To kick off the New Year I am excited to be hosting the next stop on Liz Nugent’s Lying In Wait blog tour.
So, as part of the tour I have a fab Q&A with Liz, the author, along with my review.
Welcome to the CKT blog, Liz.
To start off with, can you tell us a little bit about your novel, Lying in Wait and what inspired the idea for this novel?
Lying in Wait details the story of the murder of a young woman in 1980 and the consequences for the family of the murderer as well as the family of the victim. At the centre of the story is a monumentally disturbed and obsessive maternal character, Lydia.
A man once told me that he strongly suspected his father had murdered a prostitute. 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.
Lying in Wait is told from the view point of three different characters. My favourite character to read was Lydia’s view point as she was such an interesting and toxic character, but who was your favourite view-point character to write and why?
I really enjoyed writing Lydia because she says and thinks the most outrageous things and I find snobbery hilarious. But the challenge for me was to keep her real so that she is not a cartoon villain, so I had to explore her past to explain her current psychosis, but you know, when you are writing a character, you have to ‘become’ them a little so you do actually grow to like them no matter how monstrous they are.
I identified with Laurence the most because he is a coward like me who will do anything to avoid confrontation. Karen is the most decent character. She just wants the truth and is extremely tenacious about getting it.
Your novel features a number of time points, starting with 1980, and is full of many twists and turns which I loved! How did you keep track of everything that was going on? Did you plot the story out first or just dived right in? Or a mixture of the two?
I always start off with a half-baked notion but then I find tangents that lead me down more interesting paths as I go. I literally make it up as I go along. I do however, often start at the middle or the end and work my way backwards or forwards from there. Keeping track of things is difficult. It is like when you were a teenager and you lied to your mum about where you were going, but you have to remember the lie and remember all of the details of who knows what. It’s that multiplied by a thousand. Luckily, I lied to my mother A LOT when I was a teenager so I got a lot of practise!
Lying in Wait is actually your second novel. How did you find writing a novel the second time round after the success of your first one, Unravelling Oliver? Did you feel added pressure to write Lying in Wait?
The second novel is definitely harder than the first because you have the weight of expectation, a deadline, a genre into which you must fit, and a lot of readers who you don’t want to disappoint. The pressure is immense. I’m writing my third novel now, and it’s even worse.
The first draft of Lying in Wait was rejected. I rewrote about 75% of it in five months to meet the deadline. Funny thing is, the rewrite wasn’t half as tortuous as the first draft. I don’t mind rewrites. I know this is unusual and most writers hate them, but for me the wrenching of an initial story out of my head and on to the page is the most painful. I’d rather have root canal treatment.
Lying in Wait has an underlying theme of lies, hidden secrets and a mother’s suffocating love. Can you tell us a little bit about why you wanted to explore this in Lying in Wait and what fascinated you most about this darker side of your characters?
I have always been fascinated by the darker characters in literature. Think of Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff, for example, and imagine how his life (and Cathy’s) might have been so different if she had returned his love. She spurned him because of her own snobbery and consequently, they were both miserable for the rest of their lives. Another Bronte sister had Mr Rochester lock his mad wife in the attic while he entertained lavishly with balls and parties. On the outside, these people had money and servants and big houses, but inside, there was tragedy that ran through generations. I find that interesting.
Talking about the theme of secrets, do you have a secret which you would be willing to share with us?
I just ate the Curlywurly my husband thought he had hidden. I am going to plead ignorance and blame my nephew.
Apart from your own fabulous novels, what other crime novels have you read and would recommend as a must for die-hard crime fans, like myself?
The best I have read in recent times is The Dark Adapted Eye by Ruth Rendell (writing as Barbara Vine). It is so brilliantly structured as the truth is drip fed to the reader bit by bit. An absolute classic.
I really enjoy Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series. Her female detective and Neanderthal-but-strangely-attractive colleague Derwent are a wonderful team.
I’m also anxiously waiting for Sinéad Crowley’s third novel. She has a female detective, Claire Boyle, at the centre of her books too. I’m wondering if Claire’s fragile marriage will survive the next case.
And finally, are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away?
My third novel is called Skin Deep. It’s in the early stages so I’m afraid anything I say about it is subject to change. It’s about a woman who is scarred, but not just on the surface.
I would like to say a big thanks to Liz for letting me grill her!
Now for the Blurb and my Review:
A Mother’s Love Can Be Murder
Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must – because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants …
Review: I adored this novel with its cast of compelling but damaged characters, whose toxic lives seem to leap of the page and draw me further into the story.
The story starts off with a bang. I loved it from the very first line where the chilling words ‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it’ truly haunted me. The narrative immediately grabbed my attention, already making me question things like why did he kill her? Why is she a lying tramp? What happened? Is the Lydia telling the truth?
I think my favourite character by far has to be Lydia. Even though she is a serial manipulator and a truly ghastly person, I thought she was a truly fascinating character which kept me reading on. I wonder what this says about me?
In this novel, the author creates a dark and claustrophobic world with its twisted tale of deceit and hidden truths and suffocating love. What is there not to love?
I don’t want to say anything else as I may spoil it, but what I will say is this is a dark and compulsive read full of twists and turns.
About the author:
Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theatre and television. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television dramas and has written short stories for children and adults. Her first novel, the No 1 bestselling Unravelling Oliver, won the 2014 IBA Crime Fiction Award. She lives in Dublin with her husband.
With thanks to Sara D’Arcy at Penguin Random House for my advanced review copy.
To buy this book from Amazon click here.
To buy this book from Waterstones click here.
To find out more about Liz Nugent check her out on Twitter at @.
Don’t forget to check out all the other fab stops on the Blog Tour!