Today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Siobhan MacDonald’s Twisted River. I’m pleased to be able to share my interview with Siobhan.
Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m the eldest in my family and was raised in a busy home. Growing up in a large family, there was a premium attached to being able to tell a good story. My mother taught speech and drama and was a proficient story-teller. She spent many childhood nights in air-raid shelters in the north of England during the Second World-War and she could make a mundane trip for groceries sound like a scene from ‘The Bourne Identity’.
As a child, I recall dark winter’s nights driving home through the Knockmealdown mountains from visits to my grandmother. Instead of playing “I Spy,” we kids would sit in the back and would each have to tell a story. My Irish grandmother was a good storyteller too, often telling me tales of the ghosts she had seen.
When I graduated from university I left an Ireland in the throes of recession to write for the technology industry in Scotland. I worked for a variety of companies in Scotland and also France before settling back in Ireland where I now live with my husband and two sons.
In between injuries I enjoy social tennis, am a lapsed Bridge player, and like to have a handle on current affairs.
How did you first come to be a writer?
The process of becoming a writer happened over time. I can’t recall when telling stories and committing stories to paper wasn’t part of my life. In my teenage years I wrote poetry and scripted one-act plays that I and a friend performed in competitions. When I graduated I looked for a job that would allow me to write. I used to take annual leave to write short stories. This provided an antidote to the constraints imposed by technical and business writing,
What is Twisted River about?
Twisted River is a chilling tale of ‘domestic noir’ that describes what happens when a seemingly ideal house-swap goes horrendously wrong. In this thriller two families come to an arrangement about swapping homes on either side of the Atlantic, one – a quirky house at Curragower Falls in Limerick, Ireland, and the other – a smart Manhattan apartment at Riverside Drive, New York. They have never met in person, only on the Internet.
On the face of it, both families are alike. The Harveys and the O’Briens are both professional couples with two children. Both families need a break from their problems. Seeing each other as ideal house-swap partners, Hazel Harvey and Kate O’Brien strike up a conversation on a home exchange website. The two families make the fateful decision to exchange homes over the Halloween school holidays, each wife hoping a vacation will help her troubled family.
However, rather than ditching their woes, each family unwittingly walks into the dark spaces their exchange partners have left behind. And when American Oscar Harvey opens the trunk of his hosts’ car to find the body of a woman, beaten and bloody, the secrets holding each family together start to come to light.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes mainly from the world at large. Real-life everyday unsolved mysteries fascinate me. I tend to extrapolate from the snippets of stories I hear around about me.
What is your writing routine?
I like to write in daylight hours, in natural light, so that when I look up from the screen I’m able to see the sky and the trees and birds outside. At the moment I’m writing in the afternoons. But I hit the keyboard first thing in the morning if an idea has occurred during the night. I’m afraid that it may disappear if I don’t commit it to paper straightaway.
What has your journey to publication been like?
The traditional route, which unfortunately still takes rather a long time. I firstly secured the support of a very well-respected agent in a long established London agency who fell in love with and believed in my work. My agent set to work to secure good homes for my writing and I am now in the fortunate position of having Twisted River placed with a number of publishing houses – some long-established and others innovative and new on the scene.
What are you reading at the moment?
Kimberley McCreight’s ‘Reconstructing Amelia’ which is a super read.
If you were to be stranded on a desert island and could choose just one author’s books to read, who would you pick and why?
Assuming I’m stranded on a desert island due to nothing more sinister than striking air-traffic controllers, covered in factor 50, sporting a panama hat, and drinking a skinny latté on a sun-lounger, then I’d like to read a range of books also set in the sun. Robert Harris’ ‘Pompeii’ comes to mind. Another choice would be the exploits of Mma Ramotzwe in Alexander McCall’s ‘No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ or Sally Andrew’s ‘Recipes for Love and Murder’ which I haven’t yet read but I’ve marked for the perfect beach read.
Is there a question that you wish an interviewer would ask that you’ve never been asked?
Now that we’ve finished chatting, can I get you a Mojito or a Margarita?
What’s your answer to that question?
How can people connect with you on social media?
About the Author:
Siobhán studied in Galway and pursued a successful career as a writer in the technology industry, working in Scotland, France & Ireland.
Siobhán has published her first novel TWISTED RIVER in the US & Canada with Viking Penguin, and in the UK with Canelo.
Siobhan lives in Ireland with her husband and two sons.
About the Book:
“She would never have fit as neatly into the trunk of his own car.” Limerick, Ireland: the O’Brien family’s driveway. American Oscar Harvey opens the trunk of his hosts’ car and finds the body of a woman, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning.
Kate and Mannix O’Brien live by Curragower Falls in Limerick, in a lovely house they can barely afford. Kate decides that her family needs a vacation, and is convinced her luck’s about to change when she spots a gorgeous Manhattan apartment on a home-exchange website. Hazel and Oscar Harvey and their two children live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful and happy, they too need a change of pace, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages.
But this will be anything but a perfect vacation. And the body in the trunk is just the beginning. … A riveting page-turner for fans of Paula Hawkins.
Twisted River by Siobhán MacDonald is published on 18th April by Canelo, price £1.99 in eBook.