So last week I reviewed the impressive After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott and have been lucky enough to ask Fran some questions about her writing. So without further ado the first ever Runalong the Shelves interview:-
Hi Fran and thank you so much for a fantastic story I really enjoyed reading this novel and Cassie’s quest for the truth.
How do you like to describe the novel to new readers?
Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I always think of After the Eclipse as the love-child of Broadchurch and Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. It’s a spooky, superstitious novel with grief and loss and sisterhood at its heart. It’s a novel about small towns, about trust, and two little girls abducted during solar eclipses 16 years apart.
Was the idea of the eclipse as a framing point for the mystery always there from the beginning? What drew you towards it?
Absolutely! I got the idea for After the Eclipse while watching the solar eclipse in 2015. I’ve always been fascinated by natural events like eclipses, especially since I think most people find them memorable. I’m fascinated by the effect the natural world can have on us, on our superstitions and beliefs, and I wanted to meld that with a crime novel that kept the victim at its heart.
I really enjoyed your focus on showing the impact on the victims of the crime rather than a focus on the perpetrator. Was that something you were keen to focus on in this story?
It was my primary focus. I read a lot of crime fiction, and I think the best novels always focus on the victim instead of the detective. I didn’t want to write a novel that felt sensationalist – I wanted it to be sympathetic and empathetic, and I think focusing on Olive, on Cassie’s love for her sister too, helped to achieve that.
In terms of plot did you plan this out from scratch or was it a surprise where the story eventually went?
I’m not very good at plotting ahead of time! I don’t usually write detailed plots before I sit down to write, but I do have a general idea where I want to take the characters, and an emotional resolution in mind. I like to write more organically because I think it enables me to really get into the heads of my characters and to make realistic in-character decisions as they grow and transform over the course of the novel.
Did you have a soundtrack to write the novel to? If so, who were you listening to?
I do! My playlists usually vary quite a lot but the After the Eclipse soundtrack featured a lot of Hozier, Bastille and Imagine Dragons. Anything quite dramatic!
What was it like when you finally held a copy of your first novel?
Oh it was amazing. The best feeling! When you write a book and publish traditionally sometimes the journey can be quite long, and the satisfaction when you finally get to hold the novel in your hands is just wonderful. The team at Titan did such a fantastic job with the cover and I just can’t stop looking at it.
If there was one thing as a debut author, you wish you’d known earlier what would you have told yourself if you could go back in time?
I think I wish I’d told myself how much more I’d want to read when I had a book published, and how little time I’d have! There are so many amazing books out there, especially new ones coming out every month, and I want to read them all. But it’s sometimes hard to make the time!
What’s the book (not by you) that you always want everyone to read?
I work in a book shop and the book I probably recommend most often is Sharp Objects. I love Gone Girl as well, but I think her first novel is darker, and infinitely more raw. It’s clever, tense, and beautifully written. If you haven’t read it, I think you absolutely should!