Lisa Ballantyne – Q&A

Today I’m pleased to welcome Lisa Ballantyne to the blog. Lisa’s book Redemption Road was published on 16 July 2015 by Piatkus. Lisa kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions.

1.    Tell us a little about Redemption Road.

My second novel is a little like a fable or a fairy-tale, with big symbols, heroes and villains, but it is also an investigation into the mechanism of memory and how the past impacts on the present. It is a novel about fathers and daughters and asks if we really can escape our pasts.

2.    What inspired the book?

When I first began to work on REDEMPTION ROAD, I was interested in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The first scene of the book – involving the car crash and the strange saviour – came to me quite quickly and I knew that the burned man who rescues Margaret would be the key to her past. In writing the 1980s scenes, I knew I wanted to write about a man who steals his daughter and for the journey they took to be a redemptive one, spanning the whole country. I wanted the relationship between father and daughter to gradually soften as the road trip progresses, from one of captor and captive, to one of genuine affection and love. 

3.    Your first novel was The Guilty One. Did the publication process surprise you in any way?

Everything about the strange new world of publishing surprised me, and I am continuing to learn about it, but am grateful to be able to experience this great new adventure.

4.    Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?

Most novels take me about a year. I always start with character – just imagine my main characters and who they are. I believe that characters give heart and soul to books (and films for that matter) and truly understanding a person or character helps me to understand what motivates them to act… and that is the basis of plot. If I understand the people in my book, then they will take me where I want to go. So I am not a plan, plan, planer, but I feel my way through it.

5.    What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

I always seem to be very busy running around the place, and look forward to writing as my escape from real life, but I also enjoy running, playing guitar, gardening and going to concerts. For real relaxation and getting away from it all, I love to actually get away. I adore travelling and there is no greater thrill than setting foot somewhere I have never been before.

6.    If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?

Definitely, the atheist’s bible, Being and Nothingness by Jean Paul Sartre… it is wonderfully dense yet inspiring and I feel it could keep me busy if I was restricted to only one book.

7.    I like to end my Q&A’s with the same question so here we go. What question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

Most writers prefer the role of observer to observed, and I am one of those. Writing is an act of questioning and finding answers and I suppose that is where I feel most comfortable… However, I am really grateful for your interest, and am delighted to be a part of your blog.

Thanks very much for answering my questions and for appearing on my blog.

About the Book:


“The second novel by the international bestselling author of The Guilty One

The crash is the unravelling of Margaret Holloway. Trapped inside a car about to explode, she is rescued by a scarred stranger who then disappears. Margaret remembers little, but she’s spent her life remembering little – her childhood is full of holes and forgotten memories. Now she has a burning desire to discover who she is and why her life has been shrouded in secrets. What really happened to her when she was a child? Could it have anything to do with the mysterious man who saved her life?

Flitting effortlessly between past and present, this is a suspenseful, gritty and emotionally charged journey of an estranged father and daughter, exploring the strength of family ties and our huge capacity for forgiveness.

‘An emotionally compelling tale of old sins and lingering ghosts’ Chris Brookmyre”

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Louise says:

    Looks fabulous. I have a copy on my Kindle ready to read – maybe it should go up the list.


    1. janetemson says:

      I still have a copy to read too! Hope you enjoy it when you get round to it 🙂


  2. A stunning follow up to The Guilty One which I also enjoyed. Loved the interview too.


    1. janetemson says:

      Thanks. I’ve still to read both of those. I need to get more reading done!


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