Today I’m pleased to welcome Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins and Without You to the blog. Saskia’s new book The Other Me was published by Piatkus on 13 August 2015. Saskia kindly agreed to answer a few questions.
1. Tell us a little about The Other Me.
It’s about a girl who’s running from her past, her father and what she thinks he’s done. At university she’s happy in her new identity as Eliza, and she’s in love. But her boyfriend only knows her as Eliza. When she’s forced to return home, her father and her old identity are waiting to claim her.
2. What inspired the book?
I discovered who my real father was when I was in my 40’s. It was too late to meet him, he’d died shortly before I found him. But I did discover facts about him. To my surprise, I learnt that he’d been a Dutch Jew and that he’d lived in France most of his life. Later, I wondered how I would have felt if I’d discovered that he’d had Nazi connections instead of Jewish ones. The whole process of trying to find him made me think about how important our parents are as the foundations of our identity. I knew I wanted to write about that, and to explore the idea of inherited guilt.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?
I write a fairly detailed synopsis, but as I start to write and become immersed in the story it reveals new possibilities, twists and plot developments that I hadn’t thought of before. It takes me about ten months to write and edit a book.
4. What do you do when you aren’t writing? Which authors do you turn to when you have time to read for pleasure?
When I’m not writing, you’ll find me walking my three dogs, doing things with and for my kids (all four of them are fairly grown-up at 16,22, 24 and 24) and spending time with my partner: we like to see films, modern dance and theatre when we can. And my passion is dancing – salsa and tango. When I’m reading purely for pleasure, I like to read out of my comfort zone and try different authors, but some of my favourites are Sadie Jones, Rose Tremain, Michael Cunningham and Tessa Hadley.
5. Having been through the creative process of writing and publishing a novel what have you learnt that you wish you’d known before you started?
I think as an unpublished author, all you focus on is getting published. You think that everything will be a breeze after that. But the minute your book hits the shops there is huge anxiety about how it will be received by critics and readers, how many copies you’ll sell, and if your publisher will offer another book deal! Having said that, I couldn’t be happier. I feel incredibly privileged to be doing the one thing I’ve always wanted to do.
6. I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. What question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
I love animals and always include them in my novels. So I’d like to be asked a non-writing, pet-orientated question – I’d like you to ask me where to get a new dog! And my answer would be: go to a shelter and give a home to one of the many gorgeous dogs that desperately want a person of their own to love. I’d really like to get the message out there that people should avoid puppy farms like the plague, and consider a rescue dog before buying one from a breeder.
About the book:
“A story about hidden identities, by the Richard & Judy-bestselling author of The Twins
Eliza Bennet has the life she’s always dreamed of. She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man she loves.
But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Myer. And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.
This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia – one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from.”