Cece Chats with Robyn Harding author of the Just Released domestic thriller, the perfect family. On sale August 10th
Cece Chats with Robyn Harding author of the Just Released domestic thriller, the perfect family. On sale August 10th.
Written by Cece M. Scott
“I like to peek in peoples’ windows when I am walking by. I often wish that I could go into their house for just three minutes to see what their lives are like. That is what’s fun about being a writer – you get to live other peoples’ lives.” – Robyn Harding
One of the joys of reading, (and you know I can list a million of them right here, right now, right?) is discovering new authors. Cracking the spine on the book of a new author is, for me, akin to the delight of running into the steamy Costa Rican Pacific Ocean at the exact same time that Toronto is in the midst of a blinding snowstorm.
Just as important, however, is the seismic anticipation of blocking off a summer weekend in order to rush through the latest domestic thriller from one of your favourite authors.
Helloooo Robyn Harding, #1 National Best Selling author of the swap, 2020; the arrangement, 2019; her pretty face, 2018; the party, 2017, to name but a few. (All published by Simon & Schuster Inc.).
And today, August 10th, Robyn’s new book, the perfect family, is on sale at your favourite independent book stores and mass retailers.
Quick interesting aside. Many of Robyn’s book titles are set in lower case, a reader’s first hint that the author’s addictive page-turners are so good that the book jackets have merely to hint that Robyn Harding wrote the book and the reader knows that a new and twisted saga breathlessly awaits them.
Growing up in the small town of Quesnel, in the interior of British Columbia, Robyn moved to Vancouver after her schooling to pursue a career in journalism.
“Writing was always a passion for me, so my first thought was to go into journalism,” Robyn says. “But I didn’t have the fortitude to be a hard-hitting reporter, one that had to deal with crime and tragedy; I am far too sensitive for that.”
And so, she went into advertising.
While on maternity leave, however, Robyn decided to try her hand at writing fiction, getting up well before her kids to write in the early morning light.
In 2003, Robyn sent her first novel, The Journal of Mortifying Moments, a humourous tome on dating disasters, off to both a publisher and an agent. On that same day, she secured both the agent- who is still with her today- and an offer from a London, England publisher.
After writing six or seven more novels, “I can never remember exactly how many,” Robyn branched out to writing screenplays for six years, an industry she describes as a “hard hard business.”
Her 2015 movie, The Steps, gave Robyn a taste of what the glamourous movie life is all about.
“The movie was at TIFF and it also went to the Miami Film Festival. I got to walk the red carpet – it was so cool – not that anyone knew who I was,” Robyn says with a laugh. “I learned so much about writing and the business and the collaboration. But once it was done, I felt compelled to examine what I wanted to do next. I realized that what I wanted most was to write novels. It made me realize what I love about writing books.”
Describing herself as an introvert who is happy to be home writing, Robyn decided to reinvent herself as a domestic thriller writer, a genre that has seen her achieve national bestselling status on an ongoing basis.
“I was reading a lot of dark fiction, a lot of thrillers, and so I thought I would try something different instead of my old chick lit novels. I wrote the party and sold it to Simon & Schuster on the first go-round in 2017. It was my first domestic thriller,” Robyn says.
Want to meet Rik Emmett, singer, songwriter and guitarist for the popular 70’s and 80’s band Triumph, whose hit tunes include Lay It On The Line, Hold On, and I Live For The Weekend? Spanning five gold & platinum decades in the music biz, Triumph is in the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame, the Music Industry Hall of Fame, to name but a few.
Don’t miss Cece’s chat with Rik as he shares the backdrop around his new book of poems called REINVENTION, which is coming out mid-September. Sign up for Cece’s newsletters and Hot New Book releases here.
It is playing with readers’ expectations and keeping them guessing and on their toes, basically getting behind and underneath the motivations of why people do terrible things, that resonates in Robyn’s writing. Her characters are brilliantly developed to the point that you become a ‘part of’ within the different scenarios. Hers are not stories dusted with ghosts and witches, but rather, novels that play with the psychological demons that reside within her characters- and quite possibly, her readers.
“I write down the backstories of my characters, the things that inform them. There is a little aspect of something that is in me or someone I know in every character, although it is not recognizable,” Robyn says with a laugh.
When asked which of her characters she has the most fun with, Robyn states it is Low, the young woman protagonist in the swap.
“I do like to include a young point of view in my novels,” Robyn says. “I have a lot of fun when a girl isn’t fitting in or is having issues with her parents and her peers.”
The women in Robyn’s novels tend to be strong and resilient, with a sharp wit, but also a propensity to be on the periphery of some kind of personal and social crisis. Ideas for new stories are cryptically saved in one liner files by Robyn, which she accesses as she begins a new novel. Robyn has written about couple swapping and sugar babies, (young women dating older men for money), and in her new book, the perfect family, she writes about a perfect family that has the kind of shiny curb appeal that most everyone tries to emulate.
“When I hear something and it makes me go tingle tingle, I want to delve into the idea, study it, and figure out how I can turn it into a real mess for the characters,” Robyn says laughingly. “In my new book, we have a family, [the Adlers], that are perfect on the outside, but dark and problematic on the inside. The Adlers care about their curb appeal – how successful they are, how good they look, what they drive – but they are crumbling on the inside.”
Read Cece’s review of the perfect family here:
The inspiration for the perfect family came from an incident that actually happened in Robyn’s neighbourhood.
“We were being harassed by a group of teens during the night, who seemed to be targeting specific households. Of course, my head started asking questions like, ‘Why us?’ We never did get to the bottom of it. But the feeling of vulnerability made it feel even worse than it was. These kids are not making good life choices and it didn’t feel like there was anything we could do about it. So of course I had to take the situation and turn it into something much darker, much more sinister – I don’t think anyone in my family has the same dark secrets as the Adlers,” Robyn says.
Back in the day, the big family question when I’d roll home at 3:30 in the morning, was always, ‘What will the neighbours think?’
So what do your neighbours think about your perfect family?
Or, have they seen evidence that is au contraire?
Pick up the perfect family at your fav book retailer- or local library – and when you’re finished the read, message me at email@example.com and let me know who you think is the real culprit.
SPECIAL BOOK CLUB FREE VIRTUAL EVENT
Katherine Ashenburg, whose new novel, Her Turn, is receiving kudos and acclaim from both readers as well as major publications, will be sharing her experiences around the writing of both Her Turn and The Mourner’s Dance, a book that examines mourning and the grieving customs within different cultures, (a journey inspired by the death of her daughter’s fiancée), on August 26th, at 2 p.m. with Creative Aging Books & Ideas host Jen Tindall and myself.
Cece chats with Katherine here: Cece chats with Katherine Ashenburg author of Her Turn (cecescott.com)
“Time doesn’t heal; grieving does,” Katherine’s daughter told her mother at the time.
To register for the August 26th Book Club email me.
Genevieve Graham, author of 12 books, including her new historical fiction book, Letters across the Sea, will be chatting with Cece on August 24th. Make sure to sign up HERE – to stay up to date on the best-of-the-best books and authors.
Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications and is an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at cecescott.com. Her first book, The Love Story, was published in 2019. Her second book will be coming out in the spring of 2021.
Cece is also working on a book of Daily Reflections for Auto Immune Condition Warriors.
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