I am delighted that author, Kelly Rimmer, could join me for a chat about her new release, When I Lost You, celery sticks, and how characters take over. Over to you, Kelly:
The Fun Stuff:
What part of the world do you come from?
I live in rural New South Wales, on the eastern side of Australia
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer! Nailed it 😉
List three words to describe yourself.
Lover of coffee
Who would play you in a film about your life?
Tina Fey. She doesn’t look a thing like me, but I think her many years as Liz Lemon proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is well able to portray an awkward writer. Also I’d really love to meet her!!
What’s your favourite snack food when writing?
Carrots and celery sticks! You don’t believe me, do you? Okay, fine – it’s coffee with handfuls of small sugar-loaded things so I can shovel into my mouth with one hand while I type with the other.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
I’d definitely like to have the power to make people care
The Sensible Side:
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I’ve been writing stories since I learned to read. And when I’m not writing, I’m usually with my family (my husband and our 2 wonderful children) and my fur-baby, Sully the black lab.
Where did the inspiration for When I Lost You come from?
I’ve read so many books where two people from polar opposite backgrounds meet and fall in love and suddenly all of their differences disappear. Real life is a little messier than that! I wanted to explore both the heady rush of falling in love, and what happens once the romance fades and real-life kicks in – because that’s when all of the differences start to matter.
Do you find it hard to write such emotional novels?
I don’t set out to write emotional novels – it just kind of happens. I try to write like I’m just telling a story to a friend, and of course, when you’re sitting around talking with a friend you can be really vulnerable in how you share. I think the emotion in my stories comes from the reader rather than me figuring out any clever way to configure words – if you can tell a story in a genuine, open way – the reader will draw on their own experience in how they interpret it, and that’s where the emotion comes from. It’s the ultimate form of empathy for readers to ‘walk a mile’ in a character’s shoes.
But having said that – I really did set out with this story intending to write something a bit more light-hearted – the characters just had other ideas!!
How do you carry out your research?
I love to research – I often pick up a book or an article to read looking for one nugget of information and the next thing I know I’ve wasted three days!
Can you give us a brief excerpt from your latest novel?
Sure! Here is an excerpt from When I Lost You. It’s a scene early in the book, and Molly is speaking. She’s married to Leo, who has just woken from a coma and has no memory of her – in fact, when he first woke, he was more than a little suspicious of this near-stranger standing at his bedside!
Leo glances towards me and our eyes meet and lock. I have invested countless hours of my life staring into these beautiful brown eyes. I remember vividly the feeling of being close to lost in them when we first started going out – the sensation of sinking and drowning and feeling blissfully content to go to some other place with and through him. Leo’s eyes have seen the world in a way that I could never have even imagined before I met him, and in all of the perfect moments of those intimate stares, he shared some of that with me.
This is not one of those moments, in fact, those moments have disappeared altogether from our lives over this past year. I can’t even remember the last time we really looked at each other – these days, our eye contact has been reduced to passing glances and disdainful glares. Seeing the openness and curiosity in Leo’s eyes, I am sorely tempted to pretend even to myself that everything is just as it always was, even just for a moment. This thought is followed immediately by guilt, as if I’m using Leo while he’s vulnerable – taking advantage of him even just in the way I’m looking at him. I drag my eyes to the floor before I greet him.
‘Hello, Molly,’ he says quietly. We fall silent as Alda pushes the little bed-table over Leo’s lap and then she flashes me a smile as she leaves the room. Then I am alone with my husband and there is no denying it – I am too nervous to even think straight and I have no idea what to do next. I stand but immediately regret it because I don’t want to move towards the bed and make him feel even more uncomfortable. After a moment of leaning forward as if I might approach him, then hesitating and stepping back, I settle on standing stiffly with my hands clenched in fists by my thighs. I will wait for Leo to make the first move.
‘I’m really sorry,’ he says suddenly. ‘About before. Was that earlier today, or was it yesterday?’
‘It was a few hours ago. And please, you don’t need to apologise, really.’ I trip over my words in my haste to console him. ‘You don’t remember anything at all about us?’ He shakes his head. ‘That must have been bewildering for you.’
‘It’s still bewildering,’ he says quietly. I can hear the uncertainty in his voice – he’s still not convinced that we are telling him the truth. I walk to the small table beside his bed and withdraw my handbag, then reach inside for my passport which I flip open and sit it on the blanket beside his thigh.
‘See? Molly Torrington-Stephens.’ I show him the text beside the obligatorily bad photo, then I raise the fingers of my left hand towards him to draw attention to my rings. ‘And this, as I’m sure you remember, was your grandmother’s engagement ring. You had a new stone set in it because the old one was cracked, but the design will be familiar.’
He silently stares at the rings on my left hand. We have never talked about it, because Leo does not cry and he does not talk about crying – but I am sure I saw tears in his eyes when he slid this band onto my finger at our wedding. We made each other happy, at least that day. It was the kind of happiness that grows bigger than a person or a couple and swamps everyone there to witness it. It was the best day of my life.
In spite of everything that came after, the idea that the memories of who we were together might be lost to him forever is unbearable. We were good to each other – good for each other – at least for a time. I lift my eyes to his face and find him staring at the passport again, his expression unreadable.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m absolutely enthralled with the family-drama I’m writing at the moment. Sometimes it takes a while for me to really get a clear vision for the story I need to tell but this next book came to me like a bolt from the blue. I can’t wait to share it!!!
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Thanks so much for letting me stop by your blog Shelley!! I really appreciate it and enjoyed answering these questions!! J xo (My pleasure, Kelly x)