Author: Jane Fallon
Publisher: Micheal Joseph, Penguin
Publication date: 27th March, £7,99
Paperback: 448 pages
Why did I choose to read this book? I was invited on the Blog Tour by the PR team at FMcM so I jumped aboard – toot toot.
Jane Fallon’s Official Writing Tips:
1. Keep writing. It’s all too easy to keep going back over a passage to perfect it. It’ll mean you never move on. Write a first draft quickly (I say quickly, mine take 8 or 9 months!) without stopping to edit too much. I guarantee you will have found your style by the end and then you can go back and rewrite and polish from the start.
2. It’s great to chat through ideas sometimes but try to not invite too much input as you’re writing the first draft. It’ll only confuse you. Novels need a bit of tunnel vision. Essentially your book is different because it’s written by you. If you start putting in all your friends’ suggestions it will lose that uniqueness.
3. They say write about what you know for a reason. It will give your book depth and authenticity. That doesn’t mean you must have gone through the same things as your heroines or heroes but you should understand the world they move in. If you have your characters work in a field you’re familiar with or live in a town you know well you will be able to add little details and bits of colour that will help create a believable world for your book.
4. If you struggle with naturalistic dialogue then tape a conversation between you and your friends one night without telling them. When you listen back you’ll notice how no one speaks in perfectly structured sentences. We stop half way through a sentence. We change thought out of nowhere. We abbreviate. It’s unlikely that when speaking to a friend we’d say ‘I do not’. We say ‘I don’t” Say your dialogue out loud (when there’s no one else around obviously!) and listen to how it sounds.
5. On a similar note think about the use of names. It’s very rare that people use each other’s names all the time when they’re chatting. It’s generally only if we’re telling someone off or trying to make a point. If you’re worried that if the characters don’t refer to each other by name all the time then the reader won’t be able to keep up with who’s saying what there’s something more fundamentally wrong with how you’ve written the conversation.
6. Most importantly of all write. Anything and everything. Every day. It’s a skill and it needs to be practiced. The more you write the better you’ll be.
Since she was a little girl Jen always wanted a big, happy family. So when she married Jason and into the Masterson clan she got exactly what she wanted, then when two daughters followed everything was perfect and that’s how it remained for twenty-two years. Then one lunch time Jess witnesses something that she was never meant to and a crack forms on the surface of her perfect life, a secret that will slowly but surely seep its way into every corner of her world and destroy everyone and everything in it. But if she keeps this secret to herself, how long can she keep up the pretence to those closest to her? How long can she live a lie
Jen Masterson knows the truth – but is she ready for the consequences?
Jen Masterson to begin with is not my favourite female she’s quite a needy wet lettuce however, it’s stick with her because she develops into someone that you can not only identify with and I personally end up extremely peeved on her behalf.
The Masterson clan come across as one big huggable team with Amelia and Charles in the middle. However, this idealised nuclear family is quickly put under the microscope and the overbearing, exclusive nature becomes apparent. By the end of the journey they represent a freaky twilight zone family who have unhealthily closed ranks without dealing with their issues. As an ‘outsider’ Jen is the perfect witness to this entire transformation and it must be noted Jason, Jen’s husband, needs to grow a backbone and some balls.
As peripheral characters I really loved Elaine, Jen’s mother, I found her story really heartfelt and their relationship flourishes beautifully on the side lines. Further to Elaine, Jen’s colleagues at the hotel are light relief in the guise of ‘my wife says’ Neil and flirty guest Sean.
A slight disappointment within the story was the underdeveloped role of Cass, whose reason for being is the catalyst for all future events. We are offered glimmers of her as a person but I would have preferred for her to have come further onto centre stage – but perhaps this was because she was the bomb that Jen detonated and the focus was on the fallout.
Although not my usual genre, this was a really interesting read exploring the differences in families and their responses to a crisis and how to deal with secrets. The lesson I’ve learned is stop at 4 glasses of wine if you’re harbouring someone else’s secret!
Next stop on the Skeletons blog tour is Novel Kicks – all aboard!
Skeletons by Jane Fallon is published by Michael Joseph /Penguin £7.99