Skeletons is the latest book from Jane Fallon (who also wrote Getting Rid of Matthew, The Ugly Sister and Foursome.) As part of her blog tour for her new book, we had a chat with Jane about the book, her fantasy dinner guests and her favourite word.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?
Keep moving forward. Don’t be tempted to go back and edit as you go along or you’ll just keep rewriting the same passage over and over again.
What’s Skeletons about and how did the idea originate?
Jen was the only child of only children whose father left when she was young. When she met Jason she fell in love with his big artsy bohemian family as much as with him. They’ve become her family too. His father Charles is much more of a father to her than her own. When the book starts Jen and Jason have been happily married for 20 years. And then she sees Charles in the street with a much younger woman and it’s clear they are more than colleagues. Jen knows if she tells Jason it will blow the family apart. But can she keep it secret?
I always start by thinking about the central relationship I want to write about – in this case a couple whose youngest child has just left home. The empty nest syndrome. I was also thinking about big versus small families and whether you can create the perfect family set up for yourself.
What’s your favourite/least favourite word?
My least favourite has to be giggle – unless it’s in relation to a baby. I don’t know why, it just really irritates me. It’s impossible to pick a favourite although for some reason I want to say ‘extrapolate’.
Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party?
Laurel and Hardy with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte and see who left with who.
Do you plan, have any writing rituals and edit as you go?
I do write a treatment before I start. That takes me a couple of months. For me it’s really important to know I have a complex enough story with sufficient twists and turns. I don’t really have any rituals and I try not to edit too much as I go along. I like to motor through a first draft – I say motor, it takes about seven or eight months – and then start to play around with it.
Which authors do you admire and is there a book you’ve read that has stuck with you?
Gosh, so many I don’t know where to start. In terms of recent writers I love James Frey. Bright Shiny Morning is an amazing book. My long-term loves in terms of books are In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and anything by Dickens. Fay Weldon was the biggest influence on me I think.
Do you cast your characters when you write as if so, do you have anyone in mind for Jen & Jason?
Not really, although with some characters an actor pops into your mind out of nowhere. Julianne Moore would make a great Jen.
Skeletons by Jane Fallon is published by Michael Joseph, £7.99
The next stop on the tour is tomorrow over on http://scarsshelves.wordpress.com/
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.