Fresh Talent: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Fresh Talent: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Try Not to Breathe – Holly Seddon

A woman’s search for the truth about a brutal attack on a teenage girl puts her in danger in this tense, emotionally-charged psychological thriller.

“Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy. Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park not far from her house. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands. Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…”

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Holly Seddon Biography

Holly Seddon is a freelance journalist whose work has been published on national newspaper websites, magazines and leading consumer websites.

As a mother of four, Holly divides her time between writing articles, walking her miniature Schnauzer and chasing homework-evaders around the room.

And then doing some more writing when night falls.

She lives in London and Amsterdam.


Holly Seddon on the Inspiration Behind Try Not to Breathe

On a very literal level, it was roast potatoes and Radio 4 that sparked the initial germ of an idea. I was cooking a roast dinner and half-listening to a health programme on long-term coma patients when someone described the condition as “a living death”. This grabbed me by the throat.

I started to think about what it must be like to lose someone you love to that condition, for them to be gone but still there, with everything changing around them. But I was also very moved and chilled to imagine how that must feel for the patient. Being awake, listening, unable to communicate but, just maybe, reliving something awful over and over again.

In Try Not to Breathe, 15-year-old Amy Stevenson is attacked and left for dead in 1995. Some 15 years later, long after her family and friends have been broken apart by their loss, struggling journalist Alex Dale stumbled upon Amy in a hospital ward. Alex has her own serious challenges but becomes fixated on solving the long forgotten crime of who left Amy for dead.

As a journalist who has worked for national papers and websites, there was obviously a rich vein of experience to tap into for Alex’s role. How do you solve a crime when the only witness lived, but cannot tell the tale? Especially when you can barely keep your own head above water?

Alex is stuck in a trap of her own making. She’s drunk away her marriage, her friendships and a high profile journalism career. What starts as a routine article becomes an obsession with Amy’s story and trying to solve the mystery of who hurt her all those years ago.

As much as Try Not to Breathe is a thriller, at the core it’s also about friendship. Amy and Alex form a unique and surprising bond that is the savior of both of them, filling holes that had seemed permanent.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to still have close friendships that date back to school, college and my earliest years as a journalist. Those friendships have, at dark times, been some of the only stitches holding me together. True friendship is a rare and precious thing. It should be preserved at all costs and it’s never too late to find it.