Beneath the Surface by Heidi Perks.
I love finding new authors to read and this year I have been trying to read different genre’s to my usual picks and have been choosing them solely based on the title. If it sounds intriguing then I’ll give it a whirl. So when Heidi Perks offered me the chance to read her new offering Beneath the Surface I was kind of excited. This will be, and I say that as there will definitely more from Heidi, her first book in print.
Beneath the surface is, as the cover says, a really intriguing novel. We meet the main character Abigail through a series of letters she writes to Adam as recommended by her counsellor as a way of letting out her feelings and to open up about the awful events of her past that have shaped the way she is today and the reasons behind her deceit.
At 17 years of age Abigail Ryder comes home from school to find the house eerily quiet. Upon further investigation she discovers that everything has disappeared from her twin sisters bedroom without a trace, just gone. When she calls the police they think she is just trouble and this is confirmed by the arrival of Eleanor, Abigail’s grandmother. Eleanor tells her to forget all about her mother and sisters and to get on with her life, alone…………
Interested? Obviously if you are a parent reading this your first thoughts are the same as mine were, what mother would do that to her child and what the heck has happened? We start Abigail’s journey 14 years later and with the first of her letters. These letters form the basis of the book and I felt they really added to the story giving us a better sense of Abigail and how she feels about what has happened to her. The story flashes back and forth effortlessly filling in the blanks at Abigail’s pace.
Intertwined in Abigail’s story is her mum Kathryn’s current life with twins Hannah and Lauren. I honestly couldn’t put it down and was totally drawn in by the well rounded characters from the down right mean and deceitful Eleanor to Abigail’s weak and neurotic mother Kathryn.You could see how much thought and the attention to detail that was put into them all to get a real depth to their relationships and lives which for me helped me to connect more with characters, even if it was pure hate!
The more the story went on, the more I was gripped and found myself convinced I knew what had happened, before conceding that I had no clue, to not wanting to go to sleep until I had found out EVERYTHING! And when I did find out everything, well, it turned out I was totally wrong, TOTALLY. Without ruining it for you the twists and developments shocked me and then ultimately angered and then saddened me. Building at just the right pace throughout before the climactic end with everything coming to a head just as emotions have peaked. But you know what, I love it when a book does that, leaves me stunned and slack jawed and possibly drooling due to forgetting to close it am I right!
That’s enough from me before I spoil it. I honestly cannot recommend this book enough and for only £3.99 on Kindle and £7.99 if you are a real book with actual pages kinda person it will be money well spent trust me! It is a gripping, page turner of a story and absolutely unputdownable, yes I am making this a real word! 10/10
I also had the chance to pose some questions to Heidi herself and despite my brain being polluted by the awful Violetta, thanks Olivia, I managed (I hope) to ask some half decent questions to give you all an insight into the woman behind the words so I give you……………….
One Frazzled Mum’s Author interview: Heidi Perks.
The story covers some pretty emotional issues, with being a parent yourself did you find it hard delving into the different characters especially Eleanor?
Having recently written a short mini series of stories on the blog I found that it felt like I didn’t actually write it but my characters did and they felt like real people with a story to tell. Would you say this applied to your characters in beneath the surface and if so who did you feel like you connected with the most?
Yes it did eventually, once I had properly explored who they were. I didn’t do this at the outset I was so keen to delve into the story, but at some point I took a step back and realised I had to get to know them all better! Then they definitely became real people. I think I connected mostly with Hannah and Abi.
For those of us, myself included, who are thinking about or in the process of writing our first novels, describe the reality of getting to where you are now and what would be your best piece of advice?
I have read so many authors’ stories and every one is so different, so you can never tell what is going to happen. For some people it happens quickly and easily but for the majority there will be many rejections and it will take a long time.
Firstly I think you need to decide what you want from writing – is it to tell your story or do you want to make a career out of it for example? Then when you know what success means to you, work out how to get there. Write the story you want to write and approach people who are interested in what you are writing.
There will undoubtedly be many edits and re-writes. Listen carefully to advice from people who know what they are talking about and take it on board where necessary. I had to become resilient, patient and very open to feedback.
This is not the first book I wrote. After the first didn’t get anywhere with agents I had it critiqued and was told to keep going, that I would get there in the end, but that it probably wouldn’t be with that book. At the time it wasn’t what I wanted to hear but I did keep going and in hindsight I can see they were totally right!
So there you go my mini interview with a real life published author. Thank you Heidi for letting me review this for you and congrats achieving your dream!
*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book for purpose of the review. The review is based on my actual reading of the full story and enjoyment was a nice bonus. Thoughts and opinions are all my own*