Aye Write: A Duo of Debut Authors – Sue Lawrence and Kate Tough review Mary Irvine
A duo of debut authors, Sue Lawrence and Kate Tough. Include the literary agent, Jenny Brown, and the trio was complete for the presentation of ‘Female Friendships in Fiction’.
Having worked in the Scottish parliament for some years Kate turned her attention to fiction. Is there a connection there? Her debut novel is ‘Head for the Edge, Keep Walking’, a compelling title if ever there was one! We heard how the story developed long after the voice. A first person narrative, it’s by no means a true story although Kate did admit that she, as many authors do, drew, in part, on personal life experiences. She didn’t expand on which parts…
However, the book is crafted to appear like everyday life. It deals with Jill, somewhere in her 30s, and the mid (dish?) life crisis following the break-up of a 9 year relationship and her subsequent attempts to re-build her life. Kate admitted that ‘judicious editing was required to preserve the humour in the book and not spoil the story by over-doing it. She also benefited by the free appraisal, on an anonymous basis, offered by the Highland Arts Group.
The piece read by the author was well-written, flowed and the descriptions evoked clear mental pictures. I suggest you access the sample available on the Amazon website.
Journalist and first ever winner of BBC’s ‘Master Chef, with 14 cookery books to her credit Sue’s debut novel, ‘Fields of Blue Flax’ is based on two disparate cousins conducting family research. It covers the present (Edinburgh) and the past (Dundee) with parallel stories. Somewhat different from other time zone stories is that Sue’s ‘past’ story works backwards as does family research. As often in family research, secrets are revealed which are sometimes best left secret.
Sue is already working on her next book, ‘Window on the Tay’ which deals with a family whose window allows them to witness the disaster with the knowledge that a family member is on the train hurtling into the river.
Both debut novels, as the title of the talk suggests, explore the friendships, betrayals and jealousy amongst or between friends.
In reply to one question from the audience Kate said she hadn’t consciously been influenced by ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, feeling that her own book was a more intellectual version of a mid-life crisis. In reply to a query re the physical writing both authors agreed that writers’ lives should be disciplined but were often ad hoc as writing needed to ‘fit in’ with their lives. Would we have had a different response from male writers?
Interestingly my friend, who also attended the talk, decided she would like to read Kate’s book whilst I opted for Sue’s. Just shows that Aye Write! has something for everyone!
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