Only Child is the debut novel from Rhiannon Navin (released by Mantle on 8th February,) and I am so pleased to welcome her blog tour to Novel Kicks today. Rhiannon, your novel sounds like such a powerful read. Can you tell me about Only Child and what inspired it?
ONLY CHILD is the story of six-year old Zach, told from his perspective, who lives through the terrifying trauma of a shooting at his school. During his rampage, the gunman takes nineteen lives and Zach’s formerly tight-knit community is left shattered. While the adults in Zach’s life, especially his parents, deal with their grief in all-consuming ways, Zach is mostly left to his own devices to confront the after effects of the trauma he’s had to endure and his feelings of grief and fear. I found the inspiration for ONLY CHILD in a personal experience that occurred in my life a couple of years ago, when my twins were five years old. They had just started Kindergarten when they had to participate in their first “lockdown drill” at school. Lockdown drills are a common practice here in the U.S. where, unfortunately, mass shootings happen on an almost daily basis. Children as young as five years old, or even younger, have to practice how to take cover in the event that a shooter might come to their school and try to kill them. On the day of my twins’ first drill I found my little Garrett hiding underneath our dining room table. He said he was “hiding from the bad guy,” and he was petrified. That really hit me incredibly hard and led me to want to explore what living through an actual horrifying event like a school shooting and its aftermath would look and feel like through the eyes of a child.
Can you describe your writing process from idea, planning, writing and editing.
ONLY CHILD was my first writing experience, so I really made up my writing “process” as I went along. The idea for the story came to me in a flash and I scribbled down the first few scenes rather furiously in one of my children’s school notebooks. A few chapters in I realized that I should probably take a step back and plan out my story a little; get to know my characters and picture where they might be headed. I read a few books on writing (Stephen King, Anne Lamott!) and a few more technical books on outlining a novel and I went to work creating a loose game plan for the book. I found that, at times, the game plan helped me navigate my way through the story and other times, the story itself took me down a totally unexpected path. I was incredibly fortunate to find a fantastic writing coach who helped guide me throughout the entire journey of writing my first, second, third…I don’t quite remember how many drafts exactly. I wrote ONLY CHILD in about a year, give or take, and when my writing coach and I thought I was in a good place with it, she also helped guide me through the querying process.
Do you have any writing rituals – coffee? Writing in silence?
No real rituals, but I try to set myself up in a situation that (theoretically) eliminates any excuses to get up for at least a couple of hours. That begins with having walked the dog, checked and responded to all urgent emails, having gone to the bathroom, and prepared a cup of tea (to be sipped slowly in order to not repeat the previous step too soon.) It also includes placing my phone clearly out of my reach—that’s one of the toughies. It’s incredible, the kind of pull your phone has on you, especially on the days when your mind wanders and you’re looking for an excuse to do anything BUT write. I need to know that I have a long, interruption-free window ahead of me; otherwise I can’t relax enough to dive in.
What are the most challenging things about being a writer?
When I first started writing ONLY CHILD, I wrote without any expectations. I didn’t expect anyone to necessarily even read it, let alone to find an agent, or a publisher. It was a wonderful first writing experience for me because I had found this story that grabbed me and pulled me in, and I only focused on that. If anything was challenging for me at the time, it was allowing myself to take the time to write the story, and to justify putting writing ahead of other things in my life—the laundry, the dirty dishes in the sink. Now, the most challenging thing about being a writer is the question: “How is book number two coming?”
Which authors do you admire and why?
Wow—there are so many authors I admire. I don’t even know where to begin. Anne Lamott pops into my head immediately. I just love how authentic she is and unapologetic about how messy and unglamorous and hard writing is. And she is absolutely hilarious. I love any writer who can make me laugh out loud. Amor Towles falls into that same category. I’m currently reading “A Gentleman in Moscow” (yes, I know I’m very late to the party) and this story makes me laugh all the time. His writing is absolutely beautiful, every word is placed just so. I admire J.K. Rowling so very much. Her personal story of overcoming adversity is very inspiring and I’m in awe of how she’s managed to turn a whole generation—and many more generations to come—of children into lovers of books. And adults, too! I’ve seen it happen first-hand with my older son. He read the whole series when he was quite young, in first grade, and he’s been hooked on books ever since. J.K. Rowling literally helped my son discover his love for reading.
What’s your favourite word and why?
If I really have to choose one (!) favourite word, it will have to be “Wanderlust.” Which is a German word that doesn’t really have an English equivalent or literal translation. It means “a strong desire to travel;” and I do love to travel more than anything. But beyond just the literal sense of feeling the urge to travel, I like to use the word “Wanderlust” to describe the desire, or the bravery, to step outside of your comfort zone, to explore and try out new things, to expand your horizon. So, I hope to always have “Wanderlust,” in all aspects of my life. My second favourite word is champagne.
Are you working on anything at the moment? Are you able to tell me a little about it?
Yes, I am and I’m beginning to feel it pulling me in the way ONLY CHILD did at the beginning. But I’m going to wait a while longer to talk about it if that’s OK.by
Daniela Tully’s debut novel, Hotel on Shadow Lake was released by Legend Press on 1st February. It’s lovely to welcome you and the blog tour to Novel Kicks today, Daniela. What’s your book about and what inspired the story?
Thank you for having me! Let me start with what inspired the story: my grandmother had a twin brother, a German fighter plane pilot, who died during WWII. As he felt his death nearing, he wrote a farewell letter to my grandmother and their mother, at the end of 1944. That letter, however, was held up in the East, when the Berlin Wall was erected, and only reached my grandmother in 1990, after the Wall had come down. The letter in my novel contains much more than a “simple” good bye (the reader doesn’t learn the content until the end). In my novel, the recipient disappears without a trace after receiving the letter. Twenty-seven years later, a landslide in upstate New York uncovers her remains. Her granddaughter back in Germany thought she had come to terms with the disappearance of her grandmother, who was her surrogate mother, her best friend, and a storyteller of spellbinding, mystical fairy tales. But when her grandmother’s body is found in a country her grandmother had no connections with, the granddaughter begins to question everything. Who was this woman? What made her leave Germany? What were her ties to the captivating yet chilling Montgomery Hotel, located near the site of her death? As Maya seeks answers in the States, she finds herself sidetracked by her own assumed identity—and how much it enchants the charming heir of the Montgomery dynasty. She soon discovers that the best way to the truth about her grandmother might be through surrendering herself to the majestic Montgomery Hotel, the strange family that owns it, and the spirits that live on in the dark surrounding wilderness…
In the plot strand set in the past, the reader travels with Maya’s grandmother, Martha Wiesberg (Martha was also my grandmother’s Christian name) to a Germany on the cusp of World War II. And later in the novel we return there again, but for reasons that I cannot disclose here, as they are not only connected to the twist in my story, but also deliver some of the reasons why Martha Wiesberg disappeared in 1990 – and why she had to die. It also sheds light on a historical aspect of the Second World War that hasn’t received too much attention yet, but one I find a fascinating angle.
What’s your typical writing day like? Do you have any writing rituals?
I often made attempts to write from home, but they have never been as fruitful as those times when I leave the house to write. I write best on the move (road trips, planes, trains) and second best in a public setting like a coffee shop.
What planning did you do prior to beginning the novel? Do you have any planning tips to share?
I don’t know the entire plot before I start writing. With Hotel on Shadow Lake, I knew the first scene and the final one, but not every plot point in between. And my writing process got hung up on that at first. My husband, who is a screenwriter himself, suggested to me to just start writing those scenes I already had in my head, a wise piece of advice, because from then on the flow became natural; the characters, as clichéd as this might sound, did start talking to me at some point, telling me what to do.
Did you prefer to have a complete first draft before editing and how do you think is the best way to approach the editing process?
Yes, I do prefer to have a complete draft before digging into changes. As this is my debut novel, I was probably more protective of my words than other more seasoned writers, so at first I was always on the defensive, instead of embracing those changes that improved the pacing.by
A lovely big hello to Bella Osborne who is returning to the blog today with the blog tour for Ottercombe Bay: Gin and Trouble, part two in a four-part serialisation.
Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.
With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?
To celebrate the release of Gin and Trouble, Bella and Avon have shared an extract. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
**** Start of Extract.****
Jason was turning out to be a useful person to know. As the local bobby, everyone knew him and therefore he had a wide network he could tap into, particularly as he had a colleague with an uncle working in the local planning department. After a warm-up phone call from Jason he was happy to meet Daisy for a chat. She had made an effort, steered clear of both espresso and Bug’s furry patch on the sofa, and she felt ready for her meeting.
An older-looking gent with thinning hair and thick glasses collected her from the waiting area at the council offices and they did introductions.
‘Thanks for meeting me,’ said Daisy, starting to feel a little less prepared as she followed him into an office and saw a mountain of paper on his desk.
‘No problem but you will need to submit a formal application through the proper process. Anything discussed here today does not in any way constitute agreement of any changes to the property or land we are discussing. I hope you appreciate this?’
Daisy swallowed hard. With formal wording like that he would get on well with Great Uncle Reg’s solicitor. She hadn’t even suggested anything yet and she was being told off. ‘Yes, of course. I’m just looking for guidance. Some ballpark areas that may be worth exploring.’
‘This is the last application we received for the property,’ said the planning officer, passing Daisy a pile of papers. She had a quick flick through and spotted some blueprints – it looked like her grandfather had taken the whole thing seriously and spent some money in the process.by
Come a Little Closer is the new DCI Tom Douglas novel from the fabulous Rachel Abbott and was released by Black Dot Publishing Ltd on 13 February 2018. Today, as part of her blog tour, I have been invited to take part in a writing challenge.
They will be coming soon. They come every night.
Snow is falling softly as a young woman takes her last breath.
Fifteen miles away, two women sit silently in a dark kitchen. They don’t speak, because there is nothing left to be said.
Another woman boards a plane to escape the man who is trying to steal her life. But she will have to return, sooner or later.
These strangers have one thing in common. They each made one bad choice – and now they have no choices left. Soon they won’t be strangers, they’ll be family…
When DCI Tom Douglas is called to the cold, lonely scene of a suspicious death, he is baffled. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she get there? How many more must die?
Who is controlling them, and how can they be stopped?
Rachel provided the following writing prompt. The challenge was to finish the story. There were also four things we had to include.
Gemma had been afraid of the dark for as long as she could remember. As a child, she had blamed the cold, ancient house they had lived in – its endless corridors had too many closed doors for people to hide behind, too many secrets concealed in the shadows. But now there was no excuse. Her flat was modern, open, with huge windows.
It made no difference, though. Each night of the long winter months as she stood outside the block, she imagined all the doors she would have to pass before she reached her own, wondering if the lights in the hallway would be working, or whether they would flicker and go out, leaving her blind in the inky black void. Alone with her fear.
Perhaps she had always known that this day would come. She took a deep breath and stepped into the silent entrance, her heels tapping out a warning that she was coming on the polished concrete floor of the long corridor.
Odd snippets of TV shows and murmurs of conversation bled through as she walked down the dimly lit hallway past the identical black doors belonging to her neighbours. Gemma felt a tinge of envy toward the people inside who were getting the chance to live the mundane. Amy in number twenty-three will be putting her baby to bed. Mr Kennedy in number thirty will be sitting down in front of the news about now, a glass of sweet sherry clasped in his hand.by
The Extremist by Nadia Dalbuono is the fourth novel in the Leone Scamarcio series and I am pleased to be part of the blog tour today.
When a group of terrorists carry out a series of attacks in Rome, Detective Leone Scamarcio gets an unexpected call ― the men, who appear to be Islamic extremists, say they will only negotiate with him.
Scamarcio is given just twenty-four hours to meet the terrorists’ demands, or their hostages will be killed, along with thousands more.
The only catch? He cannot involve the police or the security services.
Racing against both the clock and his own colleagues, Scamarcio must uncover the truth behind the attacks before it’s too late. But, as he begins to investigate, he finds that every question turns up five more … As usual for this son-of-a-Mafioso policeman, nothing is as it seems.
Nadia has kindly shared an extract from her new novel with us today. Here is a part of the first chapter. I hope you enjoy.
The boy enters the McDonald’s. It is a relief to escape the cloying heat and its undercurrents of summer drains and tourist sweat. He wipes his forehead with the back of his hand, shrugs the bag off his shoulder, and looks around. He counts fifteen people queuing at the tills, most of them teenagers — clutching backpacks and squinting at iPhones. To his left, nearly all the tables are full — more students and a cluster of Japanese tourists. He takes in a few young families, kids no more than four or five. Panic is stirring in his gut, turning it liquid. He tastes acid on his tongue and wants to retch. He swallows, tries to take a breath.
To his right, the place is a little emptier — only four of the tables are occupied. His eyes settle on a group of schoolgirls in uniform, their checked skirts too short, their laughter too loud. Behind the girls is a dishevelled old man, probably a vagrant. He’s tearing the wrapper from a meagre burger, his eyes darting furtively as if he’s afraid someone will swipe it.
The boy feels sweat running down the back of his neck; he notices a tremor in his leg. He turns and sees his three companions standing in the doorway. Just the sight of them makes his heart hammer. He swallows again: his throat dry, his tongue bulky. He wishes he’d taken something like they’d suggested.by
A big welcome to John R. Bell who is here to talk about his book, The Circumstantial Enemy. Over to you, John.
The Circumstance behind The Circumstantial Enemy.
The Circumstantial Enemy is an energetic journey to freedom through minefields of hatred, betrayal, lust and revenge. It’s a story about the strength of the human spirit, and the power of friendship, love and forgiveness.
The novel was released in October 2017. There is a twist to the title; The Circumstantial Enemy was written by a circumstantial author. Why do I categorize myself as such? For starters, I’d never felt a burning desire to write a book. But that all changed with one potent statement from my daughter. Seventeen years ago she said, “If you don’t write it, Grandad’s story will be lost forever.” I’ll never forget the yearning in her eyes. Though in good health, Grandad was 80 years old at the time and he wasn’t about to be the first human being to live forever. The family had heard his tales over and over again – trials and tribulations of a young Croatian pilot coerced onto the wrong side of WWII.
My daughter wasn’t requesting a book; a stapled record of the events would suffice. I reasoned that I was not a writer; the defense was feeble, partly because I had the time to write. My career as a CEO of a large company had ended and I’d embarked on consulting work that required a heap of travel and plenty of lonely nights in hotels. I also had to admit that preserving Grandad’s captivating story for his decedents was incredibly compelling. So began my journey as an author.
Thrilled by the opportunity, Grandad agreed to a host of interviews. I was no longer a passive listener. I treated our exchanges as might a journalist – probing for details and questioning events that seemed overstated. The most interesting revelation was his frankness. He soon forgot the recorder was on, revealing more than ever before – some of it both shocking and disturbing. Between the sessions I checked his facts to validate timelines and ensure life in POW camps on US soil were as described. Simultaneously, I read relevant non-fiction books to better understand time, place and prisoner predicament.by
Ivy and Abe were inseparable as children until an accident tore them apart. Several decades later, when both are in their seventies, a chance encounter reunites them. But time is not on their side.
What if they’d met in a different time and place?
In another life, Ivy and Abe meet in their forties, when both are married already. Unable to resist the attraction between them, they embark on a passionate affair.
In yet another, they marry young, with a bright future ahead of them – only for a dark shadow to threaten their happiness.
Throughout various incarnations of their lives, they come together and go their separate ways, fall in and out of love, make or break promises.
In every universe, Ivy and Abe are meant to meet. But are they meant to be?
Ivy & Abe is the story of this couple who can only be described as soul mates. This book focuses on these people in a series of parallel universes. At the beginning of the book, they are in their seventies having not seen one another since children. In another, they are married with children whilst in another they barely meet for five minutes.
In each one, it was interesting for me to see how they interact with one another and how there are common themes and events that tie these universes together. How, in whatever version, certain things will happen regardless of what comes before and after.
Also, it was compelling how two people who are so destined to be together are capable of hurting one another so much. This was a bittersweet aspect. Continue readingby
I’d like to welcome to Novel Kicks today the blog tour for Almost Forever, the debut novel from Laura Danks.
When a vicious attack leaves Paul in a coma on his wedding day, the doctors fear he will never wake up. But his fiancée Fran will never give up hope.
Fran has always known Paul is the only man for her, from the first moment they locked eyes as children to the day he finally told her he loved her. Paul can’t leave her, not now their lives are just about to begin.
Love will always find a way… won’t it?
Fran is the happiest she’s ever been. She’s about to elope to Vegas with the love of her life, Paul. Everything is perfect. However, her life is thrown into turmoil when Paul is attacked and put into a coma.
Fran refuses to leave his side and whilst she holds a vigil by his bedside, she starts to think back over their journey refusing to accept that it may be over before it’s begun.
Dear Laura Danks, you’ve written a book that had me, cough, crying on more than one occasion.
Thinking about it, it did elicit the same emotions I get when I watch the first ten minutes of Up! I cry without fail and get unhappy with the injustice of it. Reading this book made me feel the same.
From the beginning of this novel, I was so incredibly emotional and I had such empathy for Fran (a loved one in a coma is something I have unfortunately had personal experience with,) so I felt the feelings Fran felt. I got drawn into hers and Paul’s story very quickly and I didn’t want to stop until I knew what happened.
All the way through, I willed Paul to be OK so that he and Fran could get married.
The book is told in the present and through a series of flashbacks. This is Fran and Paul’s love story.
I won’t say anymore in regard to the plot as I don’t want to give too much away.by
It’s a very good day here at Novel Kicks. I was very happy when I was asked to take part in an exciting cover and first chapter reveal for The Things We Need To Say which is the upcoming release from Rachel Burton.
Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.
Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.
Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.
As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.
OK, first, the cover. Drumroll…….by
Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt.
The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.
As today is 2nd February and is Groundhog Day, today’s prompt is inspired by that.
Your character doesn’t have a very good day. He breaks up with his wife, looses his job and his pet runs away. When he wakes up on what he thinks is the following morning, he finds that there are things which are familiar to him. This is when he starts to re-live the same day but not all the people he interacts with are the same.
What happens on the first and second repeated day?by
Well hello to you February. It’s good to see you.
I don’t know about you but I found January seemed to go on forever!
February is finally here. I always feel that February is quite a romantic month because of Valentine’s Day.
This month, I have chosen a book that has romance galore and it’s Dream a Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher. Even the cover is romantic. Aww, I love it.
Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she’s been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it’s really okay. She’s happy (ish).by
Hi Thomas, thank you for joining me today. Your book is called Pimp in the Pulpit. Can you tell me a little about it and what inspired the story?
First please accept my gratitude for granting me the honour and privilege to be doing this interview with you. Secondly Pimp in the Pulpit is a book based on a dysfunctional family that has very limited spiritual and moral foundation. This book has some person experiences of my life along with other people I know and even quite a bit of fiction to give the story a little more flair.
What’s your typical writing day like? Do you have any writing rituals?
I don’t have any rituals. I just write whenever I’m feeling in the mood or inspiration instantly hits me. I write about life, family and friends some personal experiences of my own and even scenarios that may have happened in the past that I wish I had handled differently.
Can you tell me a little about your route to publication.
I’ve been trying for some time to get published with no success in the traditional sense. So I decided to go the self-publishing route and it was challenging at times and it even took me a while to get my confidence all the way up. But with this book I feel great and determine to officially make a name for myself in the publishing industry and hopefully all around the world.
Which authors do you admire and why?
I admire Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Maya Angela and W E B Dubois. Because they are some of the unforgotten heroes in today’s and modern literature. People like them help paved the way for individuals such as myself and that is why I will always honour our unforgettable heroes.by
It’s story time today.
Your character is called Bob. He likes routine. He likes order and he doesn’t like the unexpected. Bob is the kind of guy who counts his steps on the way to the bus stop and then to his office. He leaves work and counts. He has dinner at the same time every day.
Everything in his life is structured and organised down to the last detail.
One day, he is diverted due to a road closure. He then gets lost. He has not been in this part of town before.
What happens to Bob? You could even put him in a scenario where he walks into a different time or teleports to another place.
Minimum of five hundred words. Have fun with this.by
Books, books and books.
That’s what I love about January. It is a brand new year, a brand new reading challenge and lovely new books to discover. I have brought and received some great books over the past few weeks and I thought it was about time I did another book haul. So here we go.
After The Snow by Susan Constantine. (HQ, 2nd November 2017.)
I am very intrigued by this debut fiction novel by TV presenter, Susannah Constantine. I got sent this just before Christmas. The cover is all festive and beautiful. I love it. I know we’ve past Christmas but this book sounds so interesting.
Esme only wants one thing for Christmas. She wants her Mum to be on one of her good days. When she finds some wet towels and dirty plates in her stocking, she’s happy that Father Christmas remembered to stop by at all.
Later that day, Esme’s mother disappears and only one person seems to know where she is. Esme soon realises that life will never be the same after the snow.
The Cactus by Sarah Harwood.
(Released by Two Roads, 25th January 2018.)
I received this book from the publisher a few days ago. The cover includes embossed writing and a rose gold spine and it’s just beautiful. It’s one of those books you’ll want to permanently display on your bookshelf.
This book has been compared to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and the main character Susan has been likened to Don Tillman from Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project and I will always have a huge soft spot for Don Tillman.
This debut novel focuses on Susan Green. People are not sure what to make of Susan. She makes sense to herself and to her, that’s all that matters. She has a London flat, a job she loves and a more personal arrangement providing cultural and more intimate benefits.
At forty-five, she thinks her life is perfect provided she avoids her brother, Edward.
When she’s faced with some life changing events though, she realises she’s loosing control. When she has to prove something about her brother, she finds help in the most unlikely of places.
Twelve Nights by Andrew Zurcher.
(Due to be released by Puffin, 5th April 2018.)
The cover designers are really out-doing themselves at the moment. I got sent this novel and from the moment this stunning book arrived wrapped in pretty paper, I wanted to read it and I look forward to doing so.
The premise of this novel seems so interesting too and completely up my street.
Kay and Eloise’s father is working late. Fed up with his absence, their mother bundles them into the car and drives to her husband’s Cambridge College to collect him. When they arrive, the staff claim no-one by his name has ever worked there.
Instead of anger, her mother’s reaction of silent tears confuses Kay. There is also a strange card waiting on the pillow when they get home.
Kay is then woken by voices outside her window. Voices belonging to something she shouldn’t be able to see…. but she can.by
Close To Home is the new novel from Cara Hunter and her blog tour is stopping by Novel Kicks today.
HOW CAN A CHILD GO MISSING WITHOUT A TRACE?
Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it’s someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying…
And that Daisy’s time is running out.
I have reviewed the book below but first, Cara and Penguin have shared an extract from Close to Home. Enjoy!
Phone interview with David Connor
20 July 2016, 6.45 p.m.
On the call, Acting DS G. Quinn and (listening)
DC C. Gislingham
GQ: Thank you for phoning, Mr Connor, and our apologies for disturbing your holiday.
DC: No problem – I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you before. It’s such a shock, hearing what’s happened. My wife saw it on BBC World News in the hotel room.
GQ: Were you aware that the flower costume your daughter wore at the party was the one Daisy Mason should have been wearing?
DC: I wasn’t but it seems my wife was. Millie had some of her friends round after school the afternoon before –
GQ: So Monday afternoon?
DC: Er, was it Monday? Sorry – I’m a bit jet- lagged. You’re right, it must have been Monday. Anyway, Julia says they all brought their fancy dresses over and tried them on. And then tried each other’s on – you know what girls that age are like. It seems that at some point in the ensuing chaos Daisy decided that she preferred Millie’s costume, and Millie said they could swap.
GQ: Do you know if Daisy’s mother was aware the costumes had been switched?
DC: I have no idea. Let me ask Julia . . . [muffled noises] Julia says Daisy assured her that her mother wouldn’t mind. But obviously she doesn’t know if Daisy actually spoke to her about it.
GQ: We found the tights in a bin on the estate but the blood on them doesn’t match Daisy’s
DC: Ah yes, sorry about that. Millie fell over and as it was getting late and she was a bit whiny we decided to call it a day. The tights were a write-off so we just ditched them. Apologies if it caused you a problem.
GQ: What costume was your daughter originally going to wear, Mr Connor?
DC: A mermaid, so my wife tells me. I never saw it but apparently it had a flesh- Coloured top thing and a tail with shiny blue and green scales.
GQ: And any sort of headdress or mask?by