Louise Soraya Black is the author of The Water Garden which was published by Muswell Press on 3 June 2021.
Louise kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about The Water Garden.
The Water Garden tells the story of a boy who mysteriously drowns in a Surrey lake and a housewife who becomes drawn to his troubled teenage friend. Woven into the narrative are the voices of other women in the family, including an RAF nurse based in Italy during the Second World War.
2. What inspired the book?
The seed of the story came from a news report about the drowning of a boy in an old quarry lake. I couldn’t stop thinking about this tragedy and wondering about the friend who had been with the boy and survived the accident.
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I mainly think about the story, almost obsessively, until I feel ready to begin writing. I plan a little, making notes in my notebook, but when I sit down to write I often find myself going in a different direction!
4. Is there anything about the publishing process that surprised you?
This is my second novel, so I knew what to expect. However, it has been a few years and I’d forgotten how crazy-busy it is the week of publication!
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I love spending time with my family and meeting friends for coffee. Travel used to be a big part of my life and a way to relax, but this has become near impossible due to the pandemic, so I’m traveling vicariously by reading books set overseas!
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
The Poetry Pharmacy by William Sieghart. A selection of wonderful poems to soothe life’s worries and ailments.
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?
I’ve often wondered if other authors have rituals and superstitions about their writing. I certainly do, however, given that I’ve never been asked, I may be in the minority. So, what are these rituals and superstitions? Nothing sinister, I promise!
I keep two crystals beside my computer, a beautiful amethyst which is my birthstone and a gift from my family, and a tiny quartz that one of my children found in the garden and said would bring me good luck. I’m not superstitious about crystals in general, however, these particular ones symbolise the faith that my family have in my writing, so they are precious.
I choose a new notebook for each novel. This is more of an indulgence than a ritual, perhaps, as they are beautiful leather-bound notebooks!
When I go on submission with a novel, I say a nazr. I am Iranian as well as English, and the Persian nazr is a prayer that if something good comes to pass, the supplicant will make a donation to charity. I don’t consider myself particularly religious, however, I’ve found nazr to be very effective!
About the Book
Sarah has given up her career and moved to the countryside to bring up her two young children, while her husband works long hours in London. Alone, she explores the fields and the woods near her home and discovers a lake, a memorial bench for a boy who drowned in mysterious circumstances, and Finn, a beautiful troubled teenager who plays truant from school. As Sarah pieces the mystery together, an uncomfortable attraction between her and Finn builds. She knows that this blossoming relationship is wrong but the chemistry between them is difficult to resist. Their relationship reaches a climax over one hot summer, threatening to destroy everything that she holds dear. Woven into Sarah’s story are the voices of two other women connected to her family – Maggie, the RAF nurse and Flavia, the Italian girl. As their stories unfold, a secret is revealed, binding Sarah and Finn in a way that they would never guess.