Welcome to the holiday blog tour for Catherine McKenzie's latest novel, Hidden! This was one of my favourite books of 2013 and Catherine is one of my all time favourite authors so I'm so excited to be a part of this tour. In today's post you'll find an interview I did with Catherine and a repost of my review of Hidden (originally posted in June). Have you read this one yet? I know it's not out in the US yet but Amazon.com tells me it should be released in April. I hope you enjoy today's post!
Books Etc.: Your novel Arranged (my favourite!) is being made into a short film. Tell us about this experience. How did you find out about it? How involved are you in the production? What was it like spending a day on the set?
Catherine McKenzie: Yes, it is! In fact, as I write this, I've just gotten back from the set in Toronto. What an awesome experience - seeing my first novel being brought to life, even in a small way was surreal and exciting and just plain fun. I've known about it for a while - the producers had to buy the option on the film and then get their financing, and I had read the script months ago. I'm not involved in an active way (i.e. not writing the script or anything) but the producers are nice enough to keep me up to date and to have me on set.
CM: Gosh, that's a hard one. I'm not sure if someone told me this or I just realized it, but learning to write when you're not inspired is I think the best advice I have.
BE: What’s your writing routine like? Is there a particular place or time of day that suits you best when it comes to writing?
CM: I don't tend to have much of a routine these days - I need to get one of those - but I find that either in the morning or in the hour or so after dinner are usually my best times.
BE: Do you create outlines for your novels or are you a write by the seat of your pants author?
CM: Much more by the seat of my pants, though I had to outline for HIDDEN given the more intricate plot lines and multiple points of view.
BE: Do you find yourself giving your characters qualities that you or people who are close to you have?
CM: I do sometimes give them qualities I have - exaggerated, usually - but I try not to do that for people I know. At least not intentionally!
BE: This year you pledged to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I love that idea. Your choices cover all sorts of genres but do you have a favourite genre to read?
CM: I find I kind of go through genre phases. Sometimes it's non-fiction. Sometimes it's detective fiction. Sometimes novels. Depends on my mood, really. That has been one of the hard parts of the project; having to read within some confines as opposed to whatever I feel like, but it's mostly been fun.
BE: What’s next for you? Are you working on another novel now?
CM: I should have a fun project coming out sometime in the first half of next year (sorry to be vague but still wrapping up the details), but I can say that fans of Spin will (hopefully) be pleased. (Blogger Note: Ooh, I cannot wait to hear more about this!)
Most readers look forward to many new books throughout the year but they usually have that one book they can't wait to get their hands on. For me, the book I was most looking forward to in 2013 was Hidden by Catherine McKenzie. I have read and loved Catherine's previous three novels and am constantly recommending them to others. I was curious to see if her fourth novel lived up to my expectations...it did! I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen next in this fantastic novel.
Here's the synopsis:
Here's the synopsis:
When a married man suffers a sudden fatal accident, two women are shattered—his wife and someone else's—and past secrets, desires and regrets are brought to light.
While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Not one but two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son and contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother—her ex-boyfriend—Tim.
With Tish’s co-workers in the dark about her connection to Jeff outside the workplace, she volunteers to attend the funeral on the company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life. Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, our personal choices and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.
One of my favourite things about this novel was that it is told from three different perspectives - Jeff, Tish, and Claire. It's all told in first person and you'd think it'd get confusing but it doesn't. Though, I admit, it did take me until I was about three quarters into the novel before I realized what the (clever) indicator was: different font for the first few words in each chapter. I think it takes real talent to be able to keep each thread both separate and connected, and to know which scenes to repeat from different perspectives and which to only touch on once. I think McKenzie did a fabulous job of telling the story from each perspective and I loved reading the inner thoughts of each character.
I really wasn't sure how things were going to end up by the last page and I loved that. What makes this even better is that even when I thought everything was all sewn up, McKenzie threw in a little twist. Admittedly, I'm not sure if I particularly likes how it ended but I know that was the right way to conclude the story.
As with McKenzie's previous novels, she's given us some fabulous characters. They are in no way perfect (hello, this story deals with a possible affair) but that's what makes them so awesome. They're real and relatable and so much fun to read about (er, perhaps fun is the wrong word to use when one of the characters is actually dead...). Even with the potential of a couple of affairs, you'll still fall in love with the characters and want the very best for them.
Catherine McKenzie has, once again, delivered a fantastic novel. Hidden will definitely make my top ten favourites list for 2013 and will be another novel I push on everyone who is looking for a good book to read. Friends, prepare yourselves!
*An ARC of this novel was provided by HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review.*