Q&A with Renee Knight

Q&A with Renee Knight

We’ve not been kept short of excellent thrillers in 2015, but this week it’s all about Disclaimer, Renee Knight’s tightly wound debut of suburban noir. Having read, and loved, a proof copy of the book back in January, when the chance came up to talk to Renee as part of Disclaimer’s blog tour I grabbed it (even though The Telegraph swiped all my questions before I had a chance to ask them!). I thought of some more, though…   Hi Renee, and thanks so much for taking time to chat. You do a great job of juggling the multiple points of view and time frames within the story. Was the structure something that fell into place from the start, or was it through the editing process that smoothness was achieved? And did you always know how...

Disclaimer, by Renee Knight

Disclaimer, by Renee Knight

Today, I’m pleased to be heading up the Disclaimer blogtour. Described by Lee Child as ‘sensationally good psychological suspense,’ it’s the latest must-read, promising to turn you upside down but with an ending that may catch you out in ways you weren’t expecting. Catherine is married to Robert. She’s an award-winning documentary film-maker with everything in her life, seemingly, just as it should be. Her son, Nick, is something of a disappointment, but at least he’s in his own place now, being independent. Stephen Brigstocke, on the other hand, is a failure. A lonely, disgraced schoolmaster, he is unable to move on after the death of his wife and is haunted by a life that had started with so much promise. He once had a...

The Opposite of Kin, by Jo Bell

The Opposite of Kin, by Jo Bell

What could be better for this week’s Not The Guardian Family Section than some thoughts on kith, those ‘who are known, taken collectively; one’s friends, fellow-countrymen or neighbours’? It’s the title of Jo Bell’s upcoming poetry collection, for a start, and I’m exceedingly happy that two of the major kith areas of my life – those of writing and boating – intersect with those of Jo. I’ll be reporting back from the launch of KITH, which will be happening later this month in the marvellously named Much Wenlock, but for now, here is Jo with a look at what kith means to her.     Experience has shown, dear reader, that commitment is not my thing. I am what Nancy Mitford would call a Bolter. I have...

The Lodger, by Louisa Treger

The Lodger, by Louisa Treger

It’s a strange process by which one writer will make it onto the literary canon whilst so many others of their time languish in the footnotes, forgotten and out of print. Dorothy Richardson, the heroine of The Lodger, is one such. Although a pioneer of stream of consciousness writing, this contemporary of Virginia Woolf is now largely unknown. Louisa Treger came across her ‘by accident in the library of London University,’ whilst searching for a new angle in her research on Woolf. She was intrigued to find a glancing mention, by Woolf, of the way Richardson had ‘invented . . . a sentence which we might call the psychological sentence of the female gender.’ This interest grew into a novel, based on the events of Richardson’s...

Mermaids and Other Devices, by Nell Farrell

Mermaids and Other Devices, by Nell Farrell

I’ve never posted a review about poetry before. It’s not because I don’t like it. It’s just never occurred to me to write about it. Mermaids and Other Devices is an excellent place to start. Mermaids is special. I first heard the poems, read aloud by the author, around a log fire in a remote corner of the North Yorkshire Moors. Writing retreats are, of course, the perfect place to hear new work, but it wasn’t just the glamour of being away from the world and surrounded by some of my favourite writers. I felt the same reading the poems back home, and even more so hearing them again at one of the pamphlet’s launches, at Mash Guru in Macclesfield, a couple of weeks ago. One of my daughters and my son came with me, and they loved...

Getting On With It, by Robbie Burton

For today’s guest post in my occasional series, Not The Guardian Family Section, I’m delighted to welcome one of my favourite poets. I love pretty much everything Robbie Burton writes. And says. She has an unerring sense of both humour and poignancy, and I’m happy to share this with you as we wait for her pamphlet to come out. (I’ve heard the draft. It’s ace.)     A bit of a crack-pot, my late husband. Thirty-three years we lived in our last house, thirty-three years without carpet, wallpaper or paint on the hall, landing and stairs. The house was Victorian and its landing was vast. The hall floor had lost its beautiful tiles and was chipboard. My husband was a surveyor and occasionally visited remarkable houses. One...

Living with the Tidy Gene

Living with the Tidy Gene

First off, I’ll make it clear that I’m not the one with the tidy gene. In fact, the very idea would have any friend of mine rolling around on my floor, at risk of being impaled by Lego corners. No, the reason I’m thinking about tidiness is because my son, now just coming up to 14, has discovered the delights of it. And this, for me, is a mixed blessing. He’s been muttering for a couple of days about it being time to have a tidy up, and today, when we got back from swimming, he got stuck in. Much of the assorted crap littering the (floor, chairs, worktop, insert noun of choice) was actually his. He went around finding homes for it, and put the rest on my bed, to be dealt with a some unspecified point in the future. The sitting room is now...