Lisa Timoney – Q&A

Lisa Timoney is the author of His Secret Wife and Her Daughter’s Secret. Her latest novel, Her Mother’s Lies, was published by Avon on 19 January 2023.

Lisa kindly answered a few of my questions.

1.Tell us a little about Her Mother’s Lies.  

It’s a family drama with the tag line: You can run from a lie, but you can’t hide from the truth. 

Bonnie has been running from her tragic past for too long. She decides to face up to it, so leaves her husband, her business and her home and sets up in a place where she doesn’t know a soul. 

She takes a part-time job at a storage facility run by Alice, (who has secrets of her own) and her daughter Laura. 

When the three women’s lives collide, the truth comes out and changes everything. 

2. What inspired the book?

It was a conversation with my friend, Jane. She’d been keeping her late father’s possessions in a storage facility and was trying to face up to letting them go. We talked about why people keep things and began to imagine scenarios where people kept lock-ups for all kinds of fascinating and sometimes devastating reasons.  

Who’d have thought storage facilities were places of great emotional significance? You’ll never look at a BIG Yellow Storage sign the same way, will you? 

There’s also a much more personal aspect to the book, but it would be a spoiler to share it before you’ve read it. I will say that if you read to the end of the acknowledgements, then it will all become clear. 

3. Do you plan before you start writing or do you sit down and see where the words take you?

Plan, plan, plan! I’m a big fan of the Save the Cat! Writes a Novel way of structuring a story. 

We’ve been telling stories a certain way since time began, and I know I work best when I have an outline of what’s coming next and where it will lead to. Despite my best intentions, characters will sometimes wriggle out of my control and do what the heck they like. Pesky blighters. 

4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that still surprises you?

I was lucky to have a few writer friends before getting published myself, so I was aware of the endless waiting followed by frantic activity that comes along with publishing. I was also aware that it is a business, so the fact the title and cover are designed to sell the book, rather than simply reflect the artistic content made sense to me. I understand why a lot of writers struggle with that, but my view is that I write commercial fiction, and the publisher is in charge of the commerce side. 

I am surprised at how hard it is to stay published after being published. It’s not an industry for the faint-hearted. 

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

I find drawing very relaxing. The scenes set in the life-drawing classes in Her Mother’s Lies are taken from my experiences. There’s nothing more mindful than losing yourself in colours, shade, and shape. I made up the part of the tutor’s head colliding with the male-model’s undercarriage, though…honest. 

I also love reading (obviously!) theatre, photography and walking with friends, especially when it ends up with a crisp glass of wine. 

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

Wow. That’s hard! I think, perhaps Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed because it asks so many questions about life. I suspect I’d be able to read it and interpret/answer those questions differently through the years as I continue to experience life in all its wonder and diversity. 

Funny how many of my firmly-held beliefs have softened, then changed completely as I’ve grown older (Do I sound terribly sage? Hope so!) 

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’d like to be asked why I didn’t start my writing journey earlier in life (although I’m sure nobody would be rude enough to ask). 

The answer is, when I was younger, I didn’t know it was an option for me. My parents’ aspiration was for me to become a teacher, and when I left university during a recession, that’s what I did. Then life took over. I worked hard, had my children and it was only when I felt I’d lost myself along the way, I asked what it was that I REALLY wanted to do with my life. 

That’s why I’m so grateful to have this opportunity now. I know many women writers whose careers have started after the hard labour of motherhood has sapped their sense of identity, and they’ve re-invented themselves as the writers they were always meant to be. 

Starting a new career at 52 is daunting, but hugely invigorating. It’s given me an invaluable sense of purpose. 

About the Book

You can run from a lie, but you can’t hide from the truth…

Bonnie has been running from her tragic past for far too long. Now, years after the events that changed her life for ever, the time has come to face it. Her search for answers takes her to the idyllic town of Hamblin, where she is determined to start over.

Alice’s perfect life is slipping through her fingers. Drowning in debt, she struggles on, working long days alongside her daughter Laura, ever more desperate to hold on to what little remains.

Laura had her future as an artist snatched from her when she had to return home to care for her sickly father. Whilst she tries hard to be content with her life, each day her resentment grows.

When their worlds collide, Laura and Bonnie form an instant bond. But as they grow closer, Alice begins to grow suspicious of Bonnie’s intentions. Why is she so interested in Alice’s daughter? And what devastating truth is she hiding?

You can buy a copy of the book here.

(This is an affiliate link so I may make a small amount if you buy through it. You can also buy Her Mother’s Lies from your local independent bookshop).  




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