Would you reveal a secret that might solve a murder but would ruin your life?
A married woman is with her
lover in a secluded place by the river when she sees
a man run past. She comes
to believe that the man has been involved in a crime.
Should she go to the police and risk exposing her
affair and destroying two families?
My elder daughter
had just started college when I was planning the
book, and that was one of the experiences
that shaped my story. It's a moment of huge significance,
when your child properly enters the adult world -
but there's nothing to mark it. I wondered what might
at this point in her life to a woman whose marriage
has been held together by the shared project of child-rearing
- how it might force her to acknowledge the fragility
of that relationship.
I also wanted to write more generally about midlife
and the kinds of things that preoccupy me and my friends
who are at this life stage: waking in the night and
thinking about death; a sense that somehow things haven't
turned out quite the way you'd planned. And I wanted
to explore a kind of love affair that I suspect is
quite common when women are in their forties - a love
affair that's perhaps less romantic and more intensely
physical than when women are younger: and that's very
secret, because both people are determined not to change
anything in their lives. What happens if the lovers
in such a relationship are faced with exposure, and
everything starts to unravel?
Another inspiration was the landscape near where I
live. My house is on a banal suburban street, but nearby
there's the river Thames, and beside it a narrow belt
of wild ground. It's a contradictory landscape - beautiful,
but rather sinister: you rapidly start feeling uneasy
if you're alone there. I liked this as a setting for
a love story: I wanted Ginnie and Will to enter a separate
world, a territory that's quite apart from their everyday
lives, and where the normal rules don't apply.
Published by Mira, UK, January 2011