My special author guest today is L.M. Brown. We’re chatting about her new contemporary fiction with a twist, titled, Hinterland.
Welcome, L.M. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am the author of the novel Debris and the short story collections Treading the Uneven Road and Were We Awake. My short stories have been published in over a dozen literary magazines and have won or been shortlisted in various awards.
Please tell us about your current release.
Hinterland is contemporary fiction and has been described by reviewers as a slow burn suspense and a mix between family drama and thriller. The story centers around Nicholas Giovanni. He is devoted to his five-year old daughter and has to take care of his partner Kathleen, whose last involuntary admission to hospital was when she was pregnant. The return of Nicholas childhood friend next door adds to his already tense household. Already unstable, Kathleen grows jealous until a day of violence ensues. Kathleen is taken away, but no-one will tell Kate what happened or where she is. Nicholas believes he is protecting his daughter with his silence, but this brings a rift between them. She grows from his sweet five-year old to an angry and rebellious teenager. When she runs away, he realizes he has to tell her the truth. The book examines the effect of secrets and the living with the choices we are forced to make.
Mako Yoshikawa was kind enough to read the book and write a blurb-this was what she had to say:
You won’t be able to put this novel down. At once a sweeping love story and a domestic drama, Hinterland, which chronicles how the life of Nicholas Giovanni is upended by betrayal, acts of shocking violence, and secrets, unfolds like a thriller. Lorna Brown’s skills as a storyteller are matched only by the compassion and grace of her characters—all of them flawed, struggling, suffering, and yet yearning and striving for more. –Mako Yoshikawa, author of One Hundred and One Ways and Once Removed
What inspired you to write this book?
Hinterland took ten years to write and many drafts. When I began the story, Kathleen appeared and took over everything. It took a few drafts to realize that the story had to be centered around Nicholas and Kate. So, the inspiration was the characters.
Excerpt from Hinterland:
“Why do you always sleep here?” Kathleen asked. She was leaning against the door. She hadn’t changed much since he’d met her gaze in the rearview mirror and was struck by her beauty, though there was some roundness to her cheeks now and less fire in her grey eyes. “I wanted to stay with Kate.”
“But it’s not just when Kate’s here. It’s all the time. In the mornings after you bring her to school you come here.”
He sat on the side of the bed and rubbed his face. They’d gone through this so many times before. A few months ago, he would have said, “For fuck sake, I work, take care of Kate and you, what more do you want?”
But he was tired of hearing her say, “Don’t ask stupid questions,” and of the arguments that would ensue. Voices would rise while Kate pretended to watch television. Sometimes Adrial, from next door, would appear with her son to ask if Kate wanted to go to the park with them. Kathleen never answered the door. The bell would go and she’d stand rigid and let him deal with the visitor and she would not move while he got Kate ready, and told her to be good, and thanked Adrial, a chubby woman with black hair, who had a way of looking at him that made him feel ashamed. So, though he was grateful for her care of Kate, he’d grown to hate her arrival too.
Now, he said, “I’m tired Kathleen, okay? I don’t need this.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I recently finished a book called Our Wandering, that’s set in Dublin-It’s about two sisters, Mona and Stace. Stace ran away for the first time when she was thirteen, but it wasn’t the last time. The family was never able to read the signs for when she might leave and were constantly afraid Stace might take off. When Stace runs away again at twenty-two, she phones Mona crying because she hit someone with her car.
In her search for her sister, Mona begins to question what really happened when they were younger and if the hit and run might have something to do with the past.
Through memory and searching, Mona begins to unravel the truth and paint a picture of her sister that is completely different to what she once believed.
The novel examines the fickleness of memory and the effects of not asking the right questions.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always wanted to write. I studied psychology in college and then I traveled for years to find something to write about, so I was thirty before I finally set down to it and started to consider myself a writer
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, as much as I can with three daughters.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Oh ha-lets think-my favorite time to write is in the morning, and I love writing in my pajamas, is that a quirk?
When I start a project, I’m thinking of it all the time and constantly text myself thoughts during the night. I like silence. I rarely put on music, but I can write in the middle of mayhem. I do a little jig if I’ve written something that I am really happy with.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just when I was writing this, I got an email saying Hinterland won the Literary Titan Book Award — and I hope they will give Hinterland a chance — ten years to write, but only hours to read.
Thanks for joining me today, L.M.!