Saturday, 7 January 2017

#LyingInWait by Liz Nugent: Blog Tour


Lying in Wait is published by Penguin and is available now.  I am delighted to be taking part in the paperback blog tour as this book was one of my favourites of 2016. I adore the updated cover and am thrilled to be able to repromote my review and share with you again the guest post that Liz Nugent wrote on Opening Lines....

A MOTHER’S LOVE CAN BE MURDER

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. However, there is one thing Lydia desperately yearns for to make her perfect family complete, and nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants…


Andrew and Lydia Fitzsimons are on the surface an upstanding couple in the community. He is a judge and she is, although a little reclusive a housewife. They have a son called Laurence, but Lydia has always wanted more children. One fateful night a young girl called Annie is murdered by the Fitzsimons. You would imagine here that I have given something remarkable about the plot away but when you consider the opening sentence which is fantastic, it becomes clear that I haven't.

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

The murdered girl is buried in their back garden and what ensues is a gripping and sad story of domestic noir. A tale that had me on the edge of my seat, well if I am honest on edge altogether. I think this book is clever and well written. The author has managed to create a host of flawed characters and unreliable narrators. This is where the biggest skill of the story lies for me. The development of these characters and the paths they take and their thought processes proved insightful and at times frightening. 

Told in mainly narrative from Lydia (who by the way I found absolutely terrifying!), Laurence and Karen, this gave the story real voices and an authenticity that I found very realistic. The author managed to create a darkness around the mansion where the Fitzsimons lived and it created a bit of a Gothic feel, the darkness seemed to spread from the house and seep into their souls. 

Laurence was intriguing to me, he had a naivety about him and a slight innocence of nature. I think this is more to do with his upbringing and it is here that I began to realise the effects humans can have on one another without the other person realising it. 

Gripping and shocking, what frightened me most about this book is the lack of remorse. It is really excellent and I sped through it such was my need to get to the bottom of things. 

This book has left me with much to think about. There are thoughts of what happens when the events of our childhoods have repercussions in adulthood and it is also a story of a Mothers love and how far someone is prepared to go to protect the ones they love. It is also a story of truth and lies, cat and mouse and a story of control. 

Addictive reading, I would definitely recommend it. 



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Guest Post:

Intriguing Opening Lines

I was not the best student in my school days but some things made it through the Sun-In dyed hair and registered in my cerebral cortex! When we started reading Pride & Prejudice, our teacher pointed out the opening line as a perfect example of how to start a novel:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

I agreed and began to note great opening lines when I came across them. A few years later, I discovered Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude and it’s opening:
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

And then my particular favourite from Iain M. Banks’ The Crow Road:
It was the day my grandmother exploded.

All of these openers, although quite different, made me want to continue reading the book. They all suggested that something was going on. These lines raised questions that needed to be answered.

About ten years ago, I thought of an opening line for a story. I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her. I carried the line around in my head for about a year before I wrote it down. I didn’t know who was speaking, I didn’t know if it was a male or female voice and I didn’t know why he/she had hit her. Eventually, I got around to writing down the line and continued to write.
After a week, I had a full short story that I entered into a competition. It was shortlisted but didn’t win any prizes. Afterwards, I realised that within that short story, I had still never explored why he (‘I’ was now a middle-aged man) had hit her and I realised I still had questions to answer. I continued that short story until I had a novel- Unravelling Oliver.
The real challenge was to live up to that opening line. If you are going to grab the reader by the throat, you need to hold them there until the last page. I had to keep twisting the story, to confound expectations. There isn’t one big twist in the story, just a series of surprises and revelations that should keep readers interested.

When I began to write Lying in Wait, I knew I needed an attention grabbing opening line, as Unravelling Oliver’s had been quoted so much. In the first draft of the book, Laurence was the main character and he began by saying ‘We were all liars in our family, but Mammy was the best liar of all.’ But in the drafting and redrafting process, I realised that Lydia needed to be the main character and so I had to come up with a line that would be consistent with her character, that would seize the reader’s attention, and would make the reader want to read on. I toyed around with it. Originally, the line was: ‘Technically, it was manslaughter’, but that didn’t tell me enough about the character, so I cut that line completely and the second line became the first line ‘My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it’. Now, we have an idea of what kind of person we’re dealing with. She is ruthless and feels superior. Does the reader want to know more? I hope so!
I was very pleased when Penguin Random House put the line on the front cover!




 Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theatre and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written short stories for children and adults. Her first novel, the No 1 bestselling Unravelling Oliver, won the Crime Fiction award in the 2014 Irish Book Awards. She lives in Dublin with her husband.


Please have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.

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