Today it's my stop on Fanny Blake's blog tour with an excellent guest piece about the importance of Friendship in With a Friend Like You and why she chose to write about it.
All my novels to date have been about women’s friendship in one form or another. I’ve been writing about women of a certain age and, as we get older, it seems to me that we rely more and more on our close friends. You may only have one of them, or you may have many, but they are the best form of support group you’ll ever have. They often understand things in a way one’s partner can’t, simply because of their similar experiences and knowledge. I couldn’t live without my own friends. We’re there for each other whatever the reason. We bring out the best in each other. We make each other laugh. I’m intrigued by these relationships and what makes them work.
Different friends can have their place in different parts of your life. For instance, Lizy and I talk about our writing every day (our phone bills are astronomical!). I have travelled to China and India with Julie: places we wanted to visit but that did not hold the same fascination for our husbands. Dotti and I have a shared history that goes right back to university and are godparents to each others children. And so on.
Friendship is the central theme in With a Friend Like You. In this instance, I wanted to see how far you could push a long-term very close friendship. Take two women: Beth, a high flying family lawyer and mother of two and Megan, a primary school deputy head, a family woman who is more relaxed in her approach to life. Their friendship came about because they’re married to two close friends, Jon and Pete. It has seen them through the births of their children and all the pressures that come from being working mothers. The families see each other all the time, go on holiday together, the children are great friends too.
Then something happens that threatens the status quo. Beth feels Megan has betrayed her by keeping a secret. But Beth has been keeping her own secrets too. Megan’s apparent betrayal is the first fracture in their friendship.
I wanted to see whether, once the two women had stopped speaking to each other all together, whether it would be possible for them ever to be friends again. How would this war between the women affect their families? If they could recover from the rift, would their friendship have changed?
So, for me, women’s friendship is a rich seam to be endlessly mined and written about, and a subject that has echoes in all of our lives.
With a Friend Like You and The Secrets Women Keep by Fanny Blake are both out now, check back this afternoon for Sarah's fab guest review of With a Friend Like You.