Friday, 28 November 2014

Debut Spotlight: Sandra Danby

Today it's my pleasure to welcome author and journalist Sandra Danby to the blog to talk about her debut novel Ignoring Gravity which has just been published. 

The heroine of Ignoring Gravity, Rose Haldane, is confident about her identity. She pulls the same face as her grandfather when she has to do something she doesn’t want to do, she knows her DNA is the same as his. Except it isn’t: because Rose is adopted and doesn’t know it.

An addict of television programmes about family history and adoption reunion, Who Do You Think You Are? and Long Lost Family, Sandra has long been fascinated by identity and what makes ‘us’, ‘us’. “Is it our genes, the influence of our parents, our experiences or education, our interests? I became a journalist but I was born on a dairy farm. I don’t remember ever deciding I wanted to write, I just did. Where did that urge come from?” 

The more she pondered this question, the more she wondered how people who don’t know their family history can ever achieve a sense of who they are. “And that led me to adoption. I researched late-discovery adoption and the more I read the more I knew that Rose Haldane would discover as an adult that she was adopted as a baby. Future novels in the series will examine adoption for the point of view of other people in the adoption mix. For example, the next book Connectedness tells the story of a birth mother who regrets losing her daughter. The third, Sweet Joy, is the story of a baby left on a doorstep.”

“It would be wrong to say my novels are ‘about adoption’,” says Sandra. “They are about ordinary people who just happen to be either adopted, or be birth parents or adoptive parents. In a way they are mystery novels. Rose Haldane becomes a detective to solve the darkest and most difficult of family secrets. She is a detective who has never solved a murder or attended a crime scene. She is a detective of identities.

Sandra Danby, who by the way isn’t adopted, grew up at the bleak edge of East Yorkshire where England meets the North Sea. She started reading early and has never stopped. The desire to write stories turned into a career as a journalist in which she wrote about home furnishings and travelled in the world in search of the perfect sofa, the most comfortable bed, the softest duvet. Now she writes fiction full-time and yes, she does sometimes catch herself describing the furniture and curtains in Rose Haldane’s sitting room! 

At the moment she is writing Connectedness in which Rose follows the trail from Yorkshire to Spain in pursuit of the birth child of controversial artist Justine Tree. Justine, who is famed for laying her emotions bare in her art, has lied for years to conceal her shame: that she was unable to care for her daughter. Rose has to sift fact from Justine’s fiction, and sometimes suspects Justine is working against her. Connectedness will be published in 2015.

Links:

Buy Ignoring Gravity at Amazon
Watch the book trailer for Ignoring Gravity.
Watch a film of Sandra Danby talking about how she wrote Ignoring Gravity
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For news about forthcoming books in the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series by Sandra Danby, sign up for her newsletter [published 1-2 times a year]:

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