Today I am very excited to welcom Saskia Sarginson to the blog for a bookish Q&A. I loved her latest work, The Other Me, and I had the pleasure of picking Saskia's mind about it.
Hi Saskia and welcome to Alba in Bookland. First of all could you tell us a bit about yourself: Thanks for inviting me! I live in London with my partner and my four (grown-up) children, plus a menagerie of animals: 3 dogs, 2 cats and a leopard gecko. I used to work as a Health & Beauty editor on women’s magazines; I’ve also been a ghostwriter and script reader. I’ve always loved writing, and wanted to make it my career, so I feel very lucky to be doing this. I also love dancing, tango in particular, and looking after creatures, hence the number of animals and children in my life…
In your latest book, The Other Me, the main role is hiding a big secret and is living a lie. How did you come up with this idea? Any big secrets in your life you want to share with us? If I told you the secret, it would no longer be one! Seriously, I’m fascinated with identity, and the issues around it. I’ve just been listening to the radio and there was a piece about people who role-play and escape into being fantasy characters at the weekend. So many of them said they only felt like ‘themselves’ when they were dressing up and pretending to be someone else. Of course, in Klaudia’s case, she is also running away from a sense of inherited guilt and her repressive childhood.
The Other Me has a stunning cover that I think will catch everyone's attention. What was your reaction when you first saw it? Thanks! I was thrilled when I saw it. I love everything about it: the colours, the design, and the sense of darkness gathering around the beautiful pink of the tutu and the pale skin of the dancer…
Which 3 words would you use to describe the story behind The Other Me? Dark and layered, (like the best chocolate cake) and also kind.
How does your writing process go? Do you plan everything first or you just start writing and let your characters talk to you? I usually begin with the spark of an idea, and the nascent sense of a character or two. Then I begin to piece a story together in my mind – always character-led. After that the process is different for every book.
The Other Me is your third book already. Did you find writing your second and third novel more difficult than your first, after its success? Or have you learned from your "mistakes"? I hope I improve as I go along. Each book is a huge learning-curve. I was incredibly lucky to have a lot of media attention and the Richard and Judy Bookclub with The Twins, my debut novel. It can’t always be that way. (It was a bit like actually being pregnant with twins, and having the red carpet treatment! I saw the consultant every time and everyone made a fuss. Then I had my son, and found out what it was like for most pregnant women.)The important thing for me is that I do the best I can with the story I’m telling. I’m always focused on whatever I’m writing now.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote and what it was about? I began telling my younger sister stories when I was about six. One that she liked a lot involved a girl who couldn’t walk and her toy pony that came to life every night and took her on wonderful adventures.
If you could have a party with your favourite authors, dead or alive, who would you invite? I’d resurrect some really iconic authors for my party – people like Shakespeare, John Donne, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Ezra Pound and Anne Frank.
And finally, what are you working on now? I’m working on a book that’s a little different from my others in that it has a stronger thriller strand – but it also has an emotional heart. It’s called The Stranger and it’s set in an idyllic English village where one woman puts herself at risk by trusting a stranger who evokes suspicion in everyone else. As the story unravels we realize that the village is not as idyllic as it first seems, and our heroine has been betrayed by someone, but is it her would-be lover, her dead husband or the stranger to whom she’s opened her home and her heart?
Thank you Saskia for sharing a bit more about yourself and your stories with us. I really enjoyed your answers.
About the book:
Author: Saskia Sarginson
Published: August 13th 2015 by Piatkus
Blurb: Eliza Bennett has the life she's always dreamed of.She's who she wants to be, and she's with the man she loves.
But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Meyer.
And Klaudia is on the run. She's escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.
This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia - one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from.
Psychological and suspenseful: the gripping story of one girl living a double life.
From rising star Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins and Without You.