I enjoyed the structure of the opening, the layers of stories. How did that manifest itself? Was that a conscious decision to do with format or something you explored while writing it?
The formatting of the opening was a decision. I wanted to launch the story with a scene from the present, and at the same time introduce the two characters from the past who are essential to the story. Tracing Kate’s thoughts as she looks at the old photograph developed as a way to do this that I hoped would catch the interest of the reader.
Kate and Shawn’s dialog seemed real, in that their needs and meanings were buried under pleasantries and what appeared to be affection. What are your thoughts on the feelings in stories that are left unsaid?
When characters leave things unsaid, and the reader is able to sense the inner conflicts, it creates tension that can add to the story. In couple relationships, the intensity of feelings can often be unbalanced, with one more devoted than the other. This balance is often in flux, shifting over time or in response to life events. It is something I like to explore in my fiction.
Kate is an engaging but incredibly normal protagonist. She didn’t have grand dreams, and has chosen stability to fill in a lack rather than add to her joy. What about her did you find interesting?
Kate is young and her dreams could still be developing. But at the time of the story, she is occupied with fears of motherhood and the perception that her love for her new husband is not fully returned. I found her interesting because she does not automatically embrace the popular culture ideas of pregnancy and motherhood as both exalted and natural. She resists becoming a mother until the moment she cannot resist falling in love with her own child.
Kate’s lack of maternal feelings reminded me of fears many women have of motherhood, of being transformed into something they don’t want to be. Why that choice for your protagonist?
I have always been fascinated by the way parenthood can transform people. I considered presenting Kate as a happy and excited expectant mother, as is more commonly the case, but I decided it would be more interesting to explore the opposite mindset, a struggle I once observed in a close friend.
Ghosts in fiction are often symbolic of memories or trauma of an individual or the writer. Here they are used as a means of time travel. How did the use of this idea come to fruition?
I enjoy real life stories of hauntings, and I happen to believe in ghosts, but I would agree that in many cases there is another explanation. The idea for this story developed after I had read about a real-life incident of infant abduction that had left the police baffled by the lack of clues, as if the child had vanished into thin air. I started to speculate on the idea of a time-traveling kidnapper.
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