Welcome to the start of the fabulous In Too Deep blog tour and a guest post from author Samantha Hayes, about mother/daughter relationships.
In Too Deep is published on 5th May 2016 by Century.
A little bit about In Too Deep
The compelling new psychological suspense novel, from the author of Until You’re Mine, Before You Die and You Belong to Me. Perfect for fans of S J Watson and Sophie Hannah.
Four months ago, Rick went out to buy a newspaper. He never came back.
His wife, Gina, is struggling to deal with her loss, and her daughter’s mood swings are getting worse. Then she receives a phone call from a woman at a country hotel, confirming details of a booking Rick made before he vanished.
Desperate to find out more about his disappearance, Gina and her daughter take the trip. But there is something very strange about the hotel, and the family that run it.
Soon Gina is unsure that Rick even made the booking – but one thing is clear: both mother and daughter are in serious danger.
In Too Deep – Inspiration behind the mother/daughter relationship
When I set out to write In Too Deep, I knew I wanted to have a ‘duelling narrative’ between two key characters. It was a vital part of its structure as I knew it would add suspense and emotion as well as keep the reader second guessing every move.
Of course, writing a novel encompasses many elements – plot and story, the setting, character, points of view etc. It’s an organic process which smudges and blends together over the course of a year as it literally grows inside me. The book/pregnancy analogy is an old one.
But there’s something else to consider when writing. Though it’s intrinsic – in real life as well as on the page – the concept of relationships is easy to consciously overlook. The chess moves people make, the nitty-gritty interactions, the mind games an author strings between the characters can be less ‘thought about’ and more just ‘done’. It’s left me wondering if this is the real essence of a good book.
So with my duelling narrative in mind for In Too Deep, what better relationship to examine than that of a mother and daughter? I am both of these things and I don’t think there’s anything more complicated, beautiful, natural or potentially ugly as the deep bond between a mum and her female offspring – especially when they’re wrapped up in tragedy, secrets and lies.
Gina is the mum in In Too Deep. She’s a survivor, she’s a victim, and maybe she’s a perpetrator too. But one thing we know is that she’s been through hell and, as the book opens, she’s just had another dose of bad. Four months ago, her husband went out to buy a newspaper and never came home. This forms the core of my story.
With her son killed in a hit and run a few years ago, it’s now just Gina and her eighteen-year-old daughter Hannah. With Hannah back from university, home is now a hothouse of emotion. Both women are vulnerable and raw in different ways – Gina because she’s lost the love of her life, and Hannah because she’s harbouring a secret that’s eating her up from the inside out. Their usual bond, held together by love, is peeling apart.
The rot inside mother and daughter can’t help but affect the way they interact, turning what should be natural and enjoyable moments (even under the circumstances) into tense and suspicious encounters. What happened to the caring, devoted mum who gave her all to family life? Left empty and bitter, Gina’s emotions are affecting Hannah more than she realises. And with Hannah breaking under the weight of a terrible secret, the chasm between mother and daughter grows.
The question is: who will crack first?
It was actually quite heart-breaking to write this book. I have two grown-up daughters and we have the best relationships I could ever hope for. But they’ve always been fluid, changing over time, growing and developing as circumstances in life evolve – though always underpinned by a core of trust, love and honesty.
During their childhood there were secrets – I’d be silly to think not! But when one of them bore the look of a heavy heart, or was acting out of sorts, I trusted myself to notice and make it known to them that I was there, willing to listen if they needed. With Gina, it’s a different story. She’s consumed by something deeply troubling and it’s through her therapy sessions following her husband’s disappearance that we gradually learn what.
I had to dig deep to feel what it was like to be a daughter ‘misunderstood’. There were moments from my teenage years when I felt exactly like Hannah – so weighed down by my own issues that I completely failed to see that my mother had her own stuff going on. It’s easy for a young girl to mistake distance for lack of care. But these ‘stand-off’ feelings only serve to widen the gap… resulting in more conflict, when really the two women in my story should be pulling together.
None of these were easy feelings to work through as I was writing In Too Deep, but I found myself able to dig down and touch latent emotions, allowing me to empathise with my characters. And I believe it’s this empathy that forges the relationships in fiction, allowing the reader to form a unique bond with the author – the most important relationship of all in a book.
In Too Deep can be found on Amazon here
Say hello to Samantha Hayes on Twitter https://twitter.com/samhayes
My review will be posted shortly.
Check out the rest of the blog tour for reviews and guest posts, on the best book blogs out there!