While every book needs the big idea, that thread that can be picked out until a whole story unravels, I was inspired by multiple themes when writing The Home. A psychological thriller, my second novel is about a young woman called Angela who was abandoned when she was just a few days old to a children’s home in London. When wealthy couple James and Rosemary come to choose a child to adopt, Angela is desperate to escape. However, the scars of childhood remain and when Angela’s search for her birth mother Evelyn is successful, their reunion brings its own problems. Set in the 1970s and ‘80s, the book is about motherhood, raising children, marriage, deceit, violence, and betrayal. Here’s a look at how some of these themes inspired my writing process.
There was a series of scandals in the UK concerning children’s home before the Children Act of 1989. I started doing some research about the reported events in children’s homes during the ‘60s and ‘70s, much of which only came to light many years later. It’s incredibly disturbing that such events could have happened in places which are supposed to protect children and I struggled to understand how such horrifying things could happen.
It’s strange that a joyful event such as the arrival of children could reveal such dark thoughts. But it’s true. Like many new mothers, during the day, I used to be in a state of constant vigilance as I watched over my new-born, while at night I had half-baked nightmares about the unspeakable. On the flip side, I also remember the profound sense of joy and happiness as I held my son and the primal urge to protect was overwhelming. While it’s been a few years now, I still remember the double-edged maelstrom of emotion of those new-born days and it’s been a powerful influence in my writing for both The Home and my first novel, The Good Mother.
Women in the Workplace
The main character in The Home, Angela, is ambitious and career driven and the 1980s were an interesting time for such women. On the one hand, Margaret Thatcher was a powerful example of what could be achieved, but on the other hand, sexism was very much present. And while it continues to be a problem today, back then, there wasn’t the same sort of awareness. During the research process for The Home, I interviewed many women who were working during this decade in London and I have tried to reflect some of their experiences in The Home.
The Home was published on 4th September 2018. I would love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to get in touch!
*This post was originally created for Nayu's Reading Corner Blog