Today on Love Books Group Blog, I have an interview with
author Sarah Barton.
Working in a fading Manchester department store, four women hide their dark secrets: abuse, an illicit affair, huge debts and an overwhelming desire to have a child at any cost. Will their secrets destroy them or can they together find a solution?
| Interview |
- What book from your childhood still has a place in your heart today?
My favourite book as a child was Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree. Her skill at storytelling removed any boundaries of the imagination, leaving the reader believing that anything is possible. I spent most of my early years gazing up at trees or peering into bushes to see who inhabited their leafy branches. Needless to say, I always had grazed knees and elbows from not watching where I was going!
- Which fictional character stayed with you long after you finished the book?
Each one of those characters have stayed with me. Moonface, Silky, the angry pixie… total escapeism!
- Can you tell us a little bit about your journey with your new release?
When I started writing ‘Ladies’ Day’ I drafted the synopsis, drew up a timeline and a storyboard as every good novelist should do. I had a clear structure in my head as to where and how each character would go on their individual journeys. That’s when they decided that they were having none of it! My finely tuned structure crumbled as each lady took her own path without having the courtesy of consulting me about it.
- Do you feel an emotional connection to your character(s)?
I feel that I have an affinity with every one of my ladies.
Hayley’s story is underpinned by her desperation to have a baby. We had been married for a few years when we discovered that I faced the same situation as Hayley. I can remember quite clearly the heartache each empty month would bring. Happily we did eventually manage to have our beautiful children Sam and Emily.
Amanda is a victim of domestic abuse. Thankfully that is not something that I have ever experienced personally but I do see both victims and perpetrators in my line of work. It is those stories from which I have drawn to understand the terror of not knowing which monster would be waiting at home.
My affinity with Jane comes in the form of her relationship with her parents. Very much like my own parents who never judge me. They scoop me up, dust me off and put me back on my feet again – no matter what trouble I get into.
And now we come to Marianne – the lovely, carefree spendaholic. I can so relate to her. Shopping is an essential part of existing to Marianne – much like breathing. I know that I can convince myself that a luxury is in fact a necessity, and to not make the purchase would probably alter the course of the universe and therefore it would be rude not to.
- What were your favourite and least favourite parts about writing ‘Ladies’ Day’?
The part of ‘Ladies’ Day’ that I struggled to write were the times when Amanda was suffering at the hands of her violent husband. Often I would feel the need to walk away, put some distance between myself and what was happening to her. I then would feel guilty for leaving her alone with him and so I would return to end her torment as quickly as I could. Conversely the part of Amanda’s storyline that I did enjoy writing were her mother’s appearances. I found a lot of comfort in her musings and much needed light relief.
- What was your favourite read of 2017 or 2018 so far?
My reading appetite is quite varied. I enjoy humour to horror. I have just finished reading ‘The Couple Next Door’ which I found had so many plot twists it really kept me turning the pages.
- If your book came with a theme song, what would it be?
If my novel came with a theme song it would have to be ‘The Fix’ by Elbow. I am passionate about Manchester, and I love the Manchester Elbow.
- Is the genre you write your favourite to read?
I enjoy reading and writing contemporary fiction with gritty, interesting characters that I can relate to.
- If you could ask your readers anything, what would you like to know?
If I could ask my readers anything, it would have to be:
Did ‘Ladies’ Day’ move you emotionally? If the answer is yes then I have achieved what I set out to do. If the answer is no then I must try harder to create a better rapport between my characters and my readers in future pieces of work.
- What are you working on now?
I am currently working on my next novel ‘The Unravelling of Margot Pike’. The story centres on a single twenty-six-year old woman who creates a make-believe world in order to compete with her sister’s exotic life on the other side of the world – as well as to escape her own mundane existence. Her lies become more and more outrageous and the unravelling begins.
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