Please welcome Laurie Petrou to Book Reviews & More by Kathy.
1. Strong, female protagonists are incredibly popular right now. Are there any characters who you drew your inspiration from when writing Hattie and Penny?
A: They just kept developing and becoming their own people. In that way, they didn’t start out based on any particular people from life or fiction. That said, I’ve always been drawn to fictional family relationships from the time I obsessed over Salinger’s Glass family in high school.
2. You’ve said you never actually set out to write suspense. How did Sister of Mine evolve into a fast-paced thriller?
A: In order for the sisters’ relationship to be put to a test, there needed to be tension, the stakes needed to be raised. This ratchetting up of the tension and adding a twist came from the advice of others (best friend included) who read earlier versions. This served to push Penny and Hattie’s characteristics and personalities to their limits, and then the plot and how the characters responded began to echo off of each other.
3. Who or what shaped your love of writing?
A: My parents are both voracious readers, as is my brother Michael and bestie Nicole. I have always read, which is like laying the necessary groundwork for writing. I had wonderful teachers in high school who encouraged creative writing. Writer’s Craft was one of my favourite classes; I remember feeling such a thrill working on my ‘homework’ for that course.
4. What’s your preferred method of murder when it comes to your characters?
A: Not having had much death in my writing, I will say that I tend more towards hand-crafted plots and weaponry rather than firearms or bombs. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing. I don’t know anyone who owns a gun, so that’s never my go-to.
5. Success means something different for everyone. What does literary success look like to you?
A: Like a moving target. For so long, it meant publication. And that is a goal I am thrilled to have achieved, and that does feel like success. But success is also hearing from readers, book clubs, librarians, and friends. It’s knowing that I have a work in progress to return to every morning. It’s the privilege of having a job that allows for writing to even be a part of my life. Success is a shark that needs to keep moving or it dies (I often wonder if that is even true about sharks, and while I know I could easily Google it to find out, I prefer to just wonder).
6. What’s next for you?
A: I am writing this from a coffee shop, where I am about to continue working on my current work in progress. I’ll tell you this: strong characters who happen to be women; tension; a twist. And I love it.
Title: Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 304 pages
For fans of Sarah Pinborough and Liane Moriarty comes a taut domestic suspense about the lies we tell to hold our lives together.
Sisters, like secrets, are best kept close.
Penny and Hattie, orphaned sisters in a small town, are best friends, bound together to the point of knots. But Penny, at the mercy of her brutal husband, is desperate for a fresh start. Willing to do anything for her older sister, Hattie agrees to help. A match is struck and a fire burns Penny’s marriage to the ground. With her husband gone, Penny is free, and the sisters, it seems, get away with murder. But freedom comes at a cost.
More than a year after the fire, a charming young man comes to town. Hattie and Penny quickly bring him into the fold and into their hearts but their love for him threatens the delicate balance. Soon long-held resentments, sibling rivalry, and debts unpaid boil over, and the bonds of sisterhood begin to snap. As one little lie grows into the next, the sisters’ secrets will unravel, eroding their lives until only a single, horrible truth remains: You owe me.
A compelling novel of suspense from a talented new voice, Sister of Mine asks us to consider the bonds of family, what it takes to commit the unthinkable, and how far you’ll go to protect the ones you love.
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Laurie Petrou is an author, professor, PhD, and a drinker of tea. Most of my adventures take place inside books. I am, I think, part Hobbit: I love my books, my armchair, my garden… but I am not at all stealth (was once described as a Clydesdale for the way I clomp around the house). My 2nd book, Sister of Mine, won the inaugural Half the World Award, and was released in Canada in April, 2018 with HarperCollins and in August 2018 with Crooked Lane Books.