Dawn Goodwin talks about her debut novel, The Accident, and reveals the best thing about being a writer.
1. Can you tell us more about your book, The Accident?
The Accident is a dark story about friendship, betrayal and love. It tells the story of Veronica Pullman, who is struggling to come to terms with the death of her daughter. Isolated by grief from her friends and her husband, she meets Scarlet, who helps her to realise that there is life after death. However, someone doesn’t want her to start living her life again and is tormenting Veronica, pushing her to the edge – but who?
2. What is your favourite part or scene from The Accident?
I particularly love all of the interactions between Scarlet and Veronica as they are all about living in the moment, but the scene that has always been special to me is the first time Veronica sees Scarlet in the street, dancing in the rain. That image in my head was the starting point of the whole idea behind the book. I wanted to know who Scarlet was and where she had come from. The rest of the narrative grew from there.
3. Where did you get the inspiration for the characters of Veronica and Scarlet?
Veronica and Scarlet are loosely based on some of the friends and acquaintances I have crossed paths with over the years, particularly on the school run every day. I wanted the lead characters to be polar opposites, but to have a common bond regardless as a way of exploring why we choose certain people to be our friends and how many of our friendships are based on habit and obligation. Veronica is a woman who settled down early, had a family and surrendered her own ambitions for her husband and child, but she could’ve been someone very different had she have made different choices, which is an interesting concept in itself.
4. Was there a particular part of the novel that was really difficult to write for you?
The confrontation between Tom and Veronica was incredibly difficult to write. I have two daughters and trying to capture in words the notion of losing them and having to face up to a life without them was very challenging and emotional, especially as it’s not something a parent wants to have to think about.
5. Do you listen to music when writing? And if so, what kind of music inspires you?
I prefer to write in silence for the most part so that I can hear the characters’ voices clearly in my head, but if I do listen to anything (usually when I am writing a challenging or emotional scene), I will fit the music to the plot.
6. Who are some of your favourite authors at the moment?
My all-time favourite author is Stephen King. I read It when I was 13 and it terrified me, but it’s the first book I can remember not wanting to put down. I have since read everything he has written. I am equally a fan of J.K. Rowling and will read anything she writes. I have a varied reading taste in general – from YA to thrillers, sci-fi to crime. I will certainly be keeping my eyes open for more books from some of the debuts I have read recently, such as Jane Harper, Jessica Jarlvi and Ali Land. I’m currently reading Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.
7. Who is your favourite fictional hero or heroine?
A difficult question as I’ve read so many books involving brilliant, plausible, inspirational heroes and heroines. When I was younger, Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird resonated with me for her intelligence, determination and eagerness to see the good in people. I have a weakness for a flawed hero and I like to see them fail before they succeed.
8. What is the best thing about being a writer?
To me, it is the freedom to live vicariously through my imagination. I can be whoever I want to be and behave as scandalously as possible. Equally, I’d like to think that I may have moved someone, whether to tears, anger or joy, or provided readers with half an hour of escapism from their everyday lives.
9. What is the worst thing about being a writer?
I don’t know if there is a “worst thing”. It is what I have always wanted to do and although it is a solitary existence, with much of my time spent toiling away on my own, it is my interactions with other people that bring my stories to life with realistic characters. The worst thing for me at the moment is that I can’t spend all of my time writing, but have to balance writing with my other day job, which can get very stressful.
10. What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my second novel to be published by Aria, which is due out in 2018, and I have an idea brewing for another novel after that, which is currently skirting around my consciousness and taking on a rough form on scraps of paper and notes.
A tragic accident, an unbearable loss and a marriage in crisis – but who can she trust or is she all alone?
Veronica Pullman’s comfortable suburban life comes to a shuddering halt when her young daughter, Grace, tragically dies in a car accident. Months later, unable to come to terms with her daughter’s death, detached from her husband and alienated from her friends and family, a chance encounter on a rainy street pushes her into an unlikely new friendship.
Scarlet is everything Veronica could’ve been: feisty, adventurous, unpredictable. But as she approaches what would have been Grace’s 10th birthday, it becomes clear to Veronica that the friendship she thought was saving her life could be costing her everything.
Consumed by grief and left questioning her own sanity, is there anyone she can really trust or is someone out to torment her as part of their twisted game?
Dawn Goodwin’s career has spanned PR, advertising and publishing. Now, she loves to write about the personalities hiding behind the masks, whether beautiful or ugly. Married, she lives in London with her two daughters and a British bulldog called Geoffrey.