Sunday, 3 July 2016

Author Interview: Liz Nugent

Today it's my stop on the Lying in Wait blog tour so I'm delighted to welcome author Liz Nugent back to the blog to talk about her writing.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey? 
I was always scribbling in notebooks, bits and pieces of poetry or phrases I heard people saying. I worked in theatre for a long time and fell in love with the texts. A good play is a beautiful thing and a rehearsal room is a wonderful place to see characters come to life from page to stage.  The first time I actually sat down to write anything in particular, it was a ten-minute story for radio and I was delighted when that got chosen for broadcast. Every time I wrote a piece that was commissioned or that won a prize, I gained in confidence. 

I spent ten years as a Story Associate on a TV soap opera, and while there, I also wrote a radio play, an animation series for children, a television play and the pilot for a new drama series (which never got made). Also, during eight of those years, I was plodding away at my first novel Unravelling Oliver.

Lying in Wait is your second novel, can you give us a brief hint as what it's about?   
It is essentially the story of two very different families. One is apparently very comfortable and privileged, the other is disadvantaged by poor education and humble beginnings, but monstrous secrets lie behind the mansion’s middle class doors. The central character is a psychologically damaged mother who contains elements of Miss Havisham, Mrs Danvers, Lady Macbeth and Medea. It is a story of psychological suspense, murder, betrayal and love.

Where did the inspiration come from?
 A man once told me that he strongly suspected his father had murdered a prostitute in the 1960s. He had no evidence or no way of proving it. He never had the courage to challenge his father and went to his grave wondering. I decided to explore what that might be like.

If you had to describe Lying in Wait in one sentence, what would it be?
A mother’s love can be smothering.

What attracted you to writing for the crime/thriller market as opposed to another genre? Have you any plans to write something a little different in the future?
I didn’t set out to write any genre. I just wrote the story I had in my head. I didn’t know I was a crime writer until I was nominated in that category for the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards (I won!). I like writing sinister characters so I guess that’s my thing. I hope to write a full length stage play one day.

What is your writing routine?  Do you have to have a plot before you start or do you wing it?  Do you type electronically or write longhand?  
I type everything and I start with character. When I have the characters firmly in my head, I have them make bad decisions and that’s where I find my plot. I aim for a 1000 words per day. When I’m potting I work in the library but when I’m redrafting, I work at home.

What essentials do you need to have close to hand when in writing mode? 
Mug of tea, pen and paper, phone in case I need to ring someone for a research query.

If you get a plot block during the initial writing phase, how do you work your way through it? 
I just leave it and carry on to the next piece of story knowing that I can go back and fix it later. A friend of mine doing a Doctorate in NYU told me he did a writing workshop wherein their computers’ delete button was disabled and they were locked in a room for two hours to write and then forced out for half an hour twice a day. He found it enormously beneficial. I’m trying that: not stopping to check spelling or minor research; just keep going until first draft is done. I can fix everything later.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?
Way too many to mention. I think I’m a bit of a sponge. I pick up something from everyone I read and I read broadly across all genres.

Finally what can we expect from you next? 
I’m aiming for book 3 in Sept 2017. It is partially set in the south of France so I’m off to Monaco to do some research this September!

Thank you Sharon for including me on your blog!! x

'My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.'

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must - because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants ...

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