Today’s post features author Barbara Hannay in a short Q&A discussing her newest novel, The Summer Of Secrets. The Summer Of Secrets is published by Penguin Random House and is available now from retailers.
There are many twists and turns in a your latest novel The Summer Of Secrets that had merging stories. How did you brainstorm in your writing process this novel?
Fitting the many strands of a story together smoothly can be tricky and I have quite a few deleted scenes from The Summer of Secrets, where I took wrong turns when I first started. I even had to resurrect a character I’d originally killed off.
For me, brainstorming often involves long chats with my husband who is also a writer (yeah, I’m lucky). Alternatively, it involves longish stints in the garden pulling weeds. I’m always amazed how ideas for my stories pop up when I’m doing something totally unrelated to writing.
Which character was the most challenging to write?
Izzie was both the easiest and the hardest character to develop. In some ways, because she’s such a strong, independent matriarch, I had a very clear picture of her personality. However, her history as a pilot ferrying gigantic bombers from factories to airfields during WW2 took a great deal of research, so that was a challenge, but one I enjoyed.
What book have you read recently that you thought was a stand out?
The book that made the biggest impact in recent months was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I loved the characters and when I got to the end I wanted to start all over again. It was so refreshingly different and it managed to make a tragic story ultimately uplifting. Brilliant.
What is your favourite breakaway activity from writing?
Singing in an a Capella choir. I love blending my voice with others. And learning parts for songs in different languages is great for the ‘little grey cells”.
What can readers expect next in your writing?
The book I’m currently writing is about a family scattered all over the globe, so it’s a bit different from my recent small town stories. I’m really enjoying writing it, so I hope readers will enjoy it too.
About The Summer Of Secrets by Barbara Hannay
Sydney journalist Chloe Brown is painfully aware that her biological clock isn’t just ticking, it’s booming. When her long term boyfriend finally admits he never wants children, Chloe is devastated. Impulsively, she moves as far from disappointment as she can – to a job on a small country newspaper in Queensland’s far north.
The little town seems idyllic, a cosy nest, and Chloe plans to regroup and, possibly, to embark on single motherhood via IVF. But she soon realises that no place is free from trouble or heartache. The grouchy news editor, Finn Latimer, is a former foreign correspondent who has retreated after a family tragedy. Emily, the paper’s elegant, sixty-something owner, is battling with her husband’s desertion. Meanwhile, the whole town is worried when their popular young baker disappears.
As lives across generations become more deeply entwined, the lessons are clear. Secrets and silence harbour pain, while honesty and openness bring healing and hope. And love. All that’s needed now is courage…