Sitting Down With Robyn Harding: Author of The Party @SimonSchusterCA

Earlier this summer, I read The Party a novel written by Canadian author, Robyn Harding. I was completely blown away by this novel (if you missed it, my review is here). From the eloquent story telling to the intricate prose, I found this read completely unputdownable; it was not the traditional thriller that I am often drawn to but I found it completely unputdownable and quickly gave it a 5-star review!

Today, I am so excited to have Robyn Harding on Clues and Reviews answering my questions about the book, the writing process, and some serious Canadian business….oh, and there may or may not be a giveaway opportunity!!

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If you could tell your readers three things about The Party, what would they be?

  1. While The Party is often marketed as a thriller, it is not typical of the genre. There is a lot of drama, a lot of tension, but there is no detective, no smoking gun, no dead body. There is, however, a lot of blood.

  2. You will probably not like these characters. Personally, I love books with unlikable characters; as long as they hold my interest, I don’t have to like them. But some readers need a hero to root for, and they may not find one in this book.

  3. Don’t hate these people, pity them! These characters are superficial, selfish and vindictive, but they are also miserable. They’ve lost touch with what really matters: love, connection, compassion . . .. Sadly, I think their mindset is quite common in today’s society.

 If you were to cast The Party for a movie, which actors/actresses would you cast?

The Party has been optioned for film (sorry Robyn, I have to butt in here- WOO HOO!), so my fingers are crossed! I would cast Robin Wright as uptight, helicopter mom, Kim Sanders (a seriously perfect choice, I think!). Kim’s daughter, Hannah, is the good girl trying to go bad. I think Elle Fanning would do a good job, and would be believable as Robin Wright’s kid. Lisa Monroe, the new-agey but fierce single mom would be Chloe Sevigny. Her daughter, accident victim, Ronni, could be played by Odeya Rush. For mean girl, Lauren Ross, I’d cast Kiernan Shipka (aka Sally Draper from Mad Men). The object of her obsession (and Kim’s husband), Jeff Sanders, should be played by someone surly and masculine like Ben Affleck or maybe Liev Shreiber.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I think ALL authors read their reviews (even if they don’t admit it). When I first published, this was the aspect I was least prepared for. It simply never occurred to me that, after pouring my heart and soul into my novel, some people were going to hate all over it. It can be very hurtful and depressing, but it’s part of the deal. When you put yourself out there, creatively, you make yourself vulnerable. I try to find validation in positive responses from readers, booksellers, and reviewers who understand and appreciate the story. (Editors and agents do a good job of pumping authors up, too.) And I truly love writing, so this is a price I am willing to pay.  

You are sort of a jack-of-all-trades writer; you have written chick lit, a young adult novel, a darker contemporary fiction piece and a comedic memoir.  What are you currently working on?  It is something completely different?

For now, at least, I am sticking with my current genre. I’m wrapping up a new manuscript that is inspired by notorious Canadian serial killer, Karla Homolka. She has served her time, and is now a married mother of three, living in a new community. I’m exploring themes of retribution, redemption, and forgiveness. And I’m confronting some hard questions: Can people really change? Do they deserve a second chance? And can you ever outrun your past? And this book has a dead body!   

**Clues and Reviews note:  for any non-Canadian readers who do not know about Karla Homolka,  her story is crazy intense.  It is absolutely worth the research.  I seriously cannot wait for this book!! 

What does a typical day look like for you?  Do you write every day?  Take a more sporadic approach? 

I write every day. I am most creative in the mornings, so even on weekends, I usually write for a couple of hours. When I get up, I grab a coffee and head for my laptop. I don’t shower or get dressed until I’ve made some progress. But I think it is valuable to step away, if you can, to gain some perspective. If a deadline allows, I will leave a project for a week or two and then go back to it with fresh eyes. Plot holes and missteps become so glaringly obvious.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I like to read! When I am writing, I don’t let myself read much because I don’t want to muddy the voice in my head. My TBR pile is stacking up! As soon as I’m done this manuscript, I want to take a reading break. (I also enjoy movies, hiking, and travelling.)

You live in British Columbia.  As a Canadian blogger, this question is crucial.  What is your Tim Horton’s order?  (Mine is a French Vanilla with a double chocolate donut)

Will I get kicked out of the country if I admit that I never go to Tim Horton’s? I grew up in a small town that didn’t have a Tim Horton’s. When I moved for college, there was one just down the street. I can directly attribute their Bavarian cream donuts for my freshman fifteen. I now stay away.  

Thanks so much Robyn for taking the time to answer my questions! It was a pleasure having you!

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Since Robyn Harding is basically amazing, she has generously offered a SIGNED HARDCOPY to one lucky North American reader!  Head on over to my Instagram page for information on how to enter!


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