year-old, sitting next to a transgender 18-year-old – it has that sort of rich diversity which is so inspiring.

“You don’t want to just be hanging around with people in cashmere and calfskin loafers. You want to be with all sorts of people. I do, at least.

“My favourite pub is the Fox and Hounds [on Passmore Street]. There are some characters in there. You sit quietly in the corner, and you hear the most amazing stories. There are staff from the big houses there to chat, and Tory politicians, talking very indiscreetly. All of life is there, in that pub.”

 

The inspiration

“If I have writer’s block, the local area is a very relaxing place to be.

“You can go up to the sixth floor of Peter Jones and see right across London. You can see Harrods, the stadiums, Centre Point.

“It’s a fantastic view, and it gives you a little bit of headspace. When you’re working there and you’re stuck, you’re able to look out over the whole of London, and feel as if you’re at the centre of things.

“The green spaces are also very good for the soul. If I’m feeling really stressed, I will go running in the Royal Hospital gardens, which is a lovely and undiscovered place to go.”

 

The river

“When you walk past all those beautiful boats, they’re always brightly coloured, and there are fairy lights dangling. There is a definite sense of freedom about the Thames.

“I think everyone in London feels like they would probably like to live on the river, were circumstances different. You know you can get anywhere in the world from there.”

 

The community

“It feels safe, like being in a sleepy market town with a real community spirit. It doesn’t feel like being a part of this inner city.

“When I went to antenatal classes, there were women from all walks of life. You form these bonds with a very diverse group of people who you might not have encountered in your workplace, or at school…

“Everybody has traumas and tribulations, people get divorced, people suffer depression, people have breakdowns, and this is what bonds the women in the book.

“When you come home, you’re just a woman trying to deal with the things that we all have to deal with, and that bonds you even more closely.”

 

The Mothers is out on January 9.