Q&A with Roz Nay, Author of Hurry Home

by Heather Caliendo
roz nay - interview - book club chat
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Roz Nay is the author of Hurry Home, which will publish on July 7.

Roz Nay’s debut novel, Our Little Secret, was a national bestseller, won the Douglas Kennedy Prize for best foreign thriller in France, and was nominated for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Mystery and the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award. Roz has lived and worked in Africa, Australia, the US, and the UK. She now lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two children.

Here’s the synopsis for Hurry Home:

Close to my heart you’ll be, sisters forever you and me...

Alexandra Van Ness has the perfect life. She lives in an idyllic resort town tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, shares a designer loft with her handsome boyfriend, Chase, and has her dream job working in child protection. Every day, Alex goes above and beyond to save children at risk.

But when her long-lost sister, Ruth, unexpectedly shows up at her door, Alex’s perfect life is upended. Growing up, Ruth was always the troublemaker, pulling Alex into her messes, and this time will be no different. Still, Alex will help Ruth under one condition: we will never, ever, talk about the past. But when trouble befalls a local child, both women are forced to confront the secrets they’ve promised to keep buried.

Utterly engrossing and claustrophobic, Hurry Home is a tantalizing reflection of the chain-and-shackles relationship between sisters that asks: what lines wouldn’t you cross for your own?

Get to know Roz where she talks favorite novels, story inspirations and much more! 

What are some of your favorite novels?

I’m a huge Margaret Atwood fan, and just devoured The Testaments. I think she’s a genius. For all-time favorite books, I have a list of about twenty or so, but here are three: Atonement by Ian McEwan, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

As a Mother’s Day gift in 2013, my husband signed me up for a local creative writing course, because he knew I liked words and wanted me to have something that was ‘just for me’. Good husband! As soon as I started that course, I lit up and haven’t stopped writing since. I think I’ve always kept notes through my days, though—which is kind of a writerly habit. I noted gestures, mannerisms, scraps of overheard dialogue, images I’d seen and liked as I traveled. Perhaps I was always gearing up to write a book, but it took that writing course to give me the push and the confidence.

Where do you draw your story inspirations from?

I like the notion of everyday people getting in relatable, everyday muddles. Because I write psychological thrillers, I tend to think of the scariest thing imaginable that could happen to any of us, and try to write that. It’s a strange compulsion 🙂 But I’m interested in the underbelly, the darker possibilities, the grit and the grime. I’ve been lucky in my life, which makes it easier to explore how wrong things can go.  I’d find it harder to write from a place of trauma, I think. I do find, too, that I draw inspiration from the adventures I’ve had: the thriller I’m working on right now is set in Africa on a dive camp, which is something I did in real life when I was twenty.

What do you like best about writing thrillers?

I like that I can take normal characters and put them under extreme—but realistic—pressure, and then see how badly they behave. Thrillers, also, allow me to promote my philosophy that everyone’s hiding something (I really think that) and to create pure creepiness on the page. That’s pretty fun.

What do you think are some of the key elements required in a well-crafted story?

Good thrillers need good twists, the kind that readers carry in their pockets unknowingly the whole way through the story. As a writer, it’s hard to do: Readers are savvy and difficult to outpace 🙂 but the best thrillers have them, in my opinion. Well-crafted stories also need great villains, ones with unique voices or points-of-view. Excellent examples of compelling villains that I’ve read recently are Then She Was Gone (Lisa Jewell), Don’t Look For Me (Wendy Walker) and My Lovely Wife (Samantha Downing).

What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list? 

I’ve just finished Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky (I love her Jackson Brodie series) and have been lucky enough to read advanced copies of Little Secrets (Jennifer Hillier) and The Swap (Robyn Harding), both of which are excellent. Next up is My Dark Vanessa (Kate Elizabeth Russell) and Necessary People (Anna Pitoniak) which I’m really excited about. The TBR pile is a glorious thing!

Click here to order Hurry Home on Amazon.

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