INGRID THOFTA quick note before today’s guest: Our very own Jenn McKinlay just won “RT Magazine’s” Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Love and Laughter for her book, “About a Dog.” Congrats, Jenn!Back to our regularly scheduled program…It’s a thrill to welcome today’s guest, Roz Nay, to the blog. Roz is the author of the debut…
TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2018
Roz Nay Won’t Be a Secret for Long!
A quick note before today’s guest: Our very own Jenn McKinlay just won “RT Magazine’s” Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Love and Laughter for her book, “About a Dog.” Congrats, Jenn!
Back to our regularly scheduled program…
It’s a thrill to welcome today’s guest, Roz Nay, to the blog. Roz is the author of the debut novel, “Our Little Secret,” a book garnering awards and accolades across the globe. Released in Canada last year and now available in the U.S., “Our Little Secret” won the Douglas Kennedy Prize for Best Foreign Thriller in France last May, and it’s been nominated for the Arthur Ellis Best First Crime Novel, a national Canadian award. Featured on “Entertainment Weekly’s” Must List, the novel also earned a rave from “The Washington Post” and starred reviews from “Library Journal” and “Booklist.”
The book is a twisty, suspenseful tale of high school love and what happens to sweethearts as they grow older and embark on new lives. It’s a page-turner that will keep you guessing until the end.
INGRID THOFT: The seeds of “Our Little Secret” are planted in the high school romance of the two main characters, Angela and HP. What made you decide to use that as the jumping off point for the story?
ROZ NAY: I think because of the years I spent working as a high school English teacher. I used to watch the clever girls graduate and wonder what their lives would become. They had so much potential – everything was in front of them. It’s a powerful time. Then, in my twisted little mind, I wondered what would happen if a gifted girl ended up in a life she didn’t feel she deserved. How would she use her cleverness then?
IPT: The book centers on the complicated relationship between Angela, HP, and his eventual wife, Saskia. Did you prefer writing one character’s arc more than the others? Inhabiting one character more than another?
RN: I tried to make all the characters different – and differently flawed. HP was fun to write because he was so easygoing, and a lot of his lines are things that have come directly out of my own husband’s mouth. Saskia was fun because I wanted to make her the kind of woman to whom readers would react in really distinct ways. Some readers can’t stand her; others champion her. But ultimately, Angela’s arc was the most enjoyable to write. Hers was the first voice I heard, and that voice is the reason I wrote the novel. It all began with her. I found her kind of delicious to inhabit, which is perhaps something I should be more worried about.
IPT: Don’t be worried! Enjoying the dark side is the hallmark of a good mystery/suspense writer! I’ve heard from our mutual friend, Chevy Stevens, that you don’t write your scenes in order. Can you tell us more about that?
RN: I think with this book, I was writing scraps of scenes in total chaos, grabbing time when I could. I wrote “Our Little Secret” at a time when both my children were very young, and the writing was patch worked in among all the demands of new motherhood. I was always sure of Angela’s arc and wrote pieces of that first because she was driving the narrative. Now that I’m working on my second (and third) book, I’ve developed a more structured schedule and I tend to write more chronologically to the plot. But with “Our Little Secret” it was a gong show. It’s amazing it ever got finished.
IPT: What has surprised you most about being a published author?
RN: Mostly the fact that I’m a published author! That fact alone is astonishing. It’s been a big, fast year full of book adventure. I was surprised that I got to go to Paris alone for a week, which felt like an entirely different planet. These days I’m surprised every time someone stops me in the street to say they’ve liked the book. Strangers reading my work! That’s a really big deal when you think about it. And to get such a groundswell of support, too, from well-known writers (yourself and Chevy Stevens included) who want to help the book along is quite the lovely surprise.
IPT: Is there a wannabe book lurking in the back of your brain, something you would write if you didn’t have to consider agents, editors, and fans? A romance? Non-fiction?
RN: I’d like to write a kind of Bridget Jones-y romantic comedy. I always thought if I ever got a book together, it’d be humour I wrote, but I seem to have strayed early to the dark side. I’m also quite interested in YA… I enjoyed writing the first half of “Our Little Secret” where everything was teenaged and idyllic: I wouldn’t mind spending a little more time in that world again. Mind you, Chevy Stevens is hoping I’ll write a sequel to OLS starring only HP. She has her reasons.
IPT: I bet she does!
Roz will be here today answering your questions and is giving away two copies of “Our Little Secret.” Just comment to enter the giveaway!
“Our Little Secret”
They say you never forget your first love. What they don’t say though, is that sometimes your first love won’t forget you…
Angela Petitjean sits in a cold, dull room. The police have been interrogating her for hours, asking about Saskia Parker. She’s the wife of Angela’s high school sweetheart, HP, and the mother of his child. She has vanished. Homicide Detective J. Novak believes Angela knows what happened to Saskia. He wants the truth, and he wants it now.
But Angela has a different story to tell. It began more than a decade ago when she and HP met in high school in Cove, Vermont. She was an awkward, shy teenager. He was a popular athlete. They became friends, fell in love, and dated senior year. Everything changed when Angela went to college. When time and distance separated them. When Saskia entered the picture.
That was eight years ago. HP foolishly married a drama queen and Angela moved on with her life. Whatever marital rift caused Saskia to leave her husband has nothing to do with Angela. Nothing at all. Detective Novak needs to stop asking questions and listen to what Angela is telling him. And once he understands everything, he’ll have the truth he so desperately wants…
Roz Nay grew up in England and studied at Oxford University. She has been published in The Antigonish Review and the anthology Refuge. Roz has worked as an underwater fish counter in Africa, a snowboard videographer in Vermont, and a high school teacher in both the UK and Australia. She now lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two children. “Our Little Secret” is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @roznay1 and on Facebook.com/roznay1.