Hello again, everyone! So my review of Lucy Clarke’s latest novel, A Single Breath, just went live and suffice to say, I think it’s the perfect summer read to check out 😉 Thanks to Anneliese at Simon and Schuster CA, I also had the opportunity to ask the author a few questions about the process of writing the book. So thank you again to both the publishers and Lucy Clarke for taking the time to answering my questions 🙂
Also, before I jump right into the Q&A below: you can click on the following images to enlarge 😉 (again, thank you to Simon & Schuster CA for providing the material)
- What inspired you to write this novel?
The idea came from two very separate threads. In 2011, I visited Tasmania for the first time and fell in love with its wild beauty and its remote shacks. Later on that year, I heard of a friend-of-a-friend who was leading a double life in order to hide a huge secret from their family. I was intrigued by the idea of the unknowability of those closest to us, and thought how devastating it would be to find out the truth only when that person had gone. These two threads began to weave together, stitching themselves into the beginning of a story.
- Not very many novels are written in a place as far out as Tasmania. Did you decide you wanted to write a novel in that location first or did you choose the place after you came up with the plot for your novel?
My strongest influence when I write is place. I need to set my novels in a location that fascinates me. So yes, when it came to writing A Single Breath, I knew I would set a novel in Tasmania one day – I just needed to wait until the right story came along.
- There’s an ethereal stillness about Tasmania and the particular location where Eva’s story plays out that really adds to the overall atmosphere of the novel. Tell us about your research trip to Tasmania.
After my first visit to Tasmania, I knew I wanted to set a novel there, so I returned the following year with a story in mind, ready to research the location. I spent an incredible month doing a recce of the island, working out where specific events in the novel would take place, as well interviewing several locals, including two fascinating marine biologists. I also learnt to scuba dive in Tasmania, which gave me a beautiful insight into the underwater world, and helped me write the freediving scenes within the novel.
- A Single Breath had a lot of twists and turns and revelations about Jackson and his past. Perhaps this is a bit of a spoiler-ish question, but was there any particular reveal that you were excited to write about?
I was particularly looking forward to writing the ending. Before I’d even begun writing the novel, I knew how I wanted it to end – and I couldn’t wait to have the space to write those final scenes and explore the complex emotions that each of the main protagonists experiences at that point.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Something that I find very helpful is annotating whatever book I’m reading. I try and think analytically as to why a particular scene was so powerful (or, conversely, why a scene didn’t work). I’ll look at the structure of the novel, or the point of view the author has chosen to tell the story from. Once you begin deconstructing other novels – it helps you develop the tools to construct your own. (If you popped over to my house to borrow a book, you’d find every single one of them covered in my writing! This is why I don’t own an e-Reader still!)
A Single Breath will be available on 8 July 2014. Thank you again to Simon & Schuster CA for the opportunity to ask these questions as well as for the material to accompany this post.