Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she?
As she prepares for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. But when she receives an anonymous package—a familiar snow globe with a very grisly addition—that happiness is abruptly threatened by secrets from her past.
Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. But Rachel was no angel: she was vicious and highly disturbed, and she made Catherine’s life a misery. Catherine has spent years trying to forget her dead sister’s cruel tricks. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe—the first in a series of ominous messages…
While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. But who? And why now? The only alternative is what she fears most.
Is Rachel still alive?
I would like to thank the writer of Forget Her Name Jane Holland for taking the time to write a guest post.
Also my thanks to Rachel Gilbey for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
Growing Up in a Family of Writers
Most of the writers I meet are first-generation writers. Their parents did other things than writing, and the decision to become a writer came out of left field. Often I hear how they struggled for years against the secret fear that they were ‘frauds’ and felt they needed permission to write.
I’m the polar opposite of that situation. I grew up with the understanding that not only was writing a normal activity, but that women, in particular, were successful writers. My mother was a bestselling novelist whose romance and suspense fiction sold millions. My father was chief sub-editor on the Times when I was at primary school, and later became a classical biographer, writing about the lives of the Roman emperors. My elder sister was also a prolific novelist during my teens.
In our household, it was forbidden to disturb anyone writing. That was a given. In her heyday, my mother wrote all day long, though almost never in the evenings. Later, she wrote most mornings, then watched televisions in the afternoons, and retreated to her room to read during the evenings, being a prolific reader.
We were all prolific readers, in fact. The house was crammed with books, most rooms shelved, often with double rows on each shelf.
And nothing was censored. I was a late reader, not learning until I was eight, but then read whatever I wanted from an eclectic range of grown-up prose, plays and poetry. We were all major film and television buffs too, loving everything from Hollywood to Fawlty Towers to foreign films with subtitles. I was hooked on film in my teens, and would get up at 6am to watch epics like Lawrence of Arabia before school. Again and again, learning all the lines. To me, story was story, in whatever form it came, and I loved story.
Oddly though, I didn’t become a novelist until my thirties. I became a poet and literary critic instead. But all those years I was secretly writing fiction too. I often wonder how I shifted from that literary poet to someone who now makes a living from popular fiction. Because my novels are not poetic. Far from it. My prose is simple and straightforward, though hopefully not unsubtle. I want everyone who picks them up to take pleasure from them, not just a handful of educated readers.
All the same, I like to think poetry made me leaner as a writer, less prone to waffle, more aware of word selection – ‘le mot juste’ that poetry relies on. Then there’s the importance of sentence structure rhythms, the need to keep a reader on their toes, to lull, distract or seduce them into a particular mood. Some of my earlier novels (I wrote six historicals as Victoria Lamb) were quite wordy, full of artful sentences and long paragraphs. While it’s true to say that every novel requires a tailored narrative approach, my style evolves with every novel, and I love that continual learning experience. If the day ever came when I didn’t stop every few lines to rejig a sentence or change a word, or ponder where to break a paragraph for best effect, I would probably give up writing out of sheer boredom.
I’m sure my mother, who sadly passed away in 2000, felt the same. And though she only read a few of my novels, and only one that was actually published, I’m sure she would have reassured me on the style front. I read her diaries frequently, where she discusses the writing process and her own struggles with it, and we chime on most matters. Although I could never hope to compete either with her global sales or her incredible output – roughly 170 novels written over thirty years – it’s a comfort to read a phrase like ‘wasn’t able to write a word today’ and know that a few days after that lament, she was back on track, knocking out five thousand words in a few hours. There’s hope for me yet.
Of my own five kids, only my youngest is a writer. I encourage her every day!
Author Jane Holland
Jane Holland is a Gregory Award–winning poet and novelist who also writes commercial fiction under the pseudonyms Victoria Lamb, Elizabeth Moss, Beth Good and Hannah Coates. Her debut thriller, Girl Number One, hit #1 in the UK Kindle Store in December 2015. Jane lives with her husband and young family near the North Cornwall/Devon border. A homeschooler, her hobbies include photography and growing her own vegetables.