If you read my review from a few days ago, you will know that I absolutely loved Lying in Wait, the new deliciously dark novel from Liz Nugent. It kept me riveted from start to finish and I devoured the whole book in just one day. I was given the opportunity to put some questions to Liz Nugent and you can read what she had to say below.
Q: What inspired you to write Lying in Wait?
A: 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. He told me this story about 25 years ago and he is long dead now. I always wondered what it would be like to grow up in a house where you suspect your father is a murderer.
Q: Lying in Wait has an amazing first line. Did you come up with that first and build the story around it or did you think of it as the story went on?
A: Originally, in the first draft, Laurence was the main character and the first line was ‘We were all liars in my family but Mammy was the best liar of all of us’. Then in the second draft when I had decided that Lydia was the main character, the first line was ‘Technically, it was manslaughter’ but it didn’t tell the reader enough about the character so I cut that first line and made the second line the first line ‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’ This way, the reader knows exactly what kind of person they are dealing with.
Q: As reviews often show that readers were 'hooked from the start', how important do you think first lines are?
A: I like to grab the reader from the get-go and I like to write first person narratives so that the reader is automatically in the head of the character. The first line should set the tone for the book and let the reader know immediately what kind of book they are reading. I’ve only written two books and the first lines of each are so often quoted that I have quite a challenge ahead of me now for how to start book 3!
Q: I had a mental picture of the fabulous Bette Davis as Lydia whilst reading Lying in Wait. If Lying in Wait is made into a film who would you like to see playing Lydia?
A: That’s a great suggestion! I think it does have that film noir feel about it. If they were to cast an Irish actress, I would suggest Cathy Belton who can do charm and menace equally well, but if we’re talking international, I think Julianne Moore would be great.
Q: If you only had one chance to sell Lying in Wait, what would you say to encourage people to read it?
A: The strap line on the front cover is designed exactly for that purpose and my editor and I came up with lots of suggestions but in the end they went with the opening line which I hope is a good selling point!
Q: Lying in Wait is often very dark; how does the mood of your book affect you when you're writing?
A: It really doesn’t at all. As soon as I close the laptop, I am back to my humdrum suburban life and my mood is completely unaffected. My friends are so surprised that I write such sinister stories because in real life, I am fairly light-hearted and up for a laugh.
Q: What do you enjoy most about writing?
A: Inhabiting another character’s head for a while can be very liberating particularly when they are really despicable. You get to say things you wouldn’t dream of even thinking!
Q: When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
A: I love going to the theatre and I love tv drama series. I just inhaled Peaky Blinders and I’m catching up on Line of Duty. So, so good.
Q: I haven't yet had the pleasure of reading Unravelling Oliver but which book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
A: That’s like asking me to choose between my children! But I have to admit that writing isn’t always enjoyable. It is work and like any job, you can have good days and bad days. I wrote Unravelling Oliver over the course of about six years while I held down a fulltime job, whereas Lying in Wait was written in two years when I had no other commitments.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what we can look forward to from you in the future?
A: I’m 48 years old, married, no children. I live in Dublin. My background is in theatre and television production. I am number 5 of nine children. I am an atheist. I don’t like cats or coffee. I am more comfortable in jeans than dresses. I love roast chicken dinners. I read across all genres. I hate ironing but I don’t mind supermarket shopping. I am very tidy. I love sunshine and wish we got more of it in Dublin. I love France. I love going to the theatre. I’d like to live closer to the sea. I have seventeen nieces and nephews and I adore them all.
Hopefully, I will keep writing books with a sinister edge though sometime in the future, I’d like to write a stage play.
Thanks so much Michelle for the great questions and for taking part in this blog tour!
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