I’m delighted to welcome the lovely and wonderfully talented Louise Beech to the blog today. I fell in love with Louise’s writing while reading her debut, How To Be Brave, last year and was honoured to attend the launch of her new book last week at Waterstones, Piccadilly. I’ve only read the first few pages so far (I’m rationing myself because I’m chasing a deadline!), but it’s set to be another beautifully absorbing read. Here’s Louise to tell us more about it:
Can you describe your new novel in one succinct but sensual sentence?
Haha – I LOVE succinct but sensual. Wish I were myself! Okay, here goes: The Mountain in my Shoe involves a missing book, a missing boy, and a missing husband, but only the discovery of where the characters truly belong will put everything in its rightful place.
Who is your favourite character and why?
Ten-year-old Conor, without a doubt. His bravery at so young an age touches and inspires me. He’s really the one that pulls everyone together, saves them all if you like. I had the best time writing him. He was inspired a little by my own son Conor, by his quirks when small, his beautiful observations.
Which authors have been your main inspirations?
As a child I lost myself in the What Katy Did series by Susan Coolidge, the Narnia series by CS Lewis and Heidi by Joanna Spyri. Looking back, they often involved a child having to be brave, either due to illness, war or losing a parent. I guess I’ve always been a sucker for tragedy. In my teen years I loved Paul Zindel, Judy Blume, Virginia Andrews, Jeffrey Archer and began a lifelong love affair with Scarlett O’Hara and Gone With The Wind. Since then I’ve been inspired by John Irving, Alissa Nutting, Paul Theroux, Amanda Jennings, Markus Zusak, Julian Barnes, Gill Paul, Charlotte Bronte, and so so many others, for so many reasons.
How does your writing process work; confusion and paper flying everywhere or calm and ordered?
It begins with an idea. Some phrase or word or scene or memory haunts me. I record it in a notebook, scribble some thoughts, see where it goes. If it seems to want to be something – something big, like a novel – then I start writing it up on the computer. My notes are messy and disordered, but I have a very tidy desk space, very OCD. I can work better when my surroundings are neat. My head is often in chaos so this order calms me.
What is your guilty pleasure when writing? (Chocolate, wine, coffee…)
I tend to only drink tea while actually writing or else – with writing so many hours a day – I’d be the size of a house! But I do reward myself after a very long and difficult writing week with a large glass (or three) of Prosecco.
Please share your blurb with us –
A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself. On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all. Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Louise Beech loves all forms of writing. Her short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition. Her debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ Pick 2015. The Mountain in my Shoe is out now on Kindle.
Follow her on Twitter @LouiseWriter and visit her website here – www.louisebeech.co.uk
This post is part of The Mountain In My Shoe blog tour. Do visit some of the other blogs for more fascinating pieces!