Interviews for the next few weeks will be with our Editors as part of ‘The Next Big Thing’ chain of interviews.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I tend to begin with a concept that’s driven by a single event, its influence rippling outwards. I have to be fascinated by this original conceit, obsessed almost, in order for the book’s architecture to emerge, its characters, plot and texture fashioned from this fulcrum.
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a novel that’s been termed a literary thriller and a psychological suspense.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ve had the wonderful Suranne Jones pencilled in for ages. In fact I’ll be distraught if anyone else plays the lead. And Cillian Murphy. Perhaps a cameo by Daniel Day Lewis – I’ve heard he’s tipped for big things.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
‘What happens when everything you believe about the true meaning of family is shattered?’ Or as Patrick Gale remarked: ‘As unsettling as it is minutely imagined, this striking debut novel from Tom Vowler will give serious pause for thought to anyone considering downsizing for a cosy life in the countryside.’
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About two years, perhaps a little less. I’m a big re-writer, my scalpel’s blade replaced ad infinitum. It’s useful to remember Hemingway’s truism that first drafts are generally shit.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Once the story has begun to play out in my mind, it creates its own momentum, inspiration replaced more by discipline and fear. The idea came from a single news cutting, a set of circumstances that I found both intriguing and frightening.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Its main narrator is female. I am not. And Atticus Finch makes a brief appearance.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The novel is out with Headline this April.