MEET THE AUTHOR – Wendy Walker

What would it feel like to be in a constant competition with your sister and mother? Or struggling in a battle with your emotional memory?

Wendy Walker explores the topics of narcissism, judgement, and memory in her two novels, All is Not Forgotten and Emma in the Night.

Emma in the Night is an eerie mystery surrounding the lives of Emma, Cass, and their mother – Mrs. Martin. The relationship the three share is strange to the say the least. For starters, Emma and Cass never call their mother “mom”, but call her by Mrs. Martin. Already there, a separation has been created between the mother and her daughters.

Mrs. Martin is probably the most interesting character in this story. She is a self-involved, narcissistic mother who is always creating some sort of competition between her and her daughters. 

One night, Emma and Cass leave their house, and are never seen again. Until three years later, Emma shows up without her sister… and so begins the investigation of what happened to Emma, and where in the world is Cass?

I loved this novel when I read it just a few short weeks ago. The irritating yet interesting mother, and her odd relationship with her two daughters was intriguing to me that I just wanted to keep on reading. I only wish there was a separate book dedicated to Mrs. Martin!

Wendy Walker was a former family law attorney in Connecticut, who began writing while at home raising her three sons. She’s edited multiple stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul before writing her debut psychological thriller All is not Forgottenfollowed by Emma in the Night. Her first novel All is not Forgotten, is being adapted by Reese Witherspoon and the Pacific Standard!

I was so excited to be able to ask Wendy Walker a few questions! Check it out below:

Who’s your favourite author?

 

I really don’t have one favorite. I love different books by different authors. Denis Lehane’s Mystic River, for example, was a favorite. And I really enjoyed AJ Flynn’s Woman in the Window this past year. 

Favourite book or genre to read?

 

I read mostly in the suspense genre to stay current and also because I am asked to blurb a lot of books! 

When was the moment you realized that you loved literature?

 

When I was in grade school and there was a reading contest over the summer. I was very competitive and read over a dozen books. I can recall understanding the feel a well-told story for the first time that summer. 

You were a former family lawyer and seem to have such an amazing educational background in law! What made you decide to start writing fiction novels – specifically, psychological thrillers?

 

I really wanted to do something that allowed me to spend time with children and decide how best to use my time. I knew I was a good story teller so I started writing!I wrote for many years before my agent suggested I try my hand a psychological thriller, and it turned out to be the perfect fit for my writing style and skills. 

What gave you the inspiration for your debut novel, “All is not forgotten”?

 

I read an article in the New York Times about memory science and how certain drugs were being used to alter the emotional component of traumatic memories in soldiers. The article suggested a possible use in civilian life and I immediately thought about the implications of this for survivors of crime. That became the basis of the novel.

How do you feel to see that your first novel is being adapted to the screen by Warner Bros and Reese Witherspoon?

 

It is incredibly validating to have people of that caliber interested in my work! 

I recently read your second novel, Emma in the night, and I loved the complex relationship between the two daughters and their mother – more specifically, I loved the theme of narcissism that you chose to tackle within your story. What made you pick that?

 

Having worked as a family law attorney, I learned a lot about personality disorders, including narcissism. I found it fascinating and knew it would make the perfect undercurrent for the novel. Most people don’t know about the fragile inner core that narcissists typically have, and it was my hope that I could bring this out in the book. 

I loved the ending in the novel, but I can’t help but think that there are so many more underlying issues within Emma’s character and psyche. Did you find it difficult having to wrap up the story?

 

Yes, of course! With a complex, twisted ending there are always many things to explain and wrap up. The final chapter is always the hardest because everything has to get pulled together so the reader does not feel confused or betrayed by the twist. 

Did your writing process change at all when you began writing your second book?

 

Not really. I write when my kids are out of the house. That’s it! I make myself sit down and utilize that time. I outline the plot and the chapters and have deadlines for completing them. If I didn’t do this, my days would be easily filed with a million small things that always need to be done! 

Can we expect any more books from you coming up?!

I just finished my third thriller. I love it and can’t wait until it comes out in 2019! 

Do you have any advice for young writers out there?

 

Keep writing. Take advice from people in the business. Don’t get stuck with a story that may not be right for the market if you are trying to write commercial fiction. Ego and pride can get in the way and lead you down dead end roads. So be smart about what you write and how you write it so that you can get past the gatekeepers and into the hands of readers!
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Thank you for your time, Wendy! We look forward to your new book in 2019!
Until next time bookies,
Sam A.

BOOK REVIEW – The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY

RATING: 5/5 STARS

RELEASE DATE: May 29th 2018

A dysfunctional family, a quiet troubled protagonist, a mystery ensuing, and secrets revealing – these are the makings of Ruth Ware’s newest novel. Ruth Ware is famous for her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10 and her most recent, The Lying Game. Her novels portray strong, independent female protagonists that are challenged by mysteries and thrilling situations. But, The Death of Mrs. Westaway may be her best novel yet, and it’s most definitely my favourite Ware novel thus far.

PLOT SUMMARY

Harriet Westaway—better known as Hal—makes ends meet as a tarot reader, but she doesn’t believe in the power of her trade. On a day that begins like any other, she receives a mysterious and unexpected letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but she also knows that she can use her cold-reading skills to potentially claim the money.

Hal attends the funeral of the deceased and meets the family…but it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and that the inheritance is at the center of it… (simonandschuster.ca)

The book starts off with a 1994 diary entry from an unknown narrator. Shortly after, the first chapter begins and we are introduced to Hal. A quiet, black haired girl trying to live her life as best she can after experiencing a tragic loss. Immediately you can tell that Hal is lonely, troubled, confused and lost when it comes to her personal life. Couple of chapters later, Hal receives a letter stating that her grandmother has passed away and she is now entitled to a large inheritance. But how could this be? She has no family, and no friends – all she has are a mountain of bills, an unaffordable rent, and a dead end job. The novel continues with Hal wondering if this was a mistake – could this letter be for a different Harriet Westaway? Or should she bite the bullet, go to the funeral, and get that money to pay for her financial woes?

This may seem like I am giving away too much here, but that’s not the case!!! There is SO much more to this story. The characters introduced later on all have such unique personalities and histories, and the dialogue was as if it was straight from an Agatha Christie novel.

If you haven’t ever read an Agatha Christie novel.. firstly YOU SHOULD! And secondly, Christie tells her stories solely through dialogue between her characters. The dialogue holds a majority of the story, rather than the story being set by description or thoughts from the main character, and I think that is my favourite thing about Christie AND this novel!

I read this book on an eight hour flight, and I absolutely devoured it! I loved Hal as a protagonist, and I loved each character. This is the kind of book you want to keep reading just to find out more about these characters and how they came to be who they are. This novel had everything I looked for in a mystery – great dialogue, great characters, relatable protagonist, and family secrets!

If you are looking for a lighter suspense novel, that is bursting with family secrets and mysteries, then this novel is for you!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware will be hitting stores on MAY 29th 2018 at Chapters/Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, Google Books, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and this does not affect my views , opinions, or thoughts on this book.