~WEDNESDAY 11th FEBRUARY 2015
In my last blog post What I’ve been reading – January 2015 I briefly touched upon a book that I fell head over heels in love with.
That book was Just What Kind Of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly.
Well, I’m utterly delighted and honoured that she’s agreed to feature on my blog today! I finished her second book Keep Your Friends Close last night and it didn’t disappoint! But first of all, let’s find out a little bit more about Paula Daly …
Paula Daly was born in Lancashire. She was a self-employed physiotherapist before beginning her first novel JUST WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU? Her second novel KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger Award and her work has been translated into fourteen languages. She lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children and whippet Skippy. You can find her on twitter: @pauladalyauthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paula-Daly/490968164379299
No family is perfect.
A husband, three children and a full-time job, so many plates to keep spinning.
No wonder you forgot you were supposed to be looking after your friend’s daughter.
But no one has seen her since yesterday.
And she’s not the first to go missing from your small town.
So who’s hiding something?
There are few books in our journey as readers that burrow beneath our soul and remain with us for life.
This is one of them.
The Hunger Games and The Collective Works of A.J Fikry have now been joined by Just What Kind of Mother Are You? in a little bookcase in my head and in my heart.
The reality of this book is stark. We all lead busy lives, juggling work commitments with family and, like Lisa, we’re desperately trying to keep those plates spinning. But what happens when one of those plates falls? That plate of responsibility for caring for another’s daughter – that’s now missing? You can only begin to imagine that kind of predicament. Paula Daly brings this to life – her words get into your head and make you think, they make you consider that in times where we overstretch and over-exert ourselves, that this could potentially happen – this could happen to me.
This book is the definition of a page-turner, I picked it up on the Saturday and finished it on the Monday. It was a constant case of ‘just one more chapter.’
The character’s are realistic, Daly has you engrossed with their lives and gripped as to what becomes of them. I laughed and cried with them. Her dialogue stirs up emotion and you’re desperate to find out what’s happened to the missing girl.
But I won’t spoil it.
You’ll have to read it for yourself.
Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married. Rock solid in fact. So when Natty’s oldest friend, Eve Dalladay, appears – just as their daughter collapses on a school trip in France – Natty has no qualms about leaving Eve with Sean to help out at home.
Two weeks later and Natty finds Eve has slotted into family life too well. Natty’s husband has fallen in love with Eve. He’s sorry, he tells her, but their marriage is over.
With no option but to put a brave face on things for the sake of the children, Natty embarks on building a new life for herself.
And then she receives the note.
Eve has done this before, more than once, and with fatal consequences…
A Pyschological thriller that’s wickedly clever. You can’t help but fall in love with Natty’s control freak nature as she’s like many of us – striving for perfection, to have it all; the husband, the children, the business. But when her daughter takes ill and she rushes to France to be by her side, we see Eve, her friend from college, prey on her weakness – her absence from her already neglected husband.
We’re so wrapped up in Natty making sure that her daughter’s alright that when we get to Eve and Sean’s antics, we’re devastated. Daly builds up the tension from start to finish, with the sexual tension between Eve and Sean, to the volatile feeling Natty has towards them and the effect this has on her daughters. We follow this tension to an intense finale.
There are underlying stories from other characters such as Natty’s father. We also see the return of Detective Constable Joanne Aspinall, who appeared in Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?
Daly has again written a page-turner and Eve is a character that you love to hate. The character’s are realistic and the emotions that they experience, particular Natty, you feel with them. Daly builds up the frustration and anger wonderfully and there’s a scene where she has no means to pay for petrol. It’s a small, but significant scene. A point where we could all relate to the circumstance in one way or another and in this story, it’s like the straw that broke the camels back. Something minor in the grand scheme of things but tips you over the edge.
We’ve all been there in some way shape or form.
Now to get cosy with that cuppa as we chat to the lovely Paula Daly …
Hi Paula and welcome here today.
This book came about directly from an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Overwhelmed, working mother of two, Brenda Slaby, forgets to drop her baby at the babysitter’s, and poor Cecelia dies as a result of heatstroke in the hot August sun.
I was heartbroken by this poor woman’s story, and as I watched, I thought: That could have been me. I, too, was once so overstretched with full time work and children that I could have made a similar mistake.
The more I thought about this awful turn of events, the more I wanted to write about it. But I write thrillers, I could not do Brenda’s story justice. And so it wasn’t until I met a particularly difficult woman, a woman who is in the habit of making a person feel bad about their life, that the story popped into my head. Because I thought: What if you lost her child? What if you were so busy, that you took your eye off the ball, and her child went missing?
This terrified me.
How would you compare writing this book with Keep Your Friends Close?
It differed in two ways. Firstly, Just What Kind of Mother Are You? was much faster to write. I completed it in four months because there was nothing else I needed to attend to – such as interviews, contracts, and all the day to day stuff that occupies an author. Secondly, even though a mystery is harder to construct – making sure all pieces of the jigsaw fit together – it’s actually easier to write than a thriller. Because you don’t have to worry so much about keeping the tension going and holding the reader’s interest. If a child is missing the reader wants to find out what’s happened to that child. This tension is much harder to sustain in a thriller. Which Keep Your Friends Close is.
How do you manage your writing time?
I get the children off to school, put the washing machine on, walk the dog, and then start writing. I aim to write 800 – 1000 words before lunch and I generally don’t switch the Wi-Fi back on until I’m done. I have to be really strict about this as I know after one-thirty P.M. I’m pretty much brain dead. So I don’t answer the phone unless it’s one of the kids calling in distress or some other emergency.
How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurred you on?
I read Stephen King’s book – ‘On Writing’. King encourages you to just start writing and to see what comes out. I began as soon as I finished the book and was surprised to find I didn’t want to stop. I found writing thrilling and knew immediately I wanted to try to make a career out of it if possible.
Where is your best ‘writing space’; the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?
I write in my bedroom overlooking Lake Windermere (although I have to pull the curtain across a little to shade the laptop screen). When I’m stuck I stare out the window and when I’m tired I have a sneaky nap. It is the BEST job.
And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know
I used to clean a brothel.
Thank you for being here today Paula.
You can grab both Paula Daly’s books on Amazon now. Go on – lose yourself for a few days in someone else’s shoes.
I promise you it’ll be worth it.
Love Missuswolf xxx