I’ve been tagged  by fellow writer Zoe Strachan. Zoe is a novelist, short story writer, librettist and playwright. Her most recent novel is the completely absorbing ‘Ever Fallen in Love’ http://ow.ly/gcYIa

I have been invited by Zoe to answer some questions about my current book, and then to tag five other authors about their Next Big Thing. This is about my most recent novel, as my Next Big Thing is at a very early stage indeed!

What is the title of your book?
Tell Me Where You Are http://ow.ly/gcZet

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It was Christmas morning and I had just fetched the turkey from the cold shed in the garden where it had been concealed from the cats all night.  Taking it out of the bag, I suddenly thought how terrible if it turned out not to be completely dead.  It was as if I’d had a dream about that – and maybe I had, but without remembering it.  I got my notepad out and wrote a paragraph which turned out to be the first paragraph of the novel.  In the New Year, I began to write…

What genre does your book fall under?
Literary Fiction.  It’s probably aimed at the middle ground of women’s fiction, but I’ve had appreciate male readers too.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a very nice idea and it’s certainly a filmable book, but so unlikely to happen that I’ve no hesitation in suggesting Meryl Streep (with a credible Scots accent . . .) for Frances, the main character.  No idea yet about any of the other . . .

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
On Christmas Eve, Frances gets a call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago: Susan has disappeared, and as one trouble follows another, the family finds that the middle sister is as powerful and disruptive as ever, even when she’s absent.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither.  My first two novels were published by Hodder some years ago; this one is published by Sandstone Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I can’t remember!  It usually takes about a year to complete the first draft of a novel, but it can be years in the thinking before I start writing.  The people are often around in my imagination before I have a story for them.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I think I’m probably somewhere in the area where Carol Shields and Penelope Lively work – using family life as the context for tensions, secrets and troubles.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I can’t say I’ve ever been ‘inspired’ to write any novel, but reading good writers always sends me back to writing myself – or, given the way my life has been over the last seven or eight years – to wishing I could write again.  Never mind, 2013 is the year I go back to it!  I have a notebook with several short pieces which belong in something new, and I’ll be working again in January, the best month, I believe, to start a novel.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
What do you do when someone disappears and you find out that really, it’s best that she is absent? All she ever did was cause trouble and yet, her daughter, the niece taken away when she was tiny (and now an awkward teenager) cares very much about where her mother has gone.  You have to do something.

Thank you very much to Zoe Strachan for tagging me!

To learn more about Zoe’s writing, visit  www.zoestrachan.com

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