The latest author under the debut spotlight today is Nadine Matheson whose debut novel The Sisters has recently been published.
The Sisters is Nadine’s debut novel. Nadine lives in London and when she’s not writing is a practicing criminal defence lawyer. She’s currently working on a crime fiction novel under her pseudonym J T Baptiste.
Find out more at www.nadinematheson.com or follow Nadine on Twitter @nadinematheson
Lucinda, Jessica, Beatrice and Emma LeSoeur are The Sisters.
Richard always knew that there was something special about his daughters and when Lucinda, Jessica and Beatrice become Euterpe, one of the most successful R'n'B groups of the 1990s, he knew that he was right.
Dreams are shattered, when Lucinda controversially leaves the group to seek her own fame and fortune in America. Twenty years later, the sisters are living very different lives and Lucinda about to make a sensational return.
Can you tell us a little bit about your debut novel The Sisters?
In the 1990’s Lucinda and her sisters, Jessica and Beatrice formed a girl band and were a great success. Suddenly, without warning, Lucinda leaves the band and begins a new life in New York. She marries a music producer, has children and settles into life as part of the social elite. Seventeen years later, Lucinda is divorced and suffering from the repercussions of giving up her financial independence which means that she has to return back home to London. When she returns home she discovers that her father has been diagnosed with cancer and her sister Jessica refuses to talk to her.
Where did the inspiration come from to feature a prodigal sister/daughter returning home?
I will admit that the inspiration came from watching an episode of the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’. I realised that one of the characters didn’t actually have any money but she acted as if she did. She had the designer bags and the flash cars but it didn’t take a genius to work out that she was a bit broke. I then wondered how easy it would be to maintain the façade of being successful in front of your family when you have been estranged for many years. Also, around the same time, one of my brothers had recently moved to Japan and it made me think about the impact that a sibling’s departure can have on the rest of the family.
How much research did you have to do to enable you to write this novel?
At the beginning of the book, The Sisters dad, Richard, is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I spent a lot of time researching that topic. Richard’s diagnosis and his family’s reaction is an integral part of the story and cancer is a sensitive and emotive issue. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t treat Richard’s diagnosis in a flippant way. I did have some fun when I had to research nineties pop bands. Basically this was just me reminiscing about my teenage years and playing old cd’s and going through 90’s playlists on spotify.
Which sister did you have the most fun creating, Lucinda, Jessica, Beatrice or Emma?
Lucinda and Emma were my favourites. I hated Lucinda’s character when I first created her. I thought that she was arrogant, superficial and just not likable but as time went on and I removed the strips of her façade, I grew to really like and admire her as a woman who was really just trying to do the best that she could. I liked Emma because even though she is the youngest, she is very much her own woman and is quite independent from her sisters. I suppose that because she was the sister who was not part of the band and did not live that whirlwind showbiz lifestyle she is able to see her sisters without the rose-tinted glasses.
What can we expect from you next?
Well, I’m actually working on a crime fiction novel right now. It’s an idea that I’ve had brewing for quite a while and is called ‘Key Positions’. DCI Keyes is investigating the murder of a gangland boss when he’s suddenly taken off the case and ordered to reopen an investigation into Britain’s biggest bank robbery. I’m writing that novel under a pseudonym (J T Baptiste).
Did you always know you wanted to write?
I always knew that I loved writing and I remember watching and loving ‘The Labyrinth’ when I was nine and then attempting to write my own version on our family BBC Micro computer. That ‘book’ must be in the loft somewhere. I’ve always loved books and even though I trained to be a lawyer, I always knew that I was going to write a book someday.
What is the best writing advice you have received to date?
Once you’ve finished your first draft, take a break. That is the best advice because you reach a point where you have word blindness; your sick to death of your characters and you think that writing a book was the worse mistake that you’ve ever made. I finished the first draft of The Sisters in December 2013 and started the second draft in January 2014 and it was as if someone had washed the windows and everything seems so much clearer.
How do you manage to combine your work/family life with writing?
Luckily I’m a freelance lawyer, so the days that I’m not in court I’m able to write. I had spent so many years being employed that it took about six months of being freelance, to stop feeling guilty about being at home and writing. I realised last year that if I wasn’t in court then I was at my desk writing but that’s not healthy so now I always take Sunday’s off.
Have you treated yourself to something nice to celebrate the publication of your first book?
No, not yet. I’ve done a lot of fantasy shopping on net-a-porter but I haven’t treated myself to anything yet. It’s not too late though.
Thank you for having me