Thrilled to have Sarah Denzil as a guest on Clues and Reviews today! Her novel, Silent Child, was amazing! If you missed my review you can check that out here. Keep reading to find out Sarah’s writing process, why type of research goes into writing a novel like Silent Child and about life in general!
Silent Child tackles all sorts of tough subject matter surrounding the loss of a child, child abduction and relationships. What type of research goes into writing a novel like this?
Right from the beginning, I felt like I knew Emma, so I approached the book from knowing that character. I did browse a few forums about parenting to get the feel of being a mum, but there isn’t much to research when it comes to suffering a loss and then that person returning, that was a very unique experience, so I tried to put myself in Emma’s shoes and feel what she would feel.
In Silent Child, Aidan has no narrative voice until the very end. What made you make this decision?
I wanted the focus to be on Emma because I wanted readers to experience everything with Emma and sympathise with her situation. But I knew that Aiden needed to tell some of his story at the end. I wanted his voice to be heard in the same way Emma wanted desperately to hear Aiden’s voice.
Are there any sections that you decided to edit out of Silent Child?
Actually, no! I tend to write my first drafts as the skeleton of the story and then I flesh it out with rewriting. I tend to add more in than I take out when editing.
Why did you decide to start writing psychological thrillers?
It was really the new wave of psychological thrillers that caught my attention, books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Before then I hadn’t read many thrillers because the action didn’t really appeal to me, but the psychology of the characters did. I studied psychology at university, so human nature is very interesting to me. I love writing suspense that focuses around ordinary men and women thrown into exceptional, and often disturbing, circumstances. I’ve always been drawn to the dark side of literature, but in the past I’ve been more interested in paranormal suspense. That’s something I’d like to do in the future – write some paranormal books as well as the thrillers.
If Silent Child were to be optioned as a film, which actors/actresses would you cast as the leads?
First of all I’d lift my jaw from the floor. Emily Blunt did such a fantastic job in The Girl On The Train. I think she’d be great as Emma. David Morrissey from The Walking Dead would be the perfect Jake. Tom Hardy would be amazing as Rob, and for Josie I’d have Olivia Coleman.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I’d love to say that after four years of publishing books it gets easier to read a bad review, but it doesn’t! I just remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that art is subjective, and that every single book out there has a one star review. As long as there are some good reviews in the mix, I’m happy. I try not to read them too much, but of course my eye skims over them when I’m checking my rankings.
What does your writing process look like? Are you a consistent writer? Is it more sporadic? Do you make an outline? Go with the flow? Does writing energize or exhaust you?
If there’s something on my mind, I find it hard to write, but most of the time I manage to sit down and get some words out. I do tend to outline, but sometimes I go with the flow as well. When I’m into the writing I can sit and write for hours, but it always needs a good edit afterwards because I tend to write quickly. I find writing really relaxing, but after writing more than 2-3000 words, I am quite drained. It’s definitely a mental workout!
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Oh, I’m definitely a TV addict. I’ve only just started watching Breaking Bad (I know, I lived under a rock for a while!) but it’s great. I love complex characters and good writing. Like most writers, I love any medium that involves a story, whether it’s in a book, a TV programme, a movie or a video game.