I am absolutely delighted to be on the blog tour for Lie With Me today especially as it has just been chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club! To celebrate I have my review and a Q&A with author Sabine Durrant.
Q&A with Sabine Durrant…
Did you always plan to write novels or was it a natural progression for you as a journalist?
I always wanted to write novels. But I loved being a journalist. I loved working in newspapers – the buzz, and being around clever people, and having to work fast and under pressure. I always had an idea that I would one day start writing in the evenings and on weekends, but newspapers demand long hours and often I had to work at the weekends, so the days and weeks and months went by…and weirdly that first novel never appeared. It was only when I had two small children that novel-writing became a serious option: I knew I would have to give up working in newspapers if I wanted to see the kids more and that was when I came up with the idea for my first novel. In a way, Having It And Eating It was my parachute out.
Do you have a writing routine or any writing superstitions?
I have a rule, when I in the middle of a novel, that I have to write 1,000 words a day five days a week. I tell myself it doesn’t matter how good those words are; I just have to get them down on paper. I don’t show anyone the first draft until I have finished it. I would prefer not even to talk about it actually so the synopses that publishers quite reasonably ask for are almost the hardest part. In terms of routine, I am a bit like a cat. I like the place where I am writing, which might be my bed or the kitchen table, or by the fire (depending on the weather), to be very tidy and very comfortable. I always start writing with a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate – it’s like a bribe to myself, when I’ve done all the tidying, to make myself sit down.
Which of your books are you the most proud of and why?
Lie With Me is my favourite. It’s the first novel written in a voice that is completely not mine, a male voice for one thing, and one with assumptions and attitudes that are often anathema to me. I enjoyed writing this book the most – it came quite quickly and easily – and I am proud of the fact that the plot is so intricately bound up with character.
Was there a reason you chose Greece as the holiday setting here?
I wanted a location that was hot and bright and vivid to contrast with the wet and dreariness of London; the heat was important because I wanted the characters to literally, and metaphorically, take their clothes off while they were there – to reveal themselves if you like. A Greek island appealed because the few that I have visited have quite opposite types of tourism, clubs and pubs in one part, middle class families pottering in boats in another, and that was useful in terms of the plot, and also lots of different places where a body might lie undiscovered, rocky inlets, and secret beaches and wild interiors. An island, as Agatha Christie demonstrated so well, is a brilliant location for a thriller.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my fourth thriller. Do you mind if I don’t say anything more than that (see answer to question 2, above)?!
Congratulations on being chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club. Which other authors or books would you like to see on that list in the future?
Gosh, that’s a hard question to answer; it needs to be a book that isn’t yet in paperback and it should ideally be by someone who hasn’t had much exposure. The problem is that the book I’ve loved most in hardback this year is by a well-known author, but it’s so good I can’t not recommend it. So the book I’d like to see on the list this summer is Commonwealth by Ann Pat
Many thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me and congratulations once again!
About this book…
A few little lies never hurt anyone. Right?
Paul has a plan. He has a vision of a better future, and he’s going to make it happen.
If it means hiding or exaggerating a few things here and there, no harm done.
But when he charms his way on to a family holiday…
And finds himself trapped among tensions and emotions he doesn’t understand…
By the time he starts to realise that however painful the truth is, it’s the lies that cause the real dam
Oh my oh my! Looks like this is going to be another “Marmite” book that you will either love or dislike intensely. But I have to say that having read and liked Sabine Durrant’s previous books, this is my favourite by far-I absolutely bloody loved it!!!!!! It just had everything that I want in a book, horrible people, dysfunctional families, death, suspense and all set in my most favourite place in the world…Greece. If I’d been able to, I would have been laying on my sunlounger with a large Mythos and a plate of olives to get the full effect but a rainy day in Cheshire gave me just as much of an excuse to curl up and read this in one sitting.
Paul Morris is our narrator here and he isn’t a very nice person. Having had one major literary success in his early twenties, he is still dining out on it now aged 42. He is one of those men who makes women feel uncomfortable, the way he talks about women (and girls) is just creepy and some of the things he did or said just made my skin crawl! A chance meeting with an old friend from university leads him to meet Alice, a widow, who invites him to holiday with her and extended family and friends on a Greek Island. Paul seems to have no qualms about using people to satisfy his own needs (sex, money, a place to live) so this holiday seems heaven sent but it is far from the relaxing break he was expecting.
I love being surprised and this book did that from start to finish. I also love a dark and brooding hero but Paul was the most vile character and everything he did just wound me up. It was cringe worthy the way he acted around women especially. Although, truthfully, none of these people were the type I would normally warm to and so it takes a lot of skilful writing to make us care about what happens to them! I loved the theme of Lies used throughout, the quotes and the double entendres especially once the entire group move out to Greece. And I can’t think of anywhere better to have set this domestic noir than in the beautiful Greek countryside, I could almost feel the heat generated by the hot Greek sunshine and hear the sounds of donkeys and dogs and buzzing mosquitoes!
It took me quite a long time to work out where this was going (I was having too much fun grimacing at Paul’s behaviour) but when the finale did roll around it was just so satisfying, perfectly handled and rounded off the plot nicely. I really did just love it from start to finish.
I received an advanced copy from Veronique at Hodder so thank you and this is my unbiased review.
Lie With Me: The Sunday Times bestseller is available to buy now!