Today I am joined by the lovely Emma Haughton as part of the blog tour for her debut novel Now You See Me which is out tomorrow. Thank you Emma for answering my questions and Megan at Usborne for arranging the tour!
Goodreads Description: Three years ago, thirteen-year-old Danny Geller vanished without trace.
His family and friends are still hanging on to every last shred of hope. Not knowing if he’s alive or dead, their world is shrouded in shadows, secrets and suspicions.
This is the story of what happens when hope comes back to haunt you. When your desperation is used against you. When you search for the truth – but are too scared to accept the reality staring you in the face…
A mesmerizing psychological thriller with the most incredible twist you’ll read all year.
1. Now You See Me is your first novel. Could you tell us a little about your journey to publication?
It was quite a long and windy one. I spent years as a journalist, and then wrote a picture book and sent it off to a publisher, who promptly wrote back saying they’d like to publish it. So I was sidetracked onto picture books for some time, then life got in the way, until eventually I decided to try longer fiction.
After my experience with my picture book, I imagined it would be a reasonably straightforward process. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Initially I wrote an MG book, and spent ages fiddling about with it. Then I went on an Arvon course and one of the tutors suggested I get on with something new. So I started writing Now You See Me and eventually it was picked up by an agent and sold to Usborne.
- There are a lot of twists and turns in Now You See Me. Do you plan everything ahead or did any of those twists surprise you?
The main twist was always there, as an essential part of the story. But some of the other events in Hannah’s life had quite a long evolution. I set out with one backstory, and when that didn’t work, came up with an alternative version that I felt offered more opportunities for surprising the reader. So I didn’t plan that much ahead, though in my next book – out next year – I thought about things more carefully beforehand. It involves a lot less rewriting that way!
- What are the five thrillers and/or other books that have inspired you most as a writer?
Hmmm… I think I’ve been influenced by a lot of adult novels, but in terms of YA I’d say Catcher in the Rye, more for voice and the first-person narrative style than the plot. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness for sheer brilliant writing. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, for a beautiful story well told. In terms of YA thrillers, I’d say two of my favourites are Daylight Saving by Ed Hogan and The Glass Demon by Helen Grant.
4. What has been your favourite part of the publication process so far?
Oh blimey. Let me think… Probably the moment I sold the book, when I knew it was definitely going to be published, but had no idea of the amount of work still ahead in terms of editing. Especially as Usborne sent me lovely bottle of champagne!
5. I loved the scenes with Alice and Hannah. Did you have a particular favourite character to write while working on Now You See Me?
I think Alice probably was my favourite. Although she’s a small kid with Downs syndrome, she is in many ways the most honest and clear-sighted of all the characters in the novel. I am very fond of her, and the way she has of expressing exactly what she feels, even if she sometimes struggles to get across what she means.
And I’ve met her. Last year I went down to the seafront to listen to the town band and there, dancing away to the music with a wild and joyful abandon, was a little girl with Downs syndrome who looked exactly as I’d always imagined Alice. It was uncanny, and quite wonderful.
6. If you can tell us, what are you currently working on?
I’ll soon be embarking on the second set of edits for my next book, Better Left Buried. I’m also working on my original MG book, with the hope it might finally see the light of day!
7. Spoiler question klaxon. Now You See Me draws on a true story, however obviously takes its own twist on it, what about the true story particularly inspired you as a writer?
Well, without mentioning what it was, I have to say it was one of those real-life situations that was just so weird and hard to believe that it had me gripped from the very first moment I read about it. I think the whole situation was intrinsically fascinating, the sort of thing you could go over in your mind again and again.
And finally a more light-hearted question:
8. If you could be any fictional investigator or detective who would you be?
My favourite fictional investigator is probably Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, but I am not sure I would want to be him because it must be hard living in the world when you have profound autism. So who would I want to actually be? Possibly George in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. She has a wonderful dog called Timmy, and her own island. And a lot of great adventures. And she’s a great kick-ass girl who takes no flack from anyone.
Emma Haughton is a one-time family and travel journalist turned YA writer. Now You See Me is published by Usborne on 1st May, but you can order advance copies from Usborne here. Her second novel, Better Left Buried, comes out next year.