Writers On Writing / Page-turning tension, with Pamela Cook

Which books does writer and podcaster Pamela Cook find herself unable to tear herself away from? Read the list of authors who had her glued to their stories from page one.

Pamela Cook on page-turning tension

For me, having reviewers leave comments like these one on Goodreads has me doing a happy dance:

  • ‘I was hooked from the opening line’
  • ‘…a compelling, suspenseful story.’ 
  • ‘…engrossing from the first page and so captivating you won’t want to stop until you turn the last page.’
  • ‘…a real page-turner packed with emotion from start to finish.’

Of course, I love to hear readers have enjoyed my characterisation, plot development and description but knowing a reader couldn’t put my book down is the ultimate compliment. And having interesting characters, a gripping plot, and atmospheric description are all integral to creating tension in your writing.

There are so many books I’ve felt this way about myself but here are my top three…

Rebeccca by Daphne Du Maurier – who can forget the increasingly suffocating setting of Manderley, the menacing presence of Mrs Danvers and the edgy anxiety of the current Mrs de Winter?

State of Wonder by Anne Patchett – the way the protagonist’s understanding of the situation gradually unfolds along with the reader’s and the sense of danger lurking in the lushness of the Amazonian jungle had me on the edge of my seat.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – a cross genre mystery with an abandoned child as the naïve protagonist, a breath-taking setting and a who-dunnit plot line. If you’re on the NYT best-seller list for over two years you’re doing something right.

I’ll be talking about these books and looking at techniques to have your readers turning the page during the Turn Up The Tension online course. I hope you can join me.


Pamela Cook is a city girl with a country lifestyle – and too many horses. Her rural fiction novels feature complex women, tangled family relationships, and a sprinkling of romance. Her first novel, Blackwattle Lake, was published in 2012 after being selected for the Queensland Writer’s Centre/Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Her following novels were Essie’s Way (2013) and Close To Home (2015), and her fourth book, The Crossroads, was released in December 2016. She is currently working on her fifth novel, a women’s fiction title, Cross My Heart.  In her past life Pamela was a high school English teacher and in her latest incarnation she is the co-host of the exciting new podcast Writes4Women. When she’s not writing she wastes as much time as possible riding her handsome quarter horses, Morocco and Rio.

Join Pamela Cook for her online course, Turn Up the Tension, starting Tuesday 24 November. Enrol here>>

Online Writing Course
Turn Up the Tension with Pamela Cook

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