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It’s Friday!  And that means that it’s time for celebrate another book from an independent publisher, this time the book in the spotlight is “Underneath” by Anne Goodwin.  I am also very grateful to Anne for taking the time to stop by to share some more about herself in the wee author feature that runs alongside the review of her second novel.


Book Feature:

Description:

underneath-ebook-cover_3

He never intended to be a jailer …

After years of travelling, responsible to no-one but himself, Steve has resolved to settle down. He gets a job, buys a house and persuades Liesel to move in with him.

Life’s perfect, until Liesel delivers her ultimatum: if he won’t agree to start a family, she’ll have to leave. He can’t bear to lose her, but how can he face the prospect of fatherhood when he has no idea what being a father means? If he could somehow make her stay, he wouldn’t have to choose … and it would be a shame not to make use of the cellar.

Will this be the solution to his problems, or the catalyst for his own unravelling?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

“Underneath” is the second book written  by Anne Goodwin, her first being “Sugar and Snails”.  I have to admit that when I saw the cover of this book I was instantly drawn to it, it looks so rich and intriguing and is utterly beguiling.

The plot follows a character called Steve who had a win in the lottery and decided to take off travelling around the world, and it is upon his return that we meet him.  Years of travelling have left him looking to lay down roots and so when he meets a new friend he invites her along to view prospective properties with him before finding a home that fits him perfectly.  Steve’s friendship with Liesel quickly blossoms into a love affair, but Liesel holds different views to Steve when it comes to their relationship, preferring to remain independent where she can without being tied down.  They create a happy home together, although Liesel is less keen on the underground cellar than Steve but he decorates it and is determined to put it to good use.

Both Steve and Liesel have had damaging childhoods, both having lost parents at a young age they share the experiences of unhappiness and loss.  It becomes clear that their childhoods have caused a lasting impact upon them, but damage has been done and left them mentally scarred.  Through flashbacks to Steve’s childhood the reader is privy to the bullying that he faced as well as being dominated by his older twin sisters.
I can’t say that I felt any liking or sympathy towards either of the main characters, their actions felt cold and sometimes weren’t the easiest to comprehend and on the most part both Steve and Liesel were very difficult to relate to.  I do appreciate the time and hard work that an author invests when creating characters, it cannot be easy to craft a character that is detached and “just out of reach” for readers.

Overall, I would say that this is a good but slow burn sort of read, this is not an action packed thriller that many readers might prefer.  The writing is good, very detailed and well thought out, but the timeline or lack thereof did leave me a little confused at times.  With no chapters, this book is broken into six parts which jump between present day and past events.  The shifting timeline did make it hard to keep track of events but I do think this worked here, adding a questioning sense of whether events happened as we perceived.

You can buy a copy of “Underneath” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository


Author Feature:

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Like Steve, Anne Goodwin used to like to travel, but now she prefers to stay at home and do her travelling in her head. Like Liesel, she’s worked in mental health services, where her focus, as a clinical psychologist, was on helping people tell their neglected stories to themselves. Now that her short fiction publication count has overtaken her age, her ambition is to write and publish enough novels to match her shoe size. Underneath is her second novel; her first, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. Anne lives in the East Midlands and is a member of Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

Catch up on her website: annethology (http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/) or on Twitter @Annecdotist.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

I like almost everything about it (apart from my least favourite thing) but I particularly relish those moments of connection, both in the sense of the ideas that come to me in the process of writing and rewriting which I know will make the story stronger and when a reader lets me know post-publication that stuff I’ve made up has resonated for them in some way. (I also like long sentences but am trying to wean myself off them.)

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

No-one likes rejections, not even those militantly optimistic writers who claim to celebrate them as evidence they’ve at least tried, but rejections do get easier the more acceptances you also have. And I’m sometimes irritated – by which I mean envious – at the huge gap between the promotion opportunities for “celebrity” writers and for those, like me, published by a small independent press.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why? 

That’s a difficult question, because there are so many. But today I’ll pick Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin because it’s a deservedly popular book about serious issues in which she manages to sustain the suspense even when (you think) you know the ending. And also because I’m interested in the theme of problematic mothering, and how it’s repeated across generations, which is one of the themes of my novel, Underneath.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Having retired now from my profession life as a clinical psychologist, when not writing I spend my time singing in a mixed voice choir, battling the slugs in my vegetable plot and walking in the Peak District National Park (which is also great for “writing” or puzzling over plot problems in my head, unless I’m on duty as a volunteer Ranger). I also read voraciously – well over 100 novels a year – which I think is essential for any writer.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

With severe chronic repetitive strain injury, I have a love-hate relationship with the voice recognition software that mediates between my mind and the screen. A sense of humour is essential, as it’s rather like having a toddler in my laptop. Because other sounds would reduce the accuracy, I can’t work with background music, but I prefer quiet anyway. I tend to avoid working in the evenings as it makes it even harder to switch off my brain when I go to bed.

A huge thank you to Anne for taking part in the author feature and telling us a little about herself.   If you would like to know more about Anne and her writing, you can contact her via her website: annethology (http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/)

 

 

The blog tour for “Underneath” is currently visiting several blogs, why not stop by some of the hosting blog for reviews and guest posts:

blog tour 25 May to 10 June

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