Annalisa Crawford, author of Grace and Serenity, has a new novel out next month, and she’s kindly agreed to tell us about some of the fiction that inspired Small Forgotten Moments. Two of her chosen four are novels I’ve also read and enjoyed. I’ll hand over to Annalisa to introduce all four.
Thanks for inviting me onto your blog today, Anne. I thought I’d share some of the books which have inspired me while writing my new novel Small Forgotten Moments, and the months (even years!) which preceded it.
Madeleine’s Ghost by Robert Girardi was published in 1995, and I bought it based on the cover alone (who says ‘don’t judge a book…’?) I was morphing from being a short story writer to longer prose, although the idea of a full-length novel at that time was far away.
Madeleine’s Ghost is set in New York and New Orleans, and I loved the sense of place the author created. With short stories I never needed a location; with longer prose it’s essential and this novel taught me how to do it well.
Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale is a novel about a troubled artist. Another older book (2007), which gives away how long Small Forgotten Moments was being written and hidden in drawers and re-drafted. I was fascinated by the details of how this fictional artist created her work and how the author depicted it.
The Many by Wyl Menmuir Set in an unspecified Cornish fishing village, this novel is claustrophobic and dark and the sea is a giant, swirling character of its own. Around that time, I realised books set in Cornwall tend to be further west, the brightly-coloured Cornwall people remember from childhood holidays, where surfers in their hundreds reenact scenes from Baywatch. I wanted to share my bit of Cornwall – the one with grey, pebbly beaches, and less overcrowding and mayhem.
And finally, Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor is an astounding novel which chronicles the lives of a close community following the trauma of a teenager who goes missing. Set over a period of several years we see the community grow, relationships develop and fall apart, memories surface and falter. It’s a wonderful example of an author teasing out the story and letting the reader slowly realise the impact.
In their own ways, each of these novels has nested within me and influenced Small Forgotten Moments, a story of memory and family conflict and secrets.
Small Forgotten Moments by Annalisa Crawford
Suffering long-term amnesia, artist Jo Mckye is ready to start a fresh, new project after the success of her debut exhibition. But the fictional subject of the collection, Zenna, won’t let go so easily. Infiltrating Jo’s dreams—and increasingly, her waking hours—Zenna is fast becoming a dangerous obsession.
Jo is confident the answers lie at her childhood home, an idyllic Cornish village on the south-east coast; she just doesn’t know why. Only when she walks into the sea and almost drowns does the past start to unravel.
Haunting and melodic, fans of Daphne du Maurier and Daisy Johnson will adore this.
Pre-order Small Forgotten Moments
Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall, UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and canine writing partner, Artoo. She is the author of four short story collections, and two novels.
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