Abusive relationships – My Journey #BehindClosedDoors #DeadInside #DomesticAbuse @nholten40 @0neMoreChapter_ @KillerReads @fictionpubteam @the_cwa @thrillerwriters

My debut novel Dead Inside was published by One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK this year (edited: 2019) – it tells the story of Lucy Sherwood, a Probation Officer who works with domestic abusers in a multi agency team by day, and then goes home to one each night – her husband.

Lucy and I shared many similarities. Up until 2017, I was a Probation Officer for 18 years, the last ten of which I managed two teams – one a multi agency team based in a police station, the other a general field team. Like Lucy, I spent 13 years going home to an abusive man and helped raise his two sons, off and on for many years.

Unlike Lucy, my abuser is still alive. He never saw himself as an abuser, masking his behaviour under the veil of substance abuse and pure anger. He would often say how much he hated bullies – LOOK IN THE MIRROR, I wanted to shout! Despite being free of him since 2014/15, he still attempts to contact me – often using his children as an excuse. Only a matter of weeks ago, he messaged me, wanting to ‘talk’, as if my blocking him didn’t make my feelings clear. A line from my prologue often comes to mind – Just leave me the f*ck alone!

In my novel, I try to capture all the feelings and emotions that living with a domestic abuser can evoke. Underneath the abuse – no matter what form it takes, are feelings of guilt, shame, blame – is it me? What am I doing to cause this? People often think that a certain “kind” of woman (or man) is targeted – there would be no way that a once strong, intelligent and confident person could fall victim to abuse, right?


Abusers are charming, manipulative and frankly once they get their hooks in you…terrifying. There were many times I wanted to leave – but threats of burning down my house, making sure I regretted it if I did leave and other taunting remarks made me stay. I didn’t want to have to look over my shoulder, live in fear or wonder if I would be attacked physically, mentally or even professionally. No one would ever believe a probation officer could be a victim … but it happened, it happens all the time to people you would never even suspect.

What made me gather the courage to leave after years of financial, physical, emotional and sexual abuse? He CHEATED on me! THAT is what made me decide to finally say – Get the f*ck out of my house. Can you believe it?  I was so angry that I put up with years of torment and he then had the nerve to cheat on me. Would I have stayed longer had that not happened? I can’t say, but I used that as my reason for ending the relationship. He didn’t leave easily, still threatened me but it was like he knew he was in the wrong for cheating and eventually left. WTAF?

There is so much more to MY story, but I’m still healing. Memories still haunt me. My shame (whether warranted or not) still has a hold over me. Full disclosure is not something I am ready to face just yet. So why share this? To show that it can happen to anyone, to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel and to let others know … you are not alone.

Dead Inside is not an autobiography. Yes, I may have used some experiences as part of the story, but it was mainly the feelings I tried to get across. All and all it is a fictional account of a very important issue.

I am no longer a victim of domestic abuse – I am a survivor.

Here is more about the book:

A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning series – from a huge new talent.

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

Amazon: http://mybook.to/DeadInside 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2SBRpqt

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2DZwZ2M

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/T17w30nCWp3

Audiobook: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Dead-Inside-Audiobook/000835703X

Praise for Dead Inside:

‘A hugely confident first novel. Harrowing, visceral … recommended’ Ian Rankin

‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole

‘Kept me hooked throughout … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons

‘A brilliant debut – gritty, dark and chilling. Noelle Holten knows her stuff’ Mel Sherratt

‘I loved this. A dark and chilling debut’ Robert Bryndza

‘Dark and gritty and kept me hooked until the very end. A Fantastic debut!’ Casey Kelleher

‘A hard-hitting, impressively authentic crime fiction debut … nuanced, highly readable, page turning, a definite cut above the rest. I urge you to read this book’ Howard Linskey

‘Extremely powerful, incredibly thought provoking and ringing with authenticity, this is an excellent debut’ M. W. Craven, author of the Washington Poe series

‘Noelle has conjured up a real page-turner here. The author’s experience with damaged and damaging people really shines through bringing a great deal of grit to the drama. Add in some fascinating characters, relentless pace and a strong story and you have a winner on your hands’ Michael J Malone

Connect with me on social media:

Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noelleholtenauthor/
Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/
Instagram: @author_noelleholten


COMING SOON: March 14th 2020 – Dead Wrong

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

29 Replies to “Abusive relationships – My Journey #BehindClosedDoors #DeadInside #DomesticAbuse @nholten40 @0neMoreChapter_ @KillerReads @fictionpubteam @the_cwa @thrillerwriters”

  1. Noelle well done for sharing such an important story. My daughter managed to get out of what was developing into a controlling relationship. Thank goodness she did. It is scary how dangerous it can be and how it diminishes confidence and self worth.

  2. Hey sweets! Nothing is wrong with you – it is THEM! You are not weak. And no, you did not go on a tangent. They are master manipulators and can make you question everything about yourself. Trust is earned and you have to take it day by day. I can say, that not all men are like this. I know so amazing, supportive, brilliant men who get angry that abusers behave this way. You are enough. You are amazing. And you are stronger than you think. If you ever need to talk, I am here. xoxo

  3. Noelle,
    I haven’t undergone what you have. I could feel your pain in your post.
    Mine has been more psychological where I have been told I am not good enough first by my father then by my partner.
    It took me years and even today, I am filled with doubts.
    I have fulfilled my ambitions what I have wanted to do. But the question still bothers me – that it is not enough.
    I thought I was reasonably intelligent, I got out of the relationship. I met someone, he used a different kind of power games playing with my affection which I realized once he ghosted me.
    I don’t want to say I am weak, but I am scared that I am unable to gauge people or something has been so screwed in me that I trust anyone and everyone.
    That fear has pushed me to the opposite side of spectrum. I am petrified to trust again.
    Did I go on a tangent? In both my relationships, I didn’t have courage or intelligence to ask him to stop and get the F out… I question me now!!

  4. So many things in your story sound familiar, Stacey! The abusers all mirror each other in their behaviour (I laughed at one review I got for Dead Inside which said that the abusers were cliches… ha ha – that’s because they are all the same – same excuses, same behaviours – only different victims!) I am so sorry you went through all that, but look at you now! It takes so long to heal and I’m not sure it will ever go away, but you take it day by day and get stronger. If you ever need to talk, I am here for you. Keep strong. You are amazing! xx

  5. Thanks for sharing Noelle and beautifully put. I had a similar story, long story short, I met someone when I was aged 17 we dated, moved in together and I got pregnant at 18. That’s when he changed, he became abusive both physically and mentally. I was pushed out of a moving car and kicked repeatedly as he was hoping I’d lose the baby. My son was born and he said he was a different person – even his mother warned me off him but I thought he would change. He did for a few months then he went back to his old way, including becoming a thief (my house was raided by the police numerous times), arsonist, etc. He was never charged though with anything including assault as he had a friend high up in the police. That was until he took his anger out on my son and he tried to poison me – nearly killing me. That was it. I threw him out after five years of putting up with his behaviour, but he came back and smashed the house up and tried to burned it down. I ended up in a women’s refuge where me and my son stayed for 6 months until they found us a new home. I also had (have I suppose as it is an indefinite one) an injunction for him to stay away from me and my son. Even after I met and married my husband (we’ve been together 17 years and have two children together) my ex still wouldn’t leave us alone. He broke the injunction numerous times. It continued until he got married and then his wife told me that he was a lovely man and that I had made everything up to stop him seeing his son and I’m portrayed to his friends and in laws as a psycho. It took many years for the psychological pain to go but I am certainly a stronger person these days so I do have something to thank him for. I will have to grab your book and give it a read. X

  6. If I didn’t already adore you, which I do, I definitely do now! Girl, I admire you and respect you! You are amazing! 8 think you did a fabulous job with Dead Inside. Kudos to you! ❤️

  7. Thank you for sharing this with us, Noelle. I for one really admire you. You have come such a long way and are doing amazing things. You are an inspiration to us all. xx

  8. I knew it was close to home for you, when I saw you read the prologue at NATB and Bloody Scotland x Best wishes to you Noelle x

  9. Noelle you are one of the most amazing woman I have the pleasure of knowing, one day we will meet and I will give you the biggest hugs. I have so much admiration for you, you have achieved so much, and yet still find time to share your private life (which couldn’t have been easy). Hopefully this post will help and give others hope who maybe in a similar situation x

  10. You’re a very special lady and I’m so sorry that you’ve been through this but am so proud of your brave decision to post this. Xxx

  11. aww, Linda! Thanks for your lovely comment. I don’t feel like I am or deserve to be thought of as an inspiration at all. I only hope that others in a similar situation see that they are not alone, that it is possible to pick up the pieces and that they were never to blame. It’s a hard journey – one that I still am on and take day by day. xoxo

  12. ‘That’s not how others perceive me,’ and ‘It’s all in your mind,’ are two of the most physically and emotionally petrifying comments; designed to make you think it’s you, of course. It’s not. Nor was it ever. When your courage has been stripped away, it can take years to find it again. You did good, Noelle. You found yours, and you’e giving others the courage to speak out. Be proud, my lovely. xx

  13. Writing it was very therapeutic and I’m sorry to hear you’ve have been through it too, but LOOK AT YOU NOW! Amazing! Thank you for your kind words. xoxo

  14. Oh wow, Caryl!! Well despite the subject matter – which can be quite hard-hitting – I hope you enjoy Dead Inside. Thank you so much for your kind words. xxx

  15. Aww- thank you, Kaisha. Perceptions are such a funny thing as most days I don’t feel strong, or confident or worthy. Then other days, I feel so proud of what I have achieved. Focusing on the positive has been something I try to do more of. I was very wrapped up in the negative – and it was a deep pit I found hard to crawl out of. Great friends, those I have made online and in real life – have been a major source of happiness and support. xx

  16. Thank you for sharing your story – I’m so sorry you endured what you did. You are an incredibly strong woman and I’m in awe at you and what you’ve overcome. Sending you lots of love and hugs xxx

  17. I never realised how similar our stories were, Noelle. You are an inspiration and a beautiful soul. I hope writing this novel helped you heal in some way too xxx