I really enjoyed Liz Nugent's page-turning debut Unravelling Oliver, reviewed on my blog here.
As mentioned in my review, once you start reading, it's exceptionally hard to put down.
Well, now Liz has just published her second novel Lying in Wait. It has much in common with Unravelling Oliver - the multiple viewpoints, the why rather than who dunnit - but is equally compelling and no less enjoyable for that.
Today I'm delighted to welcome Liz to my blog to answer questions about Lying in Wait.
1) Lying In Wait, like your first novel Unravelling Oliver, has an
incredible opening line. Why did you decide to open your two novels in
such a distinctive way? And what effect did you want the opening lines
to have on your reader?
I think that in both cases, I
wanted to immerse the reader in the world of the character immediately.
With Unravelling Oliver, ‘I expected more of a reaction the first time I
hit her’ sets you up for a thoroughly dislikeable character, dismissive
of his victim from the very first line. Similarly, in Lying in Wait,
when Lydia opens with ‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle but
the lying tramp deserved it’ she tells you that although she does not
consider herself responsible, she feels the victim earned her own
My hope is that the reader will be intrigued enough by
these opening lines to want to know more about these despicable
characters and their victims.
2) Lydia has a very
distinctive voice yet Lying In Wait is told from the perspective of
three different characters. How did you get into the head of Lydia, who
is such a dark and unlikeable character? And how did you manage to keep
her voice separate from the other two characters, Laurence and Karen?
Lydia was really interesting. Without giving anything away, an incident
that happened on her ninth birthday has left her emotionally stunted,
so even when she is near 50 years old, she still speaks like someone in
1940. Her language is formal, but she is an expert manipulator who must
always find justifications for her actions.
Laurence, her only
son, has quite a sophisticated vocabulary for a young man, but that is
because he had no siblings and therefore grew up mollycoddled in the
company of two middle-class educated adults. He does, however, have his
teenage influences from TV shows and pop music so his language is more
relaxed than that of his mother. He is not clinging to the past in the
way that she is.
Karen comes from a working class background. Her
father and sister both have dyslexia and can barely read. A lot of the
time she speaks in a way that is grammatically incorrect, but she is
smart and has no problem making herself understood. She speaks the
vernacular that she grew up with. Her vocabulary is more limited than
the other two narrators, but she is emotionally more advanced than
either of them.
3) Lying In Wait is set in Dublin during the
1980s. Why did you choose to set it during this time period? And do you
think the time they are living in impacts the characters and their
decisions in any way?
Without giving away too much, in present
day Ireland, nobody would bat an eyelid at a 16-year-old girl
having a baby, but I needed to write about a time where that would have
consequences. For Annie Doyle, those consequences were devastating and
really dictated the course of her life thereafter.
Also, I grew up
in the 1980s in Ireland and it was quite a scary time for a child. There
was constant talk of nuclear war between Russia and the US, the IRA was
bombing innocent children in the UK, Ronald Reagan and the Pope survived
assassination attempts and John Lennon was shot dead on a New York
street. It was a time of great unease and uncertainty and there was an
underlying feeling that the world could end at any time. In writing
Lying in Wait, I wanted to capture that sense of unease without
referencing all those events. I hope I managed to do that.
4) You’ve described your book as ‘a mother’s love can be smothering’. Why did you choose to write about such a sinister mother?
don’t think there are enough sinister mothers in fiction! There are
lots and lots of horrific fathers but I really couldn’t think of too
many mothers that were murderous like Lydia is. Also, I like to confound
expectations. With the opening line above, you don’t really expect that
Lydia might be the driving force behind the murder, but she is, and
5) Lying In Wait has been compared to Gillian
Flynn’s Gone Girl. In what ways do you think your novel is similar to
Gone Girl, and in what ways is it different?
I hope that
Lying in Wait is as compelling as Gone Girl and that readers will see
both books as page-turners where you want to get to the next chapter
quickly. I guess where we differ is that I use lots of twists and turns
along the way rather than one big one in the middle. I admire Gillian
Flynn enormously and am flattered that anyone would compare me to her!
6) What can we expect from you next?
crossed book 3 next September 2017, but I have had very little time to
work on it over the past month or two so that may not be realistic!
Thanks very much Liz!
Thank you Claire for the great questions and for taking part in the blog tour! x
Lying in Wait is published in the UK by Penguin Books. Many thanks to them for my review copy and for facilitating this Q and A.