So today its all about “The Cry” from Helen Fitzgerald, a book that touched my heart and made me sob. Beautifully written and evocative, you can see my review shortly, but Helen kindly agreed to answer some questions for me and here is what she had to say.
Was the cry difficult to write from emotional point of view?
It was torture. I’ve never been inside someone’s head to this extent, and Joanna’s head was a bad place to be. I had to imagine I’d lost my child, that I believed it was my fault, and that the only person at my side was the wrong person, a bad person. I intended to write the whole novel from her point of view, but after 50 pages I realised I had to get out. So I introduced the ex-wife, and alternated between the two of them. I’m glad I did – a large theme in the story is about the relationship between two women who’ve been hurt by the same man.
How much, if at all, did real life stories of abduction influence the story?
I think we all grow up with one particular crime story. Mine was the Lindy Chamberlain case. While holidaying at Ayers Rock in 1980, a dingo took her baby from the tent while she and her husband were socialising with other campers. She was the first huge trial by media over there. It’s all anyone in Australia talked about for months, years even. And everyone thought she was guilty as hell. The courts agreed, only to discover her innocence after she’d done three years in prison.
The Cry is different – we know the parents are guilty very early on in the book, albeit by accident – but I drew on the trial by media of the Chamberlain case, and on the terrible tendency we have to accuse and crucify women who don’t fit our perception of the “good mother” and the likeable woman.
Did you always know how it was going to turn out?
Yes. I usually know the ending, even the last line, when I start writing. I think that’s what made it hard to write all the way to the end, because I knew I’d probably cry a lot.
Can you tell us anything about your next project?
I’m editing the next thriller with Faber, out Sept 2014. I remember visiting my grandmother when she was in Nazareth House in Melbourne. Whenever I visited she’d say “That nurse is trying to kill me.” I look back on it now and worry that I dismissed her panic as the ramblings of a woman with dementia, when the nurse could well have been trying to kill her. My next book is about an 82 year old with dementia (Rose) who believes something sinister is going on in her care home. Rose was a children’s author and illustrator, and draws pictures when she’s connected to remind her of what’s going on so she can alert people. Of course, no-one believes her… and there is something very sinister going on.
The top 3 authors you like to read currently?
Alissa Nutting (Tampa). Clare McGowan (The Lost), Karen Campbell (This is Where I am).
First thing, apart from loved ones and pets, you would rescue from a burning building.
Nothing. If my husband and kids are safe, I wouldn’t care about anything else at all. I’d just run very fast, making sure they’re ahead of me.
Thank you so much Helen.
Thank you kindly to Helen Fitzgerald and the Publisher for the advance copy of this novel.
Baby Noah goes missing from a roadside in Australia and the media attention is intense and extreme. Battling their loss and the attention, Noah’s parents Alistair and Joanna slowly start to fall apart. As the search heads ever closer to the truth of what happened to Noah, the blame game begins…
I’m not sure how best to describe “The Cry”. The blurb calls it a “psychological thriller” and yes I suppose it is in a way. But I have to say I read it more as a family drama – the characterisation is pure and oh so realistic and Ms Fitzgerald has used real life to great effect – we have all seen on the news many high profile missing children cases where first sympathy abounds then suspicion begins…and how social media can play such a huge role in the pressure put upon parents and the police in these situations. What she has done is put a human face on it – the public can’t see what goes on behind closed doors when the 24/7 news cycle goes mad but in this fictional story thats exactly what we get. Brilliantly done.
Timeslips are used to great effect – we see Joanna and Alistair’s journey with Noah from leaving Scotland, on various legs of the flight to Australia, at the same time hints and teasers about what is actually going on now. As the strands come together the whole picture emerges…in a fascinating way. There is no real attempt at hiding secrets here – although what you see may not always be what you get – its very much about the emotion behind the mask and how you can never know what really goes on in someone elses head. As Joanna heads further and further into what could almost be called insanity, you will feel for her…and for those around her.
Its an amazing book to be sure. I have read some fantastic books lately, this has been a terrific year for terrific novels – yet I sense that this is the one that will stay with me for a long time. Beautifully written, characters you will relate to and feel for and a story that could so easily be truth you should certainly not miss this one. Cry? Oh yes. Indeed I did.
Happy Reading Folks!
Find out more here: http://helenfitzgerald.wordpress.com/
You can follow Helen on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/FitzHelen
Happy Reading Folks!