Why did you choose for your character to have a back story that took place in India?
I borrowed a little from real life here. My own father was born in India and, like Audrey, I grew up with tales of life in Bombay, and I think those stories, told to me over dinners as a young child, really stuck in my head. India was always this parallel universe in my head; a place I longed to go.
My father left India when he was four years old and yes, you guessed it, he sailed to England on an ocean liner. I have a faded picture of him on board the ship and I’m fascinated by what it must have been like to make that voyage from balmy India to cold, grey England. In The Disappearance, Audrey could easily have made the trip to Bombay by aeroplane but I wanted her desire to go on a cruise for her 70th birthday to be rooted in her history – so this cathartic sea journey was born.
The decision to base Audrey’s past in India was also quite selfish as it meant I got to spend a lot of time reading about life in India in the ‘60s and ‘70s, which didn’t feel like work at all. Writing those sections of the book was very enjoyable – one morning I Googled how to say a couple of words in Hindi and then spent a whole morning completing an online language lesson!
My daily word count dropped noticeably as I spent hours poring over old photographs and accounts of life in Bombay in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and losing myself in accounts of what the sea voyage would have been like. I’d do that all morning and find it really hard to get my head back into 2015 when it was time to go and pick up the children from school!
Title: The Disappearance
Published: 21st April 2016
Publisher: Mira Ink
Audrey Bailey will never forget the moment she met Ralph Templeton in the sweltering heat of a Bombay café. Her lonely life over, she was soon married with two small children. But things in the Templeton household were never quite what they seemed.Now approaching 70, and increasingly a burden on the children she’s always felt distanced from, Audrey plans a once-in-a-lifetime cruise around the Greek isles. Forcing twins Lexi and John along for the ride, the Templetons set sail as a party of three – but only two will return.On the night of her birthday, Audrey goes missing…hours after she breaks the news that the twins stand to inherit a fortune after her death. As the search of the ship widens, so does the list of suspects – and with dark clues emerging about Audrey’s early life, the twins begin to question if they can even trust one another.
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