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Monday, 21 August 2017

Author Q & A Holly Seddon

Robin and Sarah weren't the closest of twins, but they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.
Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days house-bound, watching the world from the safety of her sitting room. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn't...
And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted - the wonderful family, the perfect home. But, accused of the most terrible thing of all, she can't be around her new family. Not until she's tracked down her twin sister, to come to terms with something that happened a long time ago.
But Sarah isn't the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship...

Title: Don't Close Your Eyes
Author: Holly Seddon
Published By: Corvus
Publication Date: 4th Jan 2018
Links: UK:  Amazon    US: Amazon

Author Q & A With Holly Seddon

Welcome to Sincerely Book Angels Holly, can you tell us:-

What was the inspiration behind this novel?
I had a few different loose ideas that I realised were all part of the same book: siblings divided by a break up and new blended families being formed. A woman whose child has been taken from her, and who is accused of terrible things. And, possibly because I’m quite solitary myself (willingly), I’ve always been aware of people who are a lot further along that spectrum, so I wanted to write about someone who had once had a very big and busy life and was now living in isolation, watching and obsessing over the neighbours.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. I didn’t dare dream it would happen but it’s all I wanted to do.

What other jobs have you had?
I’ve been a journalist, a social media manager, a waitress, a salesperson, an IT trainer, a receptionist, a bar maid, worked in a dog kennels and more. I disliked a lot of those jobs… I loved working with the dogs and working with words though.

How did it feel when your first novel was published?
Overwhelming relief. Like, phew, I’m not a one trick pony, I can do this and be really proud of more than one book!

Can you please tell us a little about your publishing story.
After a few (more than a few) unfinished novels, I started writing my debut Try Not to Breathe in 2010. After having to pause it a few times, I eventually finished it in 2013. In January 2014, I was at home following an operation and, feeling really down and poorly, I decided ‘now or never’ to submit it to agents.

I made a short list of agents initially, thinking I would send to those and when they inevitably rejected me, I would make a longer list and carry on. By some kind of serendipity/massive fluke, my email landed in my now agent’s inbox just as she sat down for lunch and she opened it. She replied 45 minutes later and asked for the rest. I ran around the house, nearly bursting my stitches, and then tried to re-edit the whole manuscript in a panic that night before sending the next day. We met and discussed the work needed to bring it up to speed and I was giddy as a piglet when she said she’d work on it with me. We redrafted many times, sloughing away the stuff I thought I had to put in and making it into the book I had wanted to write all along. 

In autumn 2015, we sold it to the wonderful Corvus (imprint at Atlantic Books) and Try Not to Breathe was published in January 2016.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so how did you overcome it?
Hmn, I’ve not had writers’ block, but there are definitely times the writing flows easily and times it’s like herding cats: erratic ideas, clunky prose that needs to be re-written, characters that come out of nowhere and change the direction of a scene…

What motivates you to keep writing?
I’ve always written and always will write, but writing to deadline is also something I’m used to from my career as a journalist. I’m definitely not someone who can ask for an extension because I’ve not finished yet, I’d rather work all night than do that!

Where is your favourite place to write?
I always think I like writing in caf├ęs until I actually do it. Then my battery runs down, other people’s kids yell and I drink so much coffee I lose my mind. So now I admit that I’m best off writing on my bed… 

Here it is, being ably demonstrated by my son, Elliot, and my dog, Arnie.

My absolute dream place to write is by a pool in a fancy hotel, by myself. But that’s about a million miles from reality!

Do your characters moods ever affect your mood and vice versa?
Yes, very much so. There are scenes in Don’t Close Your Eyes that really affected me to the point that I had to take myself off alone for a bit because I was snapping at everybody. I need a lot of time to myself anyway, but that was especially hard.

What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

1. Don’t try to write the way you think you should write, or the way someone else writes, find your own way. 

2. Read, read, read. Not just the genre you write in but everything that interests you.

3. Don’t give up.

What are you reading at the moment?
So Happy It Hurts by Annaliese Mackintosh.

If your book was made into a film what song would you choose for the opening credits?
Either Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division or We Gotta Get Out Of This Place by The Animals.

Who would you choose to play your favourite character in the film of your book?
Vicky McClure as Robin Marshall.

And now think about the books you've read and just give the first one that comes into your head for our quick-fire 'Which book round.'

Which book has made you:
Laugh out loud?
The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Cry your heart out?
One Day by David Nicholls

Want to read it again?
Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Think more?
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla

Wish it would be made into a film?
The Power by Naomi Alderman 

My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor

Scared?The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

Thank you so much for joining us Holly and good luck with the book.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets. Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books.

Her first novel TRY NOT TO BREATHE was published worldwide in 2016 and became a national and international bestseller.

Her second novel DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES was published in July 2017.

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