Laura Pearson’s debut novel, Missing Pieces, was published by Agora Books on 21 June 2018.
Laura kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about Missing Pieces.
It’s about what happens to an ordinary family when they suffer a terrible tragedy. Three-year-old Phoebe has died and her parents and older sister are struggling to cope. The first half deals with the immediate aftermath, and the second part is set twenty-five years later. In the second part, the ripple effects are still being felt in the Sadlers’ lives, but youngest family member Bea might just be able to start putting the pieces back together.
2. What inspired the book?
The letters from the second part of the book came first. I just started writing them; letters from a woman to her sister who died as a young child. I was interested in the idea of the older sister feeling she was to blame, and it just all came from there.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I’ve been both, to be honest! But every time I’ve tried the unplanned approach, I’ve ended up getting about thirty thousand words in and having to start again. So now I’m more of a planner, but I don’t plan everything. I always feel like if I did, it would be a bit like writing up a science experiment after you’ve done it.
4. Having been through the publishing process is there anything about the process of creating a novel that surprised you?
Not really, but I was fascinated by all of it, particularly things I knew nothing about myself, like cover design. I was lucky enough to be involved with that, and there were a few different concepts being discussed, and then suddenly one of them just went from being an image with words on to being a book cover. It was amazing.
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
Mostly reading. I have two young children so time to relax is in short supply. But I’m always reading at least two books (one on my Kindle or as a physical book, and one as an audiobook) and I read every chance I get. I’ll put my audiobook on while I’m cooking or hanging washing out and I have the Kindle app on my phone so I can read a couple of pages when I’m in a queue or waiting for appointments.
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
That’s so hard. I’m not much of a re-reader. There are so many books I want to read that I don’t like to spend too much time on ones I’ve already read. I think the book I’ve re-read the most is To Kill a Mockingbird, but I’ve read Fugitive Pieces and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close a few times each, too. I can’t decide!
7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
This is actually my first! But I have loads lined up and I bet no-one will ask about the very first story I wrote. I was about six and it featured a witch, but that’s all I can remember. I did my own illustrations. I think I told my parents around that time that I wanted to be a writer.
About the book
What if the one thing that kept you together was breaking you apart?
All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.
Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.
That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?
A devastating mistake, a lifetime of consequences. How can you repair something broken if pieces are missing?