After The Lie is the story of how a teenager makes a mistake in the 1980s, then spends the next thirty years trying to keep it a secret, not even admitting the truth to her husband and children. She suffers the consequences of her small lie growing more toxic as it passes down the generations until the original secret is nowhere near as bad as the betrayal of lying to everyone for so long.
This was the first book of Kerry Fisher’s I had read and I was absolutely gripped. Kerry has such a unique writing style, refreshingly original and not a cliché in sight. It’s one of those books that feels a real treat to read. In real life Kerry is bubbly, articulate and just a little bit bonkers and I was thrilled she could spare the time for a chat.
– Kerry, I absolutely adored reading After the Lie, it’s one of those stories I wanted to carry on and on.
– Thanks, Louise. I’m thrilled to hear that because I battled with this story. I really wanted to show the difference between parenting in the 1980s and today. The 1980s weren’t so long ago but the landscape has changed so dramatically. I remember getting told off at school for saying, ‘Blimey’ whereas I’m just relieved if my teenagers steer clear of the F-word! I’m so grateful that I grew up in a pre-internet age without my mistakes being plastered all over Facebook. I’m always trying to impress on my children that anything you post on the internet is there forever but I’ve no idea if it sinks in. *Cue horrendous selfie fiasco*
– It is such a worry isn’t it, bringing children up in this digital age. I’m sure my Mum did have more to worry about than how many times I fell off my bike, or whether I’d be back in time for tea but 2016 can be a very frightening time for Mums can’t it? I both love and loathe the internet and it’s a constant worry how to keep my children safe.
– I’m actually a bit like Lydia in the book as far as the internet is concerned. I stop short of hacking into their Facebook accounts but I have a rule of no phones or iPads upstairs and all computers in the kitchen. I recently had a horrendously embarrassing conversation with the guy who came round to sort out our broadband – I asked for parental controls and he read out a list of the types of websites to block. He was about twenty-three and started to blush, which set me off and we both stood there staring at the floor, saying, ‘Porn, yep, sex, yep.’
– That’s so funny, Kerry! I can imagine Lydia from After the Lie doing the same. I found her so real that a few days after I finished your book and had a tough decision to make regarding parenting my teenage son I found myself wondering what Lydia would do and I made my decision based on what I thought her response would be. How do you develop your characters?
– All my novels are very character driven. In this book, it was Lydia’s mother who came to me first, someone controlling and obsessed about what other people think. I wanted to see what effect a mother like that would have on a daughter and what coping strategies the child would have to develop to survive her upbringing.
I tend to have a rough idea of the characters and their basic characteristics but without wishing to sound pretentious and all ‘struggling artiste’, I have to plunge into the story to see how they develop. I always keep in mind as I write the sorts of personality traits that are liable to create the most conflict – after all, no one wants to read about happy people because it’s boring!
– That’s true – I sometimes feel guilty for giving my characters such a hard time but it’s interesting to see what they’re made of.
I’m finding it a constant balancing act juggling editing my first book with writing the second, while working and raising a family. I’m sure that if it weren’t for my husband we wouldn’t eat half the time at the moment. Are you structured with your time?
– Louise, I guard my writing time quite ruthlessly – although people tend to assume that if you’re writing a novel, you can take a day off when you want, go out for lunch, meet friends for coffee, I don’t do any of that except on very rare occasions. Because I have a naughty Lab/Giant Schnauzer who assumes that I am there purely for her own convenience, I escape her by dropping my kids at school and going straight to Starbucks where I write for three hours. Then I walk the dog and try to stretch out my neck and shoulders after being hunched over a computer all morning. In the afternoon, I get on top of my life, deal with the admin side of publishing, blogs, marketing, publicity and try and get a few more words down before the children get home.
– Every moment is precious. When you wrote your first book did you ever dream you’d be published four times?
– I wasn’t sure I’d ever be published at all! I self-published my first book, The Class Ceiling, after despairing of ever finding an agent or a publisher, but that kick-started everything for me. I proved there was a market for the story and it was re-published by a traditional publishing house as The School Gate Survival Guide. I don’t take anything for granted though – editors and tastes change and what’s popular today might be old hat tomorrow. I’m just enjoying the moment – it’s a real privilege to have my books reach readers and I still feel an absolute thrill when readers take the time to write a review or contact me to say how much they’ve enjoyed one of my books.
– It’s been so lovely to chat, Kerry. Thanks so much for your time.
– Thank you for inviting me onto your blog!