When you had the idea for The Long Weekend did you think it would turn out the way it did or did it change along the way?
Hi Diana, and thank you for inviting me to your blog today.
What sparked the idea for the book was a flyer that went round the local schools warning that a large silver Mercedes or BMW had been seen cruising outside schools and the driver had tried to snatch children. Everyone who does the school run knows how busy and chaotic that time of the day is, but no one really expects something like that to happen. Parents were horrified and kids were put on high alert.
What it did for me was make me wonder how something like that could happen. I thought it couldn’t happen very easily, but my thirteen year old nephew told me stories of how sometimes kids didn’t know which parent, or friend of a parent, or other parent in the school, might be picking them up.
A scenario came to my mind of how a couple of kids could be abducted terrifyingly easily as long as the circumstances were right. Child abductions happen, it’s a fact, and no matter how aware kids are of stranger-danger, they still happen, and no matter how much you preach to kids to not to talk to strangers, or get into a stranger’s car, in the right circumstances it still happens.
As soon as the scenario came to my mind, my characters arrived instantly. I started writing straight away with Sam’s voice speaking loud and clear. I didn’t need to write the book in the first person because even in the third person, Sam’s voice had a life of its own. His voice remained with me for the duration of the book. And it was still there when I wrote the Epilogue a few months after the book was finished.
When I started the book, beyond the idea and the characters, I had little more than an inkling where the book might go, how it would get there, or what my characters might go through, but as I began to write, the story flowed with Sam’s voice, he dictated the pace, the suspense, and the tone. And once begun, the story didn’t stray from its path.
By the time I got to the end of the book, I knew it was more or less exactly the way it should be, except I had stopped before writing the epilogue: Six Years Later. I wrote that last chapter several months later – after I had sat on the book for a few months and then sent it out to lots of agents. When I got my agent, the wonderful Anne Dewe at Andrew Mann Literary Agency, she suggested that it would be a good idea to go back and write a closing chapter. I’m so glad I did. The story would not have been the same without it.
Lots of people who know me have said that they didn’t think I would take the story as far as it did, or that they were surprised that I didn’t back away from the central theme sooner. Others who don’t know me at all, but who have picked up the book to read, are fearful of where it might take them, how far into Sam and Lloyd’s nightmare they’ll go. One agent even asked me to turn it into a simple kidnap story. But once I had started writing the book, I couldn’t stop, and I had to let it take me as far as it wanted to go. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, change that in a million years. It would almost have felt like a betrayal of Sam and Lloyd, and other kids like them.
-There will be 1 lucky winner.
-This giveaway is international!
-You don't have to be a follower though it's always appreciated!
-Deadline is 11:59pm February 11th Pacific time. There's a clock on the left.
-Winner will be announced the 13th and will have 48 hours to respond to my email.
All you have to do is fill out the form!