I am once again honored to take part in a blog tour organized by Rachel's Random Resources.
Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She's beautiful, accomplished, organized - the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.
But Helen wasn't abducted or murdered. She's chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.
Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.
He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He's losing control.
But then one day, it really is Helen's face he sees...
Author BioRosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market.
Her first two novels, This Year's Black and Lame Angel were published by Struik in South Africa. This Year's Black was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award and has subsequently been re-released as an e-book. Babies in Waiting, Wonder Women and Holly at Christmas were published by Quercus. She is the author of After Isabella, also published by Allen & Unwin.
Rosie’s next book, The After Wife (written as Cass Hunter), will be published by Trapeze in 2018, and in translation in seven countries around the world.
Rosie lives in London with her husband and two sons.
Guest Post by Rosie Fiore on Writing in a Child's VoiceWC Fields famously said, “Never work with children or animals.” He was referring, I assume, to the unpredictability of small creatures, and the chaos they could wreak on a busy film set. However the same may hold true of writing.
I’ve never written from the perspective of an animal, but authors are rightly cautious about writing in a child’s voice. It’s difficult to get inside the head of a child and see things as they see them, and because of this, it can be difficult to make the child’s voice sound authentic. For many of us, our own childhoods are so distant that we can’t remember how we thought or felt at different ages.
It so happens that the family focus in my books has often meant that there are children in my stories. And for the first time in What She Left, I used the first-person voice of a child to tell part of the story.
I had a good reference point in that Miranda in What She Left is eight going on nine, the same age as my own child. She’s an entirely different character from my own sweet boy, however – a girl who has already experienced trauma and upheaval, she is worldly-wise, articulate and sometimes very angry.
I thought very carefully about her linguistic choices. I have found children often speak in a way that seems older than their years, picking up on words and phrases they hear from adults. However her understanding of situations is limited by her age, so she may not always see the full picture. Children are also entirely self-centered. This is not a criticism – merely a neurological fact. They do not gain the ‘wiring’ for empathy until they are older… they are simply unable to imagine what life is like for someone else, or how another person might feel or be affected by their actions.
That said, children can have a very clear-eyed, black-and-white view of the world, which cuts through the obfuscation, apologies, and shades of grey we adults use to express ourselves. I hope that Miranda’s view of what he sees around her is acute and revealing.
There are some books where the voice of a child has been used unconvincingly and awkwardly, but there are also many where it’s been an extremely powerful tool. Room, by Emma Donoghue, is an excellent example. Five-year-old Jack has only ever known life inside Room, the place where he is held captive with his mother. His naïve view of the situation makes it all the more chilling. It was a very brave narrative choice, but so very well executed.
Similarly, Ann Morgan’s Beside Myself tells the story of twin girls who trade places – then one refuses to change back. Ann gives Ellie the narrative, and we hear her voice change as she grows from a frustrated little girl to a troubled adolescent and beyond. Morgan uses clever changes in vocabulary and observation to show Ellie’s changing perspective.
I loved having Miranda’s viewpoint in What She Left – she saw things many of the adults did not. Perhaps I will explore a child’s viewpoint in future books. Or, since I’m now in the habit of ignoring WC Fields’ advice, I might write from the perspective of the family Labrador…?