Guess what people. Today is an exciting Saturday because I’ve got the lovely and super talented Renee Knight – author of the thrilling Disclaimer - here to chat about all things bookish. Hurrah! I have been excited about this post for quite a while, just so you know…
Renee! Hello! Thank-you so much for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere; grab a coffee and a piece of cake and make yourself at home – in fact it’s imaginary cake, take two pieces.
Before we get started, let’s warm up with a quick fire round.
Ready, steady, GO:
- Coffee, tea or…? Ummmm....both
- Favourite film? Can't commit but I loved 'The Lives of Others'...
- Favourite book? I have a serious commitment problem but recently read The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante and was stunned by it.
- Summer or winter? Summer
- Favourite Colour? Green
- Last thing you ate? Penne with Bolognese
- Dream holiday destination? Iceland (but I said I liked summer...)
- If you could jump to any point in history, who would you have dinner with? Orson Welles before he dressed in kaftans.
- How do you like your steak? Medium
- What are your pet peeves? People assuming authority when they don't have it...
And now that’s done, on to the serious stuff –a serious interview on a serious blog because clearly that’s what this is. Honest.
Let’s get started.
Firstly, I’ve read Disclaimer and I loved it – I read it seven hours straight one Saturday because I couldn’t put it down - but for anyone who’s yet to get acquainted with the book, can you tell us a little bit about it?
A) Thank you so much for that. Well, Disclaimer is a psychological thriller about a woman who picks up a book from her bedside table hoping it will lull her into sleep. Instead she discovers that she is a central character in the book and that it describes an event from her past which she has kept secret, even from her husband and son. As her life begins to unravel we slowly discover what it is she has been hiding.
Where did the idea for Disclaimer come from?
A) I had a written a novel before Disclaimer which described an incident from my adolescence involving a good friend of mine. As I neared the end of it I began to think about how awful it would be if it was published and she read it and I hadn't told her about it. Of course that didn't happen. I sent it to her and got her blessing and then no one wanted to publish it anyway. It gave me the idea for Disclaimer though so nothing is wasted.
The book tells a story from the point of view of two characters: Catherine and Stephen. Who did you find easiest to write, and why?
A) I found Stephen easier to write because he was further from me and so I had to dig deeper, which made him more satisfying and so easier.
And is the answer to that question the same as the answer to ‘who is your favourite character’ and if not, who is your favourite character?
A) No it's not the same answer. I like both Catherine and Stephen equally. I think they are more alike than they would at first appear.
If the book was a DVD what would the special features be – are there any scenes that ended up ‘on the cutting room floor’ that you can share?
A) There weren't any particular scenes that were dumped although everything was trimmed and edited many times.
Did the title come first, or last, or at some point in the middle?
A) The title came last. Before I started writing I had a working title of 'Privacy' which I knew I would never use, then I had 'Any Resemblance to Persons living or Dead...' which I knew was a too long and then just before I finished I decided on 'Disclaimer'.
Tell us about how you write: do you prefer a loud room or a quiet room; is your manuscript typed or handwritten, do you write during set hours or as the word comes, and at home or some place else? What works best?
A) I can't manage with noise around me, I become too easily distracted, no music, no radio on in the background. I type straight into the computer but I might work out the structure by hand first to force me to take it slowly and not rush too much. I always work in the mornings. If I leave it too late then I've blown it, unless I'm editing - that I can do in the afternoons. I write at home and I've now graduated from the kitchen table and have my own room.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
A) I'm working on the screenplay for Disclaimer and also my second novel.
What’s the oddest thing on your desk? (I have a Clanger on mine that makes a noise when you press its middle. I liberated it from the desk of my boss….)
A) It's a fake gold duck's head with a blue glass eye (rather evil-looking) and beak which opens and keeps papers together. I gave it to my dad when I was about eight. It sat on his desk and now it sits on mine.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve been given?
A) Take your time between drafts. Put it away and then leave it for as long as you possibly can before reading and working on it again. It really made a difference to me - you see things with a fresh eye.
What do you wish you got asked in these interviews but never do?
A) To be honest with you I haven't done many yet and so the questions feel fresh to me. I liked your one about the oddest thing on my desk.
& because I’m always on the look out for new book recs, what are you reading right now?
A) I'm reading The Girl In The Red Coat by Kate Hamer which I am really enjoying. Thank you so for taking the time by the way to read my book. So glad you enjoyed it.
Disclaimer was released on April 9th so you know, go get a copy. It’s a really great read, I promise. You can catch up with my review of it here (spoiler alert: I liked it a lot.)