THERE is a line in Shadowlands (the film about CS Lewis and Joy Gresham) which goes: “We read to know that we are not alone.”

And this is what Somerset author Clare Donoghue hopes she achieves with her crime novels which she has been writing since 2011.

Before becoming a writer, Clare was in London for 10 years where she worked for a city law firm, making sure people paid their bills on time.

Clare hopes her readers will be ‘scared, entertained and engrossed by her books’. It was as an avid reader of books which led Clare to want to become a writer.

She said: “The spark came from reading a lot of general crime fiction.

"I was reading a book by Mo Hayder and did not stop until I had finished it at 4am in the morning. I could not put it down.

“I found out she had done an MA in Bath Spa for creative writing and thought that needed to be the path I should take if I wanted to be a writer.

"I started to write a screen play but soon realised it was rubbish and decided to take this one year course instead.

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"On the course I was the only writer who wanted to write crime novels.

“I decided to write about crime fiction as this was something I knew about having read so much and you should always write about something which you are familiar.

"I did this and finished the novel so I could submit it to publishers. What was great is the novel turned out to be my first novel Never Look Back which had two publishers wanting to publish it.

"This was a complete shock to me but since then I have never looked back.”

From this start, Clare has written another four books, No Place to Die, The Craddle will Fall, Trust No One and her latest novel The Night Stalker.

Clare said her first three novels came from her own fears which included being stalked and being buried alive.

The latest Night Stalker had originally been set in London but she moved it to the Quantock Hills when she found out about the legend of Dead Woman Ditch.

The legend says 200 years ago John Walford, a local man who had brutally murdered his wife on the hills, left her body in Dead Woman’s Ditch.

Walford was hanged for his crime, his body displayed in a gibbet for a year as a warning to others with murderous intent.

By transferring the location to Somerset, the story took on a new feel as the crime in her story moved from the city to the countryside.

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The Night Stalker brings together legends, folklore and murder.

Her first novel is told through the eyes of her main character D I Mike Lockyer, the second by his partner in crime DS Jane Bennett and the third and now the fourth by both of them.

Clare said: “The characters in my books do come alive. I can write like each of them and seem to hear their voice when I do write.

“They speak differently and have their own moral structure.

“I even had 20 questions answered about them so I know where Mike would shop (Tesco) and Jane (Waitrose if she could afford it but normally Sainsbury).”

The hardest part about being a novelist for Clare is writing.

The process of starting to put words down on a blank piece of paper or typing them onto a new folder on her computer is for her so tough.

She said she dreaded looking at a blank page and having to fill it up with words.

One of the ways she has come up with to make sure the writing gets done is she forces herself to write 1,500 words a day.

Clare described the process as ‘like pushing water up a hill’.

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But when it comes to ideas for stories or plot lines she is awash with them Clare said: “I do get really excited about writing a new book especially when I have the idea and have done my research.

What I want to do with my work is keep people reading.

"I want them to stay awake until 4am reading my book as they cannot put it down.

"I love my work, I love what I do and I will keep writing for as long as people are reading my work. Once I finished one I have to start the next one.

“I feel fresh when I start a new book and will continue to do so until my mind runs dry.”

The Night Stalker by Clare Donoghue is published by Pan Macmillan and costs £7.99