The Family Next Door

The Family Next Door

Do you ever really know your neighbours?

The safest suburbs often hold the deepest secrets. Such is the case for Essie, a mother of two. In a moment of maternal despair she once made a terrible mistake, one she will always regret. Essie has since recovered, but she fears what may still lurk inside her.

Her neighbours in Pleasant Court have their own issues. Driven and organised, Ange appears to have everything under control, except perhaps her husband. Practical, intellectual Fran can't stop running. For exercise, or something else?

One day in February, during an unprecedented Melbourne heatwave, someone new arrives. Isabelle is single and childless, when everyone else is married with kids. She is renting, when everyone else owns. Her job is mysteriously vague. Strangest of all, Isabelle is very curious about her neighbours. Too curious, some might say.

It soon becomes clear that Isabelle's choice of neighbourhood was no accident. And her presence might bring even more secrets to light...

Sally Hepworth has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the UK and Canada, where she worked in event management and human resources. She is the author of Love Like the French, The Secrets of Midwives, The Things We Keep and The Mother's Promise.

The Family Next Door
Macmillan
Author: Sally Hepworth
ISBN: 9781760552176
RRP: $29.99

 

Interview with Sally Hepworth

 

Question: What inspired the story of The Family Next Door?

Sally Hepworth: At the risk of sounding like an episode of Seinfeld, nothing! Usually when I write a book there is a very clear spark"a real life event I heard about, a news segment I watched, a personal experience I've had"but with The Family Next Door, this wasn't the case. Instead, The Family Next Door was the culmination of a thousand of thoughts, fears and neuroses that came together in a book. Being a naturally nosy person (and the resident Mrs Mangel of my street) I've always spent a good amount of time wondering what the neighbours were up to, and that was where it all kicked off. It grew from there.


Question: Are the characters based on anyone you know?

Sally Hepworth: I heard Graeme Simsion (of The Rosie Project) say once that characters are 1/3 yourself (the writer), 1/3 someone you know, and 1/3 made up. I think this is a good analogy. Often there is a kernel of someone I know in a particular character, but largely they are fictional. I think that writing about a person you know would be too constricting and I much prefer the flexibility of making someone up.


Question: There are several issues raised in this book. Was this deliberate or did the story evolve this way?

Sally Hepworth: I always write about an area of women's health in each of my books, and, as I was pregnant while I wrote this book, pregnancy related health issues were on my mind. That said, while I plan my books to an extent, it rarely turns out the way I plan it. Some of the issues in the book, especially around the twist, came to me as I wrote, and were unexpected.


Question: What's next, for you?

Sally Hepworth: I have just finished the first draft of my new novel, The Mother in Law, which will be my 2019 book.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

The Family Next Door
Macmillan
Author: Sally Hepworth
ISBN: 9781760552176
RRP: $29.99




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