Maybe the worst thing hadn’t happened yet. You couldn’t know the awful things lined up in the future, looming.
The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.
Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour the latest novel by Moira Forsyth, Tell Me Where You Are, but also sharing a special guest post from the author herself. But first lets chat a little more about Tell Me Where You Are.
For thirteen years Frances has raised her two boys alone after her husband, Alec left her for her sister. For Frances, that’s in the past, she’s moved on and has a full life with her two (now grown) boys, her job as a headteacher and a new man. Old feelings are reawakened though when Alec calls out of the blue to say that Susan, the sister he left her for, has disappeared. Susan has also left behind her daughter, Kate and he asks for Frances to care for her whilst he tries to find out what happened to Susan.
Family life can be complicated and history can weigh heavy for all involved. Susan is almost like a ghost for most of the book. We catch glimpses of her through the memory of others and she hovers in the background throughout. Yet there are many skeletons in the closet of this family and Moira draws them out gradually, with a sensitive hand as you progress through the novel. As the old saying goes ‘you can’t choose your family’ but you can choose whether to have them in your lives and some things are just too hard to forgive. Aren’t they?
Tell Me Where You Are is a gentle, family saga that proves that family life can be filled with deceit and heartbreak but also filled with love and hope.
About the author
Moira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay
and David’s Sisters
, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well
Guest Post from Moira Forsyth
THE BEST JOB FOR A WRITER by Moira Forsyth
The Orkney based writer Duncan Maclean once told me that the best job he’d ever had was as a caretaker. Not much to do and no creative thought required, so plenty of time to think about writing, and indeed to write. My best job was as a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in a small town. If nobody was born, got married or died, and my minimal paperwork was up to date, I had nothing to do. I wrote a whole novel in the fifteen months I was in that job.
Now I’m an editor, a job many people might imagine is ideal for a writer. Lots of
practice in editing – my own work must be perfect!
I’ve certainly learned a huge amount about writing through editing. I’m much harder on myself as I redraft, refine and polish. Editing is crucial: the best novels are as tight as a good short story – not a word wasted or superfluous.
As a creative writing tutor, as fiction editor for a literary magazine, and since 2002 as
Editorial Director of Sandstone Press, I’ve been assessing, supporting and editing other writers’ work for nearly twenty-five years. It’s only since Sandstone became established and recognised as a literary publisher that I’ve been doing this almost full time, without another ‘day job’ too. The focus of my working life is other people’s writing.
On a daily basis I assess authors’ ideas and the quality of their writing. This makes
you think hard about what constitutes ‘good writing’ or a ‘good novel’. Once we’ve accepted a text, my aim is to help the author make it as excellent as it possibly can be. Close discussion and exchange of edited versions of the novel are particularly helpful for debut authors, but it’s also a process to which I submit my own work when it goes out to my trusted readers and then my editor. I bear this in mind when I speak to any author about changing their work – it’s not easy to have someone else tell you what’s wrong! Editing means keeping an open mind: you can’t just impose your own views, though I’d not be doing my job if I let something go that was weakening a book.
I’m not sorry I have a job in addition to being a writer. Writers who do nothing else
are at risk of losing touch with the kind of life everyone else lives, so that they end up writing about writers – a subject of limited interest. However, I can’t pretend it’s easy to keep going when I’m dealing daily with other people’s work, when there are meetings and emails, book fairs and launches, staff to support and blurbs to write; when there are designers, agents, and many others to communicate with, with whom it’s essential to build good relationships.
If your head is full of someone else’s novel, you can’t write your own. It’s not finding
time to write that’s difficult, it’s having a dreaming space in your mind for the slow, organic growth of characters and narrative. Despite these constraints, I know I have to start thinking about the next one. In that uneasy space between novels, getting anxious about how Tell Me Where You Are will be received, I feel a bit lost.
However committed I am as an editor, having no work of my own on the go means something is missing that is still, after all these years, important and necessary.
Link to the book: https://sandstonepress.com/books/tell-me-where-you-are-1
Tell Me Where You Are is published by Sandstone Press on 15 May 2019 at £7.99 in