Monday, you all saw my review of Lucy Atkins' debut, The Missing One, Here's a fun feature where I ask the lovely author questions concerning her debut's characters, scenes and everything her debut. READ to the end there might be a gift for you to unveil.
1. 1 Susannah was one of my favourite characters despite being the most deranged (and also oh-so-well-developed). Did you have any inspirations for her creating her character? (real-life or fictional).
She’s one of my favourite characters too. I have no idea where she came from – there is no real life inspiration. I think that most of us have, at some point or other in our lives, come across difficult, complicated, dangerous women with powerful personalities. She’s a kind of essence of all that!
2. 2. Kali’s sense of motherhood was a striking feature in the novel. How she fought with the arch-villian to prevent the demise of her child was described so vividly. How did you manage to pull off this scene so well? Perhaps you put yourself your character’s shoes or you just watch too much Angelina Jolie flicks?
I am really interested in the power of maternal feelings. I was inspired in fact by a story I read in an American newspaper about a 19 year old singe mother of a baby who had fought off two big guys who broke into her house. The police officer in charge said ‘There’s nothing more dangerous than a mother protecting her child’ and that stuck with me. The lengths we’ll go to to protect our children can be almost superhuman (you hear stories of small women lifting trucks off a child who has been knocked down etc). That’s what I wanted to write about.
3. 3/ Still on motherhood, I find this title would be well-loved by all mothers (new or old). What type of mummy would you characterize your lead as? Is she a manic mummy who spends so much time noting details other mothers would otherwise have ignored? Or would you characterize her as an ignorant mummy. (Whatever your answer is, I’m hoping Susannah would agree).
When it comes to Kali, I think she is a fairly typical, stressed out mum of an active toddler – but her stress of course is made much worse by the fact that her life has collapsed, and she is in this alien place, with a dangerous person. And this is what drives her to make questionable decisions. When it comes to Kali’s mother, Elena, her mothering has been complicated and warped by her own history. She loves her daughter, but the complexity of her history, means she has a hard time showing it.
4. 4. What one tip do you think Kali would give to all mothers?
“Trust your instinct!”
5. 5. Elena and Kali didn’t have the best mother-daughter relationship. What’s the best tip you would give to all daughters who have the same riotous relationships with their mothers?
Kali is determined not to make the mistakes her own mother made, and not to let the past influence how she mothers her own son. I think this is the strength in her (and also, in a sense, the weakness). She is determined to be a better mother, but of course, she can’t really escape her past, and the way she was mothered. So, where she gets to in the end is a deeper understanding of how her own mother shaped her. This will ultimately enable her to be a better mother to Finn, her son. I think that’s what we all have to do in a way. By the way, my own mother – I’m very happy to say – was the best and most loving mother I could have wished for!
6. 6 I described your novel as very well-researched in my review. The information about killer whales was lovely to read about. What do you think humans could learn from Killer Whales?
Killer whales are matriarchal for a start! They are also extremely loyal, with very strong family bonds (and they stay with their mothers for life). They have rituals and traditions and share ‘childcare’. There are numerous ways in which they seem extremely sensibly organized!
7. 7. Which character in your novel are you more likely to be?
I actually don’t feel as if I am any of the characters - or maybe I am all of them. Even Kali is very different to me.
8. 8. Are you working on something new? Could you tell us what it’s about?
I have just finished my second novel, The Other Child, which is set in a suburb of Boston, USA, and is about the devastating secrets inside a marriage.
9. Is there any question you would have wanted me to ask?
Your questions were perfect! Really interesting – thank you so much for having me on your wonderful blog, and for supporting my writing. I hope you enjoy The Other Child as much as you liked The Missing One.
For further information, my website is www.lucyatkins.com.
People can also follow me on twitter: @lucyatkins or Facebook: Lucy Atkins Writer.
All the best
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