How do you begin to move on, if the past won't let you go?
When Grace's husband, Adam, inherits a cottage on the Yorkshire moors, they leave London behind to try a new life. A week later, Adam disappears. The following year, Grace returns with her baby daughter, Millie. She is desperate for answers, but resigned to preparing the cottage for sale.
With no-one prepared to divulge their secrets, Grace finds herself unwilling to trust anyone. Then, just as snowfall threatens to cut her off from the rest of the world, she makes a terrible discovery. In the aftermath, she realises that she has been looking in the wrong place for answers all along. In the wild winter weather she sets out to reclaim her daughter from the one person seemingly intent on taking Millie away, praying that she will reach them in time.
Sara Fosterlives in Western Australia with her husband and young daughter. She divides her time between writing, book editing and being a mum. Her passions include the natural world, photography and travel.
Beneath The Shadows
Random House Australia
Author: Sara Foster
Question: What originally inspired you to write Beneath the Shadows?
Sara Foster: It was at a time in my life when I was rethinking my direction. I had realised that even though I enjoyed working in publishing, my passion was writing, and I wasn't sure how I was going to follow it. The character of Grace came to me first, and I quickly saw that she was both vulnerable and determined. So I decided to throw her into a really intense situation - a missing husband, a young child, and a spooky cottage in the middle of a claustrophobic village - and then examine how she dealt with it.
Question: Is the character of Grace based on anyone you know?
Sara Foster: Not as such. While I'm sure she had a basis in my experiences and feelings she quickly took on an identity of her own. I probably do draw on things in my own life and those of the people around me, as well as events and people I read about, but after that I enjoy using my imagination to develop my characters.
Question: How do you ensure there is just enough suspense in your novels?
Sara Foster: By going over the story again and again, making sure the novel keeps up a good pace, trying to come up with lots of twists and turns, and working hard on chapter endings to entice the reader to keep turning the pages.
Question: What do you hope your readers from take from reading Beneath the Shadows?
Sara Foster: I hope they feel they have been on an absorbing journey with some great characters and enjoyed the ride, but I would also love it if they are intrigued by some of the underlying questions I'm raising too - such as why people are drawn to re-examine their pasts in order to try to move forward, and the different ways that our fears are activated. The story is multilayered with all sorts of themes - classic novels, gothic stories, psychological suspense, myths and legends, and family relationships - so I hope readers find plenty in there to think about.
Question: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Sara Foster: For me it's all about trying to find balance: such as writing spontaneously but then being able to look critically and objectively at what I've produced. Reading a lot, but not becoming too distracted or overwhelmed by it, and still finding plenty of space to work on my own ideas. It's a long and often challenging road, but the results are well worth it.
Interview by Brooke Hunter