Robyn Harding has quickly become one of my favourite authors...and she's from Vancouver! I read The Party last year, and the Advanced Reader Copy of Her Pretty Face in March. This new book releases on July 10th and is on my list of Most Anticipated Summer Reads, and is part of the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge with BookSparks. Her books are suspenseful, shocking and raw, grabbing the reader from the first page and not letting go until the shocking conclusion. Her Pretty Face explores reinvention, grief, and retribution, leaving you wondering if people can truly change. She has also written four works of humorous women’s fiction, a YA novel, and a comedic memoir with an environmental focus. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband, two kids, and a seven-pound, toothless dog named Ozzie. With my very first Q&A, thank you Robyn for participating!
A few questions about writing:
1) What is your writing process like?
When I start a novel, I create a loose outline. I was a screenwriter for several years and it taught me a lot about structure. I find that writing toward the next major plot point keeps me from getting lost or overwhelmed by the story. I also create character profiles before I start writing, giving them a backstory that may or may not make it into the book. Knowing the characters inside and out, really helps inform their behaviors and actions.
2) What advice do you have for writers?
Write, write, write. I recently saw David Sedaris speak, and he said he wrote for seven years before he showed anyone his work. It took him that long to be good enough! The other advice I’d offer is to enjoy writing for writing’s sake. I’m incredibly grateful to be published, but once writing becomes a business, it’s a different experience.
3) What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I love how supportive authors are of one another! I’ve made so many incredible connections to authors all over the world, mostly through social media or e-mail. I recently had dinner with Lisa Genova here in Vancouver and she inspired me to dream big and to go for it! I have regular lunches with YA writer Eileen Cook who is very smart about the business side of writing and gives great advice. And fellow thriller writers Roz Nay and Chevy Stevens have offered great insight into the genre. All these women are also hilarious!
4) I loved Her Pretty Face. What did you edit out of this book?
Thank you so much! I did a HUGE edit after the first draft. Originally, I had a documentary filmmaker following the women around, and it was he who revealed which of the women had the murderous past. My editor felt that this storyline distracted from the meat of the story, and I had to agree. It was a big re-write but it was worth it.
5) If Her Pretty Face graced the big screen, who do you see cast in the main leads? (Frances and Kate)
I’d like to see Amy Adams as Frances and Charlize Theron as Kate!
Some book-ish questions:
6) What is the first book that made you cry?
7) How has the bookstagram community impacted you?
I love the bookstagrammers I have connected with (including you)! It is such a fun and supportive environment. Every day, I learn about new books and see amazing photos. And I am in awe of how fast you all read!
8) An upcoming release you're most looking forward to?
I am so behind! I still need to read last summer’s new releases. But I’ve seen a lot of buzz about “Baby Teeth”. It sounds original and creepy-good!
Descriptions from Goodreads.
For Mystery & Thriller fans:
The Disappearing by Lori Roy
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
For Fans of Chick Lit:
When Life Gives You Lululemons
For Fans of Fiction, Feel-Good, and Romance:
How To Walk Away by Katherine
For Fans of Fiction & Sports:
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
For Fans of Psychological Thrillers:
Her Pretty Face
For Fans of Young Adult & Retellings:
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
“When you don't know what to do for yourself, do something for somebody else.” I adored this book, both deep and complex, I smiled through the entirety. It’s rare that I give a book 5 stars, especially when it’s not a psychological thriller, but I loved the message of this book: We are not our circumstances. What a great feel-good novel about overcoming adversities. “I know better than to look backward. I know how to try, and how to fail, and how to try again. I know how to live from the inside out. I know to savor every snuggle, every morning swim, every tickle, every meal, every warm bath, every moment when somebody makes you laugh. More than anything, I know that you just have to choose to make the best of things. You get one life, and it only goes forward. And there really are all kinds of happy endings”.
“We don’t fix everything, but we sure do make things better. That’s really become my whole guiding philosophy. I would never tell you that the life you wanted couldn’t have been exactly as great as you planned. But you have to live the life you have. You have to find inspiration in the struggle, and pull joy out of hardship. That’s what we try to do – counterbalance the suffering with laughter, fuzzy blankets, hugs, sing-alongs, sunny-day picnics, chocolate chip cookies, and wildflowers. Because that’s all we can do: carry the sorrow when we have to, and absolutely savor the joy we can.” For fans of 'Me Before You'.
Photographing books, one day at a time.