Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald & Siobhan was very kind to take part in a Q&A for me as part of the Blog Tour. I was thrilled to be asked by Hayley Steed from ED Public Relations to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour below.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The plot for Twisted River hinges on the story a house swap. The idea became a talking point when planning a family holiday to New York a number of years ago as a way of having an interesting alternative to a regular package holiday. But the more I thought about it, the more the suggestion was riddled with potential hazards.
It seemed a leap of faith that could so easily unravel into more than a house swap. Entering a space that someone else inhabits, into someone else’s world and they to yours seemed fraught with all kinds of risk. A house swap could mean stepping into far more than the bricks and mortar that bounded someone else’s home.
The notion of people you have never met in real life wandering casually around your home is quite peculiar. The house-swap challenges comfort zones and notions of privacy. In an age where social media smudges the edge of personal space, for most people their home still remains their castle - somewhere where they can pull up the drawbridge at the end of the day.
Despite assurances and safeguards from websites, when arrangements such as house-swaps are conducted on the web, what guarantees do we really have that people are who they say they are, or indeed that they are the owners or occupants of a property in question?
Twisted River was also inspired in part by the sentiment once expressed by Robert Louis Stevenson “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”.
What books have most influenced your life?
Like so many others that write thrillers and mysteries, I too salute Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ as one of the best books that I have ever read. That it has stayed with me so many years after reading is testament to the enduring quality of the novel. It’s dark, it’s menacing, the characters intriguing, the setting almost three-dimensional. Manderley burrowed its way into my head a long time ago and has stayed there ever since.
Other books that also remain with me are William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘The Poisonwood Bible’, and Henri Charrière’s ‘Papillon’.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
Creating an opening tantalizing enough to whet a reader’s appetite. Knowing how much to reveal and when to reveal it to maintain interest and suspense. As much of the book is set in New York I wanted the descriptions of the geography and the landscape to be accurate. I drew on my personal experience of my holiday there and verified it by consulting maps.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Sorting out the timelines was a challenge as each family’s experience needs to dovetail on a timeline with the other. There was also the challenge of time zones as one drama unfolds in GMT and the other in Eastern Standard Time.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
As a writer you could probably edit forever but at some point you have to let go. Perhaps there are some turns of phrase that I would change. Each time you do a read-through you can think of better ways to express things. But as for the story itself - no. I’m happy with that. Early murmurings suggest that readers are engaging with it too and as a writer that’s so encouraging to hear.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently read Peter Swanson’s ‘The Kind worth Killing” which is thriller about deceit and revenge. I thoroughly enjoyed the read as it was particularly well-plotted.
I'd like to thank Siobhan MacDonald for taking part in my Q&A session on my blog today for the Twisted River Blog Tour and you can read the blurb below for Twisted River which is now available on Kindle for 99p.
Blurb from Goodreads
“She would never have fit as neatly into the trunk of his own car.” Limerick, Ireland: the O’Brien family’s driveway. American Oscar Harvey opens the trunk of his hosts’ car and finds the body of a woman, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning.
Kate and Mannix O’Brien live by Curragower Falls in Limerick, in a lovely house they can barely afford. Their son Fergus is bullied at school, and their daughter Izzy blames herself, wishing she could protect him. Kate decides that her family needs a vacation, and is convinced her luck’s about to change when she spots a gorgeous Manhattan apartment on a home-exchange website.
Hazel and Oscar Harvey and their two children live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful and happy, Hazel has mysterious bruises, and Oscar is hiding things about his dental practice. They, too, need a change of pace. Hazel has always wanted her children to see her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages. But this will be anything but a perfect vacation. And the body in the trunk is just the beginning.
Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonald is published on 18th April by Canelo, price £1.99 in eBook.