Today I am delighted to have a Q&A with the lovely Teresa Driscoll whose latest book, Last Kiss Goodnight is published today. To find out my thoughts on this wonderful book, click here.
Many thanks for joining me today Teresa. Your new book Last Kiss Goodnight is a wonderful book. Where did the whole idea for the storyline come from?
It’s lovely to be here, Sarah and I am so glad you enjoyed the book. The idea for Last Kiss Goodnight grew out of an image that has haunted me for years. When I was a television reporter for Thames TV news, I was sent one day to cover a campaign launch opposite the House of Commons. There was a group of women releasing balloons and I was told each one represented a child who could not be found. The reasons for the estrangements were varied but all the mothers’ stories were heart-breaking. I have never forgotten watching those balloons and the theme of lost children grew from there.
I will admit I did find myself in tears a few times whilst reading your book. Did you find yourself getting quite emotional whilst writing it?
Yes! I often get emotional both writing and editing my books. That’s because I write about recovery and deliberately choose strong themes. It’s not that I want to upset anyone but I do want my characters to connect deeply with readers so I take it as a compliment when that happens. I think I choose emotional stories because I worked for many years as a journalist and saw a lot of bad things happen to good people. It upset me but it also meant I bore witness to extraordinary courage. So I like now to shine a light on themes where people have no choice but to face up to what life throws at them. And I like to champion courage and recovery. The strength of the human spirit and the healing power of love. I do find it hard as a writer when my characters are in the shadows but I love to watch them walk back out into the sunshine. I know this sounds crazy but I always feel really proud of them!
Kate and Martha are wonderful characters, did you base them on anyone?
Thank you, Sarah. My characters come from my imagination and I am always a little embarrassed to admit how the whole process happens. I always start with a theme for a book. The emotional landscape definitely comes first. Then I just wait for the characters to step forward. It is as if I can picture them and they then stand at my shoulder as I write. I realise that makes me sound a little odd, but that is how it is with me. It honestly feels as if I am an observer – watching the characters and listening to them – rather than creating them.
You have also written for newspapers, magazines and television. Did you find having this experience helped you with writing your own books?
Definitely. I loved my career as a journalist and it taught me so much about life and about people. It also taught me the discipline of writing every single day which is essential.
Who are some of your favourite authors that you enjoy reading?
Oh my goodness, I love so many authors! In terms of the classics, I am a huge fan of Hardy, Austen and George Eliot. My list of favourite contemporary authors is very long, constantly changing and includes Anne Tyler, Kate Atkinson, Anita Brookner, Maggie O’Farrell and Patrick Gale. I was also blown away by Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
What are you currently reading?
I have just started A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. I like to mix up what I read. Like so many people I have been enjoying a lot of thrillers and suspense novels lately so am ready for a change. Kate Atkinson is always wonderful.
What’s your favourite T.V show at the moment?
I am completely in love with Happy Valley. Sarah Lancaster is astonishing. Such a terrific actress and so versatile. The writing is wonderful too.
Thanks again Teresa for joining me today. Lastly we would love to know if you’re working on anything new and can you tell us a bit about it?
I am working on two new books at the moment which is not ideal and not something I would recommend! I really need to decide which to finish first and put the other manuscript aside for later. The problem is I love them both so I need to have a chat with my agent and sort myself out. I’m afraid I can’t talk about the plots at the moment but let’s just say there is a very nice crowd of terrific characters grouped around my writing desk at the moment. I just need to gently persuade one set to wait in the wings while I deal with the other.
Thank you so much for inviting me, Sarah.
To purchase a copy of Last Kiss Goodnight please click here.
Teresa Driscoll is a journalist and author with 25 years’ experience across newspapers, magazines and television. After training as a newspaper reporter, she joined Thames TV for five years before 15 years as the anchor of the BBC’s south west regional TV news programme Spotlight.
Teresa blogs regularly about her “writing life” at her website – http://www.teresadriscoll.com. She lives in glorious Devon with her husband and two sons