I was delighted to be invited to be part of The Next Big Thing by Matthew Hirtes, author of Going Local in Gran Canaria and guru on all things Spain – way beyond the sun, sea and vino rojo. Matthew covers the Canaries for the likes of Condé Nast Traveller and the Independent. Check out what he is up to here:
Thank you for thinking of me, Matthew. Here we go with those all important questions on my very own Next Big Thing…
What is the working title of your book?
Well first up, I am deliriously happy to announce that my book no longer needs a working title as it has just been published! My novel spent a long time being Dear Em, then it switched to NOT an Affair to Forget and finally went via Two Weeks in Paris to arriving at Sleeping People Lie. Oh – and it was The Hands of The Mistress at one stage but that awkwardly coincided with 50 Shades. It’s not ‘Mummy Porn’ so we lost that title quickly!
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Sleeping People Lie is a love story from two points of view – that of Nicholas, an artist and writer from Boston and Sloane, a would-be writer from Stamford, England. I wanted to examine the power of perception; how two different voices can influence the reader one way and then the other.
What genre does your book fall under?
Since my first novel, The Thinking Tank, found itself in the top 50 on Women´s Contemporary Fiction on Amazon, I am now confident that this is my genre. There is certainly a literary element to it but it´s a page-turning read, that´s never difficult. I always hesitate with the ‘Women’s’ Fiction idea though as lots of guys have read my first novel and loved it – so I really hope my gentlemen readers will also enjoy Sleeping People Lie, especially since, unusually, Nicholas, my male protagonist, has a voice in matters of the heart.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
If I were choosing actors for the parts of Sloane and Nicholas it would have to be Emily Blunt and I would need a younger Matthew McConaughy. Maybe someone could suggest who that might be!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Sleeping People Lie is a compelling love story with a dark edge set between Paris and New York with themes of love, guilt, blame, lies and secrets – an ‘emotionally intelligent page-turner’. (Okay – I cheated with the dash!)
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Sleeping People Lie is published by Summertime Publishing without an agent. It has just gone live on both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I am pretty disciplined about my writing and make myself complete a minimum word count of 1500 words per day. However, the words just tumbled onto the page and the characters just raced away with the plot of Sleeping People Lie such that the first draft took me from 17 May until the middle of July – two months flat.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It´s difficult to compare my novel with any other since all books have their own flavour. One reader did remark that the shifting viewpoints put her in mind of Andrea Levy´s Small Island. We are in the realm of obsessive love, conscience, blame, lies, guilt and the effect our actions have on others. Sleeping People Lie has been described as a ‘haunting love story that keeps you guessing all the way.’ ‘Written with emotional honesty and in atmospheric detail, presenting the reader with a sometimes uncomfortable but brutally credible exploration of the dark side that lies within us all.’
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Well now, I suppose I do have to tell… I guess it was largely inspired by how people took sides when my own relationship came to an end – how people judge and decide what happened without even a nod to the truth!
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I have woven in the story of Rodin and his mistress, Camille Claudel. Not in a high-brow way, but the story takes a look at the dark side of compulsive love and the effect it has on those involved and those around them. It’s certainly not 50 Shades of Jae but it does have its moments! Have you ever felt that frisson of all-consuming infatuation dancing through your veins? Nicholas and Sloane have too…
Now it’s time for me to hand the baton of The Next Big Thing on to my five chosen authors…
I am very happy to pass the torch to bestselling author, Janna Gray (http://jannagray.wordpress.com/ . Janna started her career as a teacher and part-time writer for magazines and newspapers in the Far East. Her debut novel Kilingiri, set in exotic locations, deals with the universal themes of love and loss and the healing power of forgiveness.
Lynda Renham (www.renham.co.uk) is the bestselling author of Croissants and Jam. Her latest novel Coconuts and Wonderbras is out now and guaranteed to raise a laugh. It’s a fun romance where diets are the order of the day and where love blossoms for literary agent Libby Holmes. Come with Libby on her romantic comedy adventure to see if love blossoms in the warm Cambodian sunshine or if, in the heat of the day, emotions get just too hot to handle.
Chris Edwards is author of Running In Corridors. His hero, Frankie, is a wise cracking, womanising, half Gypsy, he lives in a shabby caravan, on a dilapidated small holding in rural Shropshire, and scrapes a living breeding hens and doing odd jobs. http://www.amazon.co.uk/RUNNING-CORRIDORS-THE-GYPSY-ebook/dp/B009Y81FG2/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1351612751&sr=8-4
Jack Scott (http://www.jackscott.info/perking-the-pansies.html) is author of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey. This critically acclaimed debut book is a bitter-sweet tragi-comedy that recalls the first year of a gay couple in a Muslim land.
Elle Amberley (http://elleamberley.wordpress.com/) writes novels, ‘the result of too much imagination and constant scenarios playing in her head’. Although she is a British author, she likes to dabble in French too and is working on a French novel. Her latest read, Lost In Her Time, which is set in Paris, follows Natasha, when she clicks on an internet link only to find her life turned upside down by an encounter with a handsome French rock star.
Just to say finally – I would LOVE reviews for Sleeping People Lie on Amazon, Goodreads and wherever else you would like to post them. I always hugely appreciate my readers and never lose sight of the fact that they are the reason why I work hard to write what I hope others will love to read.