An Interview With… Karen Osman

#Blogtober DAY 9

Karen Osman has written two books which I have previously reviewed on the blog, and loved!  I am really pleased that she has begun writing her next book, find out more in this interview with her, courtesy of Aria, her publishers.

thehome2

Tell us more about your latest book, The Home.

My second novel, The Home, is a psychological thriller, set between the 1970s and 1980s, about successful career woman Angela whose memories of an abusive children’s home affect her adult life. The book delves into the darkness of living in a children’s home, casting a shadow over family ties and what it means to belong. Abandoned as a baby, Angela is desperate to escape her supposed refuge, yet despite being adoptedand taken into the hearts of a wealthy couple, the scars of her childhood remain. When Angela discovers the identity of her birth mother Evelyn, their reunion is no fairy tale and as sinister events start to unfold, Evelyn fears she may not survive her daughter’s return.

How did you come up with the plot of the book?

As a mother of two young sons, 2 and 4, I still remember that double-edged maelstrom of emotion of those new-born days – a mix of joy and worry – and it’s been a powerful influence in my writing for my new book, The Home.  At the same time, I was researching about the horrors of children’s homes in the ’60s and ’70s, much of which only came to light many years later. It’s incredibly disturbing that such events could have happened in places which are supposed to protect children. From here, I started to develop the outline of a plot and the character of Angela was born.

Can you tell us more about the characters of Angela and Evelyn?

Angela is ambitious and career driven and the 1980s were an interesting time for women.  On the one hand, Margaret Thatcher was a powerful example of what could be achieved by women, but on the other hand, sexism was very much present. The hardworking personality of Angela is the polar opposite of Evelyn who is content to rely on government support and often plays the role of the victim, abstaining from as much responsibility as she can get away with.

Can you describe The Home in three adjectives?

Chilling, dark, surprising.

What comes to you first – the setting, the characters or some aspect of the story?

When I plan a new book, I usually focus on coming up with the big idea of the plot first. From here, the characters, and the setting follow. I’m a bit of a planner when it comes to novel writing and I try and outline as much of the book as possible. This includes character development, chapter outlines, and narrative arcs. Of course, you can’t plan out everything and I do get a lot of ideas as I’m writing and I enjoy that surprising element of the process.

What is your favourite and least favourite thing about writing?

My favourite part of writing is creating the first and last chapters. These are usually the most exciting for me. I also really love building the narrative. My least favourite part is all the re-reads that are required to make sure the book is as good as it can be!

When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?

I have always written in some form or another from a very young age. I loved it and it was, and continues to be, a daily part of my life – even on holidays! From a professional perspective, I would say probably in 2011 when I set up my writing business, Travel Ink, in 2011 which provides content services for the travel and tourism industry. I started writing novels in 2016, when I won the Montegrappa Writing Prize for The Good Mother, which then led to a three-book deal.

What is a great book you’ve read recently that you would recommend?

The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn was fantastic. I’ve also just finished Annabel Kantaria’s new book I Know You.

What are you working on next?

I’ve already started writing my third novel, The Perfect Lie, about a lawyer who is representing a young woman who has been raped. As the case develops, the lawyer is reminded of a past she would rather forget and her perfect life starts to unravel.

Hope you enjoyed reading a little more about Karen Osman.  You can check out my reviews of her first two books at the links below.

The Good Mother

The Home

Who are some of your favourite authors?  Let me know in the comments below!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

Blog Tour Book Review with Aria Fiction – The Good Mother by Karen Osman

The Good Mother was sent to me by Aria Fiction prior to it’s release in return for a review.  All thoughts on the book are my own and not influenced by them in any way.

The Good Mother by Karen Osman

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The Blurb

How far would you go to protect your children?

A gripping psychological suspense, with a shocking twist that will leave you reeling…

Catherine is a good mother and a good wife. The family home is immaculate, her husband’s supper is cooked on time, but when she starts writing to Michael, a prisoner convicted of murder, she finds herself obsessing about his crime and whether he can ever truly be forgiven…

Kate has no time for herself. Caught in the maelstrom of bringing up two young children with no money, and an out of work husband, she longs to escape the drudgery of being a wife and a mother. And she soon starts taking dangerous risks to feel alive…

Alison has flown the nest. But university life is not what she had hoped for, and she finds herself alone and unhappy. Until the day her professor takes a sudden interest in her. Then everything changes…

Three women – all with secrets. And as the days tick down to Michael’s release, those secrets can no longer be ignored.

Review

The cover of this book wouldn’t necessarily draw me in, but as I started to read the blurb I was immediately interested.  My mind began swimming with questions.  Who were these women?  How were they connected?  When I was approved an early copy of the book in return for a review I was delighted and started reading straight away.  It was one of those books I found difficult to put down and I stayed up until gone midnight on the last night to finish it off!

The first three chapters introduce you to three women, Catherine, Alison and Kate in turn.  There is no suggestion they are connected and you don’t know how they are, if indeed that is the case.  The sheer fact they are all featured in the story makes you start to draw your own conclusions, which I found rapidly changing throughout the entire book.  The plot deepens and thickens and really kept me guessing until the end.  The light bulb moment at the end of the story was totally worth it!

I found myself really drawn to the character of Kate but I liked all three women.  Kate is a mum to two young children.  She is slightly disillusioned with life after ‘losing’ herself since getting married and becoming a mother.  These feelings are very commonplace and fresh in my mind.  She embarks on a writing course, leading her into a potentially dangerous relationship with her tutor.  I also could identify with the feelings Alison had towards her university professor.  As a young girl, being blinded to the ‘real world’ and falling under the spell of your first love is a feeling I remember well.  Especially when the person is a handsome, older, worldly wise and successful man.  I least identified with Catherine although the arguments she has with herself about forgiveness are interesting and thought provoking.

As I have already said, this is a real ‘can’t put downer’ in my opinion.  I found it really easy and enjoyable to read and could not wait to see what was going to happen to each of the women.  The ending does not disappoint after all the gripping build up, the twists and turns as I tried to guess what was going to happen.  Highly recommended by me, especially for fans of psychological thrillers, you will not be disappointed!

The Characters

Catherine – “Dear Micheal, my name is Catherine and I am a volunteer with the charity Friends of Inmate Rehabilitation.  I hope things are as well as can be.  When I was asked to correspond with you as part of the charity’s effort to help prisoners, I was initially apprehensive.  However, I reminded myself that we have a duty to help those less fortunate than ourselves”

Alison – He was quiet in that silent but thoughtful, studious sort of way.  Not Alison’s normal type, that was for sure (did she even have a type, Alison thought to herself) and certainly a lot older, maybe between thirty five and forty years old she guessed, which to her eighteen years seemed ancient.  But her law lecturer, or The Professor, as she had fondly nicknamed him, the Americanism referring to his Hollywood good looks – was in a different league altogether”

Kate – “She sighed.  No one had told her it would be this hard.  Well, she corrected herself, they had, but she hadn’t listened.  It wasn’t just the physical demands of running around after the children, the emotional energy needed was overwhelming. Love, guilt, worry, happiness, stress and fear made for a tumultuous cocktail of emotions, which saturated her days, and infiltrated her nights.  She loved her children deeply – she would take a bullet for them – but she felt constantly depleted and rushed, with no time to replenish”

Book Club Question – If you could invite one character over to your house for dinner, who would it be and why?

I would have to choose Kate.  As a fellow Mummy, I definitely understand her feelings of exhaustion and not being enough.  I would want to get her to put her feet up with a glass of wine for a little while, remind her of all the things she was doing a great job with and serve her some delicious food she didn’t have to cook herself!

The Author – Karen Osman

Originally from the UK, Karen won the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Montegrappa Novel Writing Award 2016 with her crime-thriller novel and now has a three-book deal with Head of Zeus. When she’s not writing novels, Karen is busy bringing up her two young children and running her communication business Travel Ink.

Website: https://www.karenosman.com/

Twitter: @KarenAuthor

Links To Buy

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hllmdI

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2wL90xt

iBooks: http://apple.co/2wLlV2e

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2wauh47

aria

The Publisher – Aria Fiction

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

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