You know when you think it’s a good idea to move near work and end up leaving six months later? That’s me. My new job commute’s going to be quite a bit longer than my current one. Which I don’t mind at all, as a) HELLO, dream job. So worth it. And b) it’ll give me the chance to read more books.
I used to drop quite a few book-y posts here and there on the blog, and it’s something I want to do more of, albeit with more structure. There’s nothing like a good book to while away the hours on a quiet weekend – so I’m hoping to squeeze in some ‘Book Club’ posts a few weekends a month. Because what better time is there for reading and red (wine) than a lazy Sunday, right?
I recently received a copy of Liz Nugent’s new thriller, Lying In Wait, and was asked to take part in her blog book tour. Which is pretty cool, as a lot of other blogs taking part are actual book bloggers. It also included the chance to get a Q&A chat with the author herself – dubbed by fellow author Sophie Hannah as ‘A stunningly talented writer’.
Forgive the stock image (although it’s pretty cool, right?), I was actually so excited to get my nose into this I forgot to take a picture myself. The plan was to snap it alongside a nice glass of red wine in some kind of lovely photo arrangement of my fave reading atmosphere, but as soon as I read the first couple of pages before heading out to work it was living in my backpack for the tube journey.
The story begins in 1980, with respected couple Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimmons. A judge and his quiet, reclusive wife who just so happen to have murdered a girl and buried her in the garden of their grand home. As Andrew falls apart and Lydia stays strong for the sake of their teenage son, Laurence, a tale of two families bound together by a terrible act begins to unfold.
From the first chapters, I was totally hooked on Lying In Wait. Through the way Liz writes and the changing perspectives of characters, there’s a real sense of overbearing dread and suspense throughout the plot. You know something major is going to happen, but you don’t know when. There are some great twists too, even early on in the story.
Laurence’s obsession with the dead girl’s family, and in particular her sister, is one of the many pretty chilling things in the story – the development of his character was one I found particularly interesting, particularly an exploration of his own darkness. And as for his mother, Lydia – I wasn’t sure whether I felt disgust or pity towards her.
With excellent storytelling and a gripping plot, Lying In Wait is an absolute stormer of a read – full of tension with flawed multi-dimension characters. A total page turner, this psychological chiller will definitely stick in your mind once you’ve turned the last page.
As part of the book’s blog tour this month, I also got to ask Liz herself a couple of questions to share her own thoughts on the story, characters and writing process…here’s what she said:
Hi Liz! I’ve loved reading Lying In Wait – could you talk me through where the idea for the story first came from and how it developed?
A man once told me that he strongly suspected his father had murdered a prostitute in the 1960s. He had no evidence or no way of proving it. He never had the courage to challenge his father and went to his grave wondering. I decided to explore what that might be like.
I started writing the story from the boy’s point of view, but after I completed a first draft, my editor pointed out that his mother was a far more interesting character. She is a very complex, dishonest and manipulative woman so the story developed from her perspective, and then later, I also introduced the sister of the dead girl as my third narrator. She was a combination of two peripheral characters in the first draft, but she came to life pretty quickly in the redrafting process.
When it comes to your writing process, how do you go about pulling the story together? How much advance planning do you do when it comes to the plot and twists?
I start with one character in my mind and a very broad outline of what is going to happen and then I look at the people who might surround that character. The twists and turns in the story evolve organically. I try to defy the reader’s expectations as much as possible. Usually, when a character makes poor decisions, you get drama!
Lying In Wait unfolds from multiple first-person character perspectives – did you have a favourite ‘voice’ to write?
I have to admit that even though Karen is the most decent and honest character, I really loved Laurence. He was so naïve to begin with and then so blind to his mother’s flaws, but I enjoyed writing Lydia so much more. She says the unthinkable and she is a hopeless snob which I find quite funny!
What did you find to be the biggest challenges of writing such a twisted, dark story?
The structure. Originally, I had it all happen over one timeline, but when I got into the nuts and bolts of the story, I couldn’t really do it without big time lapses so I ended up writing it in two distinct sections set five years apart with a very short present day epilogue at the end.
Finally – for anyone who’s enjoyed reading Lying In Wait, what other authors and recent book releases would you recommend?
For a brand new creepy read, I would recommend Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserburg, or for a story with a really endearing child protagonist, My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal.
Lying In Wait is due for release on 14th July – order your copy here now!
*I was sent a copy of the book for an honest review – and I really did love it!