Anyway, before I hand it over to Jody, I just wanted to thank her for finding the time in her super busy schedule (she works as Foreign Desk Editor and Video Producer at the BBC [!]) to write this! Do you sleep?! Also, quick thank you to Ellie at Canelo for asking if I wanted to be involved in this tour!
If you want to say hi to Jody on Twitter, pop over to @jsabral and tweet away!
Now, over to you, Jody! (Note: Sorry for the shortness of my blog post. Will explain in the next few weeks! But real life is getting busy!)
The Business of Writing Unreliable Narrators
Alex South is as unreliable as they come. She lives in a constant state of denial and lies perpetually, but she’s a TV reporter whose business is the truth. It’s an absolute contradiction. This was my starting point for tackling how to write an unreliable narrator. I’m not sure I cracked it, but I had a good go trying. She’s a disaster zone in her personal life, and not doing too well in her professional life either, but somehow she manages to pull it off at the last minute, always treading a fine line between success and failure. Don’t we all know someone like that?
She’s not someone you’re going to like much. You may likely think that the only thing she does better than drink is lie, but such is the life of a high-functioning alcoholic. The web of lies one can create around oneself is plausible and convincing. It’s why as a reader you become incredibly frustrated with her. But the only person she is truly lying to is herself – the denial. She is aware that she has a drink problem, but she also thinks she has it under control - lie number one! Rule number one of AA is to admit you have no control over alcohol.
I wanted to write a book that would start a positive conversation about alcoholism among young adults, after having been personally affected by it. The frustration you may feel as a reader is how it feels to care about someone in this state of mind. It’s an immersive experience. In my thriller, the alcoholic is the story. I feel it’s still very much the elephant in the room and it really shouldn’t be, knowing now just how many people are impacted by it every day. It was a hard write, how do you write a character in denial? Yet get that across to the reader?
The voice in Alex’s head is repetitive but authentic. It influences every decision she makes which leads the reader to question everything she does. It makes for an unreliable narrator of the most intimate kind. She’s not an empathetic person. You may not like her, but you will understand her. She sums up themes that many modern career-driven women face, isolation from family, running out of time to have a child, that false sense of success and how it can be measured in the age of the Internet. Even her dating antics call her judgement into question. It’s a chicken and egg scenario.
She seemingly takes risks that no one would ever dream of taking, but this is a comment on just how easy it is to connect with complete strangers in this day and age. Is she a danger to herself or to others? You’ll have to read I NEVER LIE to find out. Some of the reviews have questioned the title of the book, but it’s quite simple, Alex South never lies or at least that’s what she tells herself, so deep is her own delusion. She’s not the most reliable of people out there, yet she delivers in her professional life. Scary or what? Read it for yourself and decide.