Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Roz Nay Won't Be a Secret for Long!

INGRID THOFT

A quick note before today's guest:  Our very own Jenn McKinlay just won "RT Magazine's" Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Love and Laughter for her book, "About a Dog."  Congrats, Jenn!

Back to our regularly scheduled program...

It's a thrill to welcome today's guest, Roz Nay, to the blog.  Roz is the author of the debut novel, "Our Little Secret," a book garnering awards and accolades across the globe.  Released in Canada last year and now available in the U.S., "Our Little Secret" won the Douglas Kennedy Prize for Best Foreign Thriller in France last May, and it's been nominated for the Arthur Ellis Best First Crime Novel, a national Canadian award.  Featured on "Entertainment Weekly’s" Must List, the novel also earned a rave from "The Washington Post" and starred reviews from "Library Journal" and "Booklist."


The book is a twisty, suspenseful tale of high school love and what happens to sweethearts as they grow older and embark on new lives.  It's a page-turner that will keep you guessing until the end.  

INGRID THOFT:  The seeds of "Our Little Secret” are planted in the high school romance of the two main characters, Angela and HP.  What made you decide to use that as the jumping off point for the story?

ROZ NAY:  I think because of the years I spent working as a high school English teacher. I used to watch the clever girls graduate and wonder what their lives would become. They had so much potential – everything was in front of them. It’s a powerful time. Then, in my twisted little mind, I wondered what would happen if a gifted girl ended up in a life she didn’t feel she deserved. How would she use her cleverness then?


IPT:  The book centers on the complicated relationship between Angela, HP, and his eventual wife, Saskia.  Did you prefer writing one character’s arc more than the others?  Inhabiting one character more than another?

RN:  I tried to make all the characters different – and differently flawed. HP was fun to write because he was so easygoing, and a lot of his lines are things that have come directly out of my own husband’s mouth. Saskia was fun because I wanted to make her the kind of woman to whom readers would react in really distinct ways. Some readers can’t stand her; others champion her. But ultimately, Angela’s arc was the most enjoyable to write. Hers was the first voice I heard, and that voice is the reason I wrote the novel. It all began with her. I found her kind of delicious to inhabit, which is perhaps something I should be more worried about.

IPT:  Don't be worried!  Enjoying the dark side is the hallmark of a good mystery/suspense writer!  I’ve heard from our mutual friend, Chevy Stevens, that you don’t write your scenes in order.  Can you tell us more about that?


RN:  I think with this book, I was writing scraps of scenes in total chaos, grabbing time when I could. I wrote "Our Little Secret" at a time when both my children were very young, and the writing was patch worked in among all the demands of new motherhood. I was always sure of Angela’s arc and wrote pieces of that first because she was driving the narrative. Now that I’m working on my second (and third) book, I’ve developed a more structured schedule and I tend to write more chronologically to the plot. But with "Our Little Secret" it was a gong show. It’s amazing it ever got finished.


IPT:  What has surprised you most about being a published author?

RN:  Mostly the fact that I’m a published author! That fact alone is astonishing. It’s been a big, fast year full of book adventure. I was surprised that I got to go to Paris alone for a week, which felt like an entirely different planet. These days I’m surprised every time someone stops me in the street to say they’ve liked the book. Strangers reading my work! That’s a really big deal when you think about it. And to get such a groundswell of support, too, from well-known writers (yourself and Chevy Stevens included) who want to help the book along is quite the lovely surprise.   

IPT:  Is there a wannabe book lurking in the back of your brain, something you would write if you didn’t have to consider agents, editors, and fans?  A romance?  Non-fiction?

RN:  I’d like to write a kind of Bridget Jones-y romantic comedy. I always thought if I ever got a book together, it’d be humour I wrote, but I seem to have strayed early to the dark side. I’m also quite interested in YA… I enjoyed writing the first half of "Our Little Secret" where everything was teenaged and idyllic: I wouldn’t mind spending a little more time in that world again. Mind you, Chevy Stevens is hoping I’ll write a sequel to OLS starring only HP. She has her reasons.

IPT:  I bet she does!

Roz will be here today answering your questions and is giving away two copies of "Our Little Secret."  Just comment to enter the giveaway!


"Our Little Secret"

They say you never forget your first love. What they don’t say though, is that sometimes your first love won’t forget you…

Angela Petitjean sits in a cold, dull room. The police have been interrogating her for hours, asking about Saskia Parker. She’s the wife of Angela’s high school sweetheart, HP, and the mother of his child. She has vanished. Homicide Detective J. Novak believes Angela knows what happened to Saskia. He wants the truth, and he wants it now.

But Angela has a different story to tell. It began more than a decade ago when she and HP met in high school in Cove, Vermont. She was an awkward, shy teenager. He was a popular athlete. They became friends, fell in love, and dated senior year. Everything changed when Angela went to college. When time and distance separated them. When Saskia entered the picture.

That was eight years ago. HP foolishly married a drama queen and Angela moved on with her life. Whatever marital rift caused Saskia to leave her husband has nothing to do with Angela. Nothing at all. Detective Novak needs to stop asking questions and listen to what Angela is telling him. And once he understands everything, he’ll have the truth he so desperately wants…

Roz Nay grew up in England and studied at Oxford University. She has been published in The Antigonish Review and the anthology Refuge. Roz has worked as an underwater fish counter in Africa, a snowboard videographer in Vermont, and a high school teacher in both the UK and Australia. She now lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two children. "Our Little Secret" is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @roznay1 and on Facebook.com/roznay1.

68 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Jenn . . . this is wonderful news!

    Congratulations on your book, Roz. The story sounds quite intriguing and I’m looking forward to finding out exactly what’s happened to Saskia . . . .

    I’m curious to know what you found to be the most difficult thing about writing your book and telling the story you wanted to share with readers.

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    1. Hi Joan - I think the hardest thing was figuring out what the main character would want. Initially I wrote the book with the wrong crime and the wrong victim, because I hadn't asked myself that vital question or followed the thinking through. So adjusting that was the biggest challenge.
      Thanks for asking!

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  2. Congrats to Jenn on her award.

    And congrats to Roz on the publication of her debut novel as well. Reading the synopsis in the main article sure does whet the appetite to get the whole story. Consider it added to my TBR list!

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  3. Congratulations on your first and hopefully not your last award winner. This is going on my list now.

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  4. Congratulations, Jenn, on such well-deserved recognition! You have a real gift for romantic comedy.

    And congratulations, Roz. Our Little Secret sounds like great, twisty fun. I remember a case here in Texas, many years ago, when high school sweethearts went off the rails and it led to murder. Everything seems so much more high-stakes and dramatic when you're in high school. Everything is some sort of do-or-die crisis that will never be healed and will destroy the rest of your life. I mentor high school kids, and sometimes it's a trip. I'd wish you good luck with your debut novel, but it sounds like you're already off to a roaring start, so I'll just wish you continued good luck!

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    1. A trip and exhausting! Definitely an age I only care to revisit in books!

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    2. Ditto. I've never been one who wanted to go back to high school, even knowing what I know now.

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    3. It's all so high stakes when you're 17! Also, the littlest things can throw a teenage meant-to-be off track, and that's what I was going for in this book too. Thanks for the good wishes!

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  5. I have heard so much great buzz about this book! And I cannot wait to read it. Wait… Are you saying you did not write this in chronological order Is the book progressed forward? I am trying to imagine that. Did you know what was going to happen from the start?
    And congratulations!

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    1. I think the chronology got a bit messed up with this book because I figured out during edits (once it was signed) that I'd written it with the wrong crime! And the wrong victim! Whoops... so I had parts of the book that were working, and parts that weren't. But it all got straightened out, just not necessarily in a calm and structured order :) I'm not doing that with book 2...

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    2. Hi, Roz! Now I'm dying to read the book to see if I can figure out what you changed:-) I've had to change the murderer in one book after the manuscript was finished. What a pain that was, to go back and adjust all the little cues and clues, but the book was much better for it. Can't wait to read yours!

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    3. It was like changing all the breadcrumbs in the trail! Painstaking, but yes I think the book ended up tighter and much better for it. Thanks for reading!

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    4. Yes, I completely understand..isn't it crazy/wonderful how our brains work? That you can see your story in a totally different way? I love that. And rely on it.

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  6. Congratulations! I love a good "high school romance gone wrong in adulthood" book.

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    1. Me too! This one might be just right for you :)

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  7. This sounds like a book I HAVE to read! Thanks for telling us about it, Rox... though the writing process that you describe gives me palpitations. All this pieces would give me nightmares.

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    1. Thanks a lot! Yes, it was chaos. I've learned a lot from it...

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  8. Congratulations, Roz! OUR LITTLE SECRET sounds brilliant. And many kudos for getting the writing done while your kids were little - that's enormously difficult. Thre's a reason why historically, writers have been men with wives to handle all that child-rearing work.

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    1. It continues to be a bit like spinning plates. Luckily I know which are the most important ones...
      Thanks for the encouragement

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  9. Congratulations, Jenn!

    Roz, the book sounds fabulous. The dark side is the fun side, you know. =) I've tried to write a straight romance, but my couples keep finding dead bodies.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Are you saying that's not romantic, Mary/Liz? ;)

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    2. Hahaha, yes - that sounds like a great date night!
      Thanks a lot, and I totally agree about the dark side

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    3. Well, I suppose it *could* be romantic, depending on who is on the date. ;-)

      Mary/Liz

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    4. Couples finding dead bodies? Sounds good to me. Think of Harriet and Peter on their honeymoon.

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  10. Woohoo, for Jenn! Congratulations.

    Roz, I wonder how different your writing experience is so far for your second book, compared to the first one. Do you think the shorter timeframe will affect the story?

    Our Little Secret has a great premise. Thanks for sharing the background with us!

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    1. Hi Karen, my experience with book 2 is a lot more structured! I have a dedicated writing space now and a set time to write. Definitely there's more pressure but it's going okay so far

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  11. Wow, this book sounds amazing. I'm not sure how it wasn't on my radar before now, but leave it to the Jungle Reds to make sure I don't miss anything crucial. Thank you, as always. And thanks for visiting JRW, Roz.

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    1. It's a pleasure to be here! What a great blog! Thanks for commenting

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  12. Our Little Secret sounds intriguing and unique. Congratulations and best wishes. How creative and talented you are.

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    1. Thank you! Lovely thing to say. I'm doing my best...

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  13. This novel is on my list for sure. It is a winner. I enjoyed learning about your writing and life. Congratulations.

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  14. Congrats on the new book!

    I don't know where my brain is at today, instead of seeing your name, I was trying to figure what word it was in Pig Latin. I think I should go home and read and not be among people. Yeah, that's it.

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    1. Ozray Aynay. I've done that a thousand times :) Actually it's funny, but when we were naming our son, we liked the name Tex. But Tex Nay is pretty much literally Pig Latin, so we swerved away from it...

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    2. I think "the boy not named Tex Nay" probably appreciates your restraint, Roz!

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    3. Too funny! When my cousin, Geoff, moved from Texas to New York years ago, he became known as Tex. I named a character in a book (one of the few Americans I've ever put in my English novels) "Tex" after him.

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    4. Maybe I should include a character called Tex in book 3, just as a nod to the Boy Not Named... then you guys will all get the reference!

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  15. OMG, snorting my tea here--Ozray Aynay! The book sounds like it was a hard birth, but worth the fight to get it right. Congrats on the fabulous reviews and here's to the next book or two or three!

    Also, congratulations to Jenn--what a thrill! But no surprise that you'd be great at romantic comedy--I think it's hard to do the comedy and get it right--but just reading your posts on this blog shows that you've mastered the form!

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    1. Thanks, Flora! I'm working on book 2 right now!

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  16. Wow Roz! Your book is on my TBR list. Meshing all these viewpoints and timelines is fun. How long did it take you to find a publisher?

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    1. Thanks, Pat. My first step was to try to get an agent which happened in kind of an unexpected flurry. And then from there, I got a book deal within the month. I was lucky that Our Little Secret passed the desk of the right person at the right time.

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  17. Can you tell us anything about your second book, Roz?

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    1. It's a dark tale of tangled lies :) It's about two sisters and something they went through that only they know about. And as they reunite as adults, it's about how that damage plays into their current lives, and how far they'd go to protect each other. It's also about a missing baby. And there's a hot cop love interest. Something for everyone...

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    2. A hot cop love interest? That has Chevy Stevens written all over it! ;)

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    3. Right? I'm really writing it for her.
      I'm not really.
      But let's let her think that.

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  18. Libby Dodd
    Wow! That sound intriguing. Well done!

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    1. Thanks a lot! I'm having loads of fun!

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  19. Congratulations on the Arthur Ellis nomination, Roz. This book sounds like an invitation over to the dark side for me. It's on my list now.

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  20. I have heard so many wonderful things about Our Little Secret that I can't wait to read it. I enjoyed you interview with Ingrid -- and now I've got to know what it was like to be an "underwater fish counter."

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    1. Thank you, Celia, for asking the burning question on my mind, too! Roz, do tell!

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    2. Hahaha, that was my best job ever! I worked as a volunteer for an environmental group based on Mafia Island, off the coast of Tanzania. They were trying to get the reef protected because it was being dynamite fished and all the turtles were getting blown up. I was fresh out of uni and in search of adventure. I had to live with 15 other volunteers for 6 months, living on a camp with no running water or electricity, sleeping in a big mud hut. We learned 50 species of tropical fish and literally counted them as we scuba dived. Then we turned in the proof of the dwindling fish life and... I don't know what happened after that because my time on the camp ended. I like the think the turtles made a comeback.

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    3. And I'm using the dive camp as a setting for book 3! A thriller on the beach!

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    4. Mafia Island? The title of book three if I ever heard it.

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    5. It sounds a bit Italian crime syndicate, but it's the real island so I'm using it. I'm useless at titles, by the way. I never name my books. I didn't name Our Little Secret - my fab agent did - and books 2 and 3 were signed as Untitled. It's funny: I can write a book but I can't name one.

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  21. You're killing me, Roz! I just went and bought the ebook because it sounds delicious (in a murdery macabre way as opposed to a happy eat cupcakes way) and I am on deadline!!! Must not look until manuscript is done! Ack! Seriously, congrats on all the buzz and awards - well done! And I am so looking forward to reading Our Little Secret, it is now my motivation to get this book done.

    Thanks for the shout out on the RT Award, Ingrid! All I can say is, YAY!

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    1. Yay to you, Jenn! And hang in there! You're almost at the finish line!

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    2. Congrats to YOU, Jenn! Good luck on the deadline...

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  22. Congratulations, Jenn on your RT Award! And, Roz's book sounds great. Looks like I have two books to add to my list.

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  23. Thanks, everyone, for a great live blog day! That was so fun. Ingrid, especially, a huge thanks for inviting me. Let me know who wins the giveaway copies! Happy reading, everyone x

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