Shari Low talks about her new novel, One Day in December.
1. Can you tell us more about your novel, One Day in December?
It’s the story of four lives, from early morning until late at night, on a cold winter day in December. Caro travels to Glasgow to find out if her father has been living a double life with another family for the last thirty years. Cammy has decided to propose to his girlfriend, Lila. Unfortunately he doesn’t realise that Lila is also having relationship with a married man, and she’s decided that today will be the day she reveals their affair his wife. And that wife? Well, that’s Bernie, and she has finally plucked up the courage to leave the husband she has hated for decades. Four people all start out the day with a life-changing plan and then we see what happens – hour by hour – as the drama unfolds.
2. How did you come up with the idea for this novel?
Over the years I’ve learned that nothing in life ever, EVER goes to plan! Sometimes I’m thrilled when an outcome is wildly better than expected, sometimes I’m devastated when an unexpected twist comes out of the blue and wrecks a vision for the future. Either way though, I live in hope and (some) confidence that it’ll all work out for the best, that we’ll walk away from those who hurt us, find the people we’re supposed to love, and live the life we’re meant to have. That was the starting point for this story.
3. If you have to pick one favourite character from the book, who would it be and why?
Josie! Always Josie. This is the fourth novel that has featured the straight-talking, irreverent, raucous, seventy-year-old who looks like the elderly love child of Billy Idol and Annie Lennox. She always plays a small but hilarious role – this time she’s desperately trying to talk Cammy out of proposing to Lila because she can’t stand her. I adore Josie’s brutal honesty – and I love her even more because she’s based on someone I loved very much but who is no longer with us.
4. Was there a particular part of the novel that was really difficult to write for you?
Without giving away any secrets, there’s a loss in the book that made me cry buckets when I was writing it. I’ll never get used to the idea that people we love can be taken away from us, sometimes when we least expect it. On the flip side, I had a great time writing all the funny scenes and those that oozed outrageous, back-stabbing duplicity – especially the moments that came with a twist of justice.
5. Who would you want to play Caro, Lila, Cammy, and Bernadette in a film adaptation of One Day in December?
I love this question! If it were true to its Scottish setting, I’d love to see Karen Gillan, Georgia King, Sam Heughan, and Ashley Jensen in the roles. However, if it were made in the USA, then Emma Roberts, Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth and Laura Linney would be a spectacular cast.
6. Do you have a set daily writing routine?
I don’t – it depends on my sons’ schedules, my deadlines for various projects (I also write newspaper columns) and whatever surprise, disaster or chaos has befallen us on any particular day. However, it invariably involves late nights, little sleep, moments of panic, and fingers flying across the keyboard until it comes close to dawn and I’ve emptied the biscuit cupboard.
7. Who are your favourite authors?
I have too many to mention! But I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Jackie Collins, whose scandalous tomes I adored as a teenager. One of my greatest treasures is a photo of her, many years later, reading one of my books.
8. What is one thing about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I got engaged to my husband a week after I met him – and we’re still together twenty five years later. Oh, and One Day In December is my 18th published novel and when I sit down to write every new one, it still feels like I’m doing it for the first time.
9. When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I knew from my childhood as a book-obsessed kid that I wanted to be a writer, but life got in the way and I didn’t give it a try until I was thirty. Thankfully, I got a book deal on the basis of the first 10 000 words I ever wrote. I’ll never stop being grateful.
10. Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the future?
On the writing front, I’ve just agreed to write four more novels for the wonderful team at Aria so I’ll be working on those for the next few years. Also on the horizon – and I’m beyond excited about this – is a non-fiction collection of the columns and features I’ve written about motherhood over the years. It’s called Because I Said So and will be released in February 2018. Other than that, well, I’ll just hope for the best and see how the drama unfolds.
By the stroke of midnight, a heart would be broken, a cruel truth revealed, a devastating secret shared, and a love betrayed. Four lives would be changed forever, One Day in December.
One morning in December…
Caro set off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father had been based on a lifetime of lies.
Lila decided today would be the day that she told her lover’s wife of their secret affair.
Cammy was on the way to pick up the ring for the surprise proposal to the woman he loved.
And Bernadette vowed that this was the day she would walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years and never look back.
One day, four lives on a collision course with destiny…
Shari Low lives in Glasgow and writes a weekly opinion column and Book Club page for a well-known newspaper. She is married to a very laid-back guy and has two athletic teenage sons, who think she’s fairly embarrassing, except when they need a lift.