When love turns to jealousy, when jealousy turns to rage, when rage turns to destruction…
Laura was head over heels in love with Joe. But now Laura lies in a coma and Joe has gone missing. Was he the one who attacked her?
Laura’s sister Tessie is selectively mute. She can’t talk but she can listen. And as people tell her their secrets, she thinks she’s getting close to understanding what happened on that fateful night.
Interview with Fay Bird
Why did you want to write What I Couldn’t Tell You?
The story started with wanting to write about Tessie, a girl suffering with SM. I had listened to a young woman called Sheri Pitman speaking on the radio about her past experiences of suffering with Selective Mutism (SM) and in the course of the conversation she said that she hadn’t spoken outside of her own home for 9 years. I hadn’t ever heard of SM before, and I wanted to find out more, not least because I felt that writing a story from someone like Sheri’s point of view, could be a really interesting and powerful way to give someone a voice who didn’t otherwise always have one. The crime story that frames the story overall, came later.
What do you hope readers take away from the story?
I would like for readers to come away with an increased understanding and awareness of SM, a thrill from the way the crime story unravels, and a sense of compassion for all the characters who have been a part of it. If I’ve done that, even in a small way, then I’ll feel like I’ve been successful!
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know:
When I was a teenager I did loads of drama and performed in a Susan Hill play at the Edinburgh Festival and a Musical at the Lyric Hammersmith. For a while I planned to go to drama school, but then I decided I didn’t really like all the attention outside of the performing itself. I have to admit I still find it quite hard being the centre of attention even now.
Best thing and worst thing about being a writer?
The best thing, without doubt, is being able to create stories, capture them in words and call that your job!
The worst thing is the inevitable self-doubt in the process because you are doing it alone.
Do you ever re-arrange bookshop displays?
No, but I’m not sure I need to. I seem to have an enthusiastic team of friends who jumped straight to it after I was published. They do it for me wherever they are and then proudly send me a photograph! Makes me smile every time.
Most surreal experience of your publishing journey so far?
It was definitely seeing My Second Life published in America and Canada. I still can’t quite comprehend that the book has a life over there, and has the potential to be read in New York, South Dakota, Toronto. I’ve not been to the US since publication there but those lovely friends of mine have sent me brilliant photos of the book on display in Barnes and Noble and Strand Books when they have, and I still have to pinch myself when I look back at the pictures now.
What I Couldn’t Tell You is out now!
Faye writes fiction for young adults. Before becoming a writer she worked as a literary agent representing screenwriters in film and TV. She studied Philosophy and Literature at Warwick University, but has otherwise always lived in London, and still does now.
Her second novel, What I Couldn’t Tell You, will be published on 1 May 2016.