I almost gave up on my dreams but then I had a terrifying nightmare – now I've scooped a six-figure book deal | The Sun

A GRUESOME nightmare has turned into a dream come true for a debut thriller author who used it as inspiration to shake off writer’s block and secure a six-figure book deal.

The Honeymoon, by Kate Gray, has been snapped up by supermarkets, high street retailers and independent bookshops and has been named this summer’s must-read thriller.

The novel – published on Thursday July 20 in hardback, audiobook and e-book – was snapped up in a bidding war between publishers with Kate securing a lucrative two-book deal.

But The Honeymoon – which tells the tale of two newlywed couples whose paradise escape to Bali reveals dark secrets – came out of nowhere, with Kate, 38, grappling with severe writer’s block in July 2021.

Fearing lockdown had destroyed her creativity, Kate had considered quitting the industry altogether in search of a 9-5 job to help ends meet.

Then, out of nowhere, she was awoken by a brutally vivid nightmare.

Mum-of-two Kate, from Helmsley, North Yorks, said: “I’d never had a nightmare like it – it was so realistic and so terrifying.

“I was on a white sandy beach and at my feet, as the waves rolled in, was the bloodied body of a stranger who had been ferociously attacked.

“And, for some reason, despite knowing I was innocent, his blood was on my trembling hands.

“I couldn't explain what on earth had happened but I knew the police were coming after me.

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“The thought of being locked up for a crime I didn't commit, in a country where I don't speak the language, was utterly terrifying.

“My husband had to calm me down as I woke, drenched in sweat, jabbering nonsense, reminding me that we were in lockdown.

“I hadn't brutally killed a man on a beach in Thailand, I was safely at home.

“But it felt so real, I could almost smell the suncream and hear the waves hit the sand. I knew then that I had to write as much of this nightmare down and try to capture that intense fear.

‘I couldn’t get back to sleep and for the rest of the day I couldn't shake the utter dread and panic of being involved in something so horrible – yet knowing I was innocent.

“The idea stuck with me. I wondered what would happen if this sort of thing happened on your honeymoon and how you might go about starting married life having to share the darkest of secrets.”


Kate had published six popular women’s fiction books under the name Katy Colins after her story of swapping weddings to wanderlust went viral in 2016 and saw her nicknamed the 'backpacking Bridget Jones'.

But struggled to find inspiration to write a thriller.

Kate said: “There were plenty of days where I questioned whether I had it in me to be an author. It’s such a difficult industry to get a foothold in.

“There were times when I thought it’d just be much easier to get a regular job.

“But the nightmare was just the kick I needed – it fired me up so much.

“I wrote every single day, waking up before the kids, staying up late once they were in bed, and locking myself away just to get some more words down. The first draft was completed in just two months.

“I submitted the manuscript to my agent in September, two months after the nightmare. She loved it. After a quick round of edits, we sent it out to editors at the start of October.

“By November I had four different publishing houses interested in acquiring the novel. In one of the craziest weeks of my life it went to auction where I spoke with different editors to hear their vision before they submitted their best and final bids.

“I was especially blown away by the enthusiasm from an amazing editor at Welbeck and managed to secure a six-figure two book deal to be their lead debut title. I keep having to pinch myself. It was such a fast process, which is unheard of in publishing!”

The Honeymoon is set in Bali, where Kate herself got engaged.

In the book, two couples meet on their honeymoons, not realising that their trips of a lifetime will end in murder. Many marriages can survive anything – but when it starts on a lie is it really 'til death do us part?

The Honeymoon is currently WH Smiths ‘book of the month’ in its airport stores. The hardback will be released in the UK and Commonwealth, with the paperback to follow next year.

Big name crime and thriller authors such as Chris Whitaker, TM Logan and Louise Candlish have left fantastic reviews for the book. Heat magazine gave The Honeymoon five stars, while Crime Monthly described it as a “wonderfully twisty thrill ride”.

Kate is currently writing her second thriller – but is keeping its plot a secret.

She added: “I can’t give too much away just yet, apart from it takes place over the course of a night in a remote setting, where not everyone is who they say they are.

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“My advice to anyone writing – don’t give up, try and stay positive and always keep a notepad and pen at your bedside! You never know when inspiration might strike.”

More details about Kate and her writing can be found at www.kategrayauthor.com

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