Today I am the stop on the blog tour for The Stories She Tells by LK Chapman! Today I am going to be having a conversation and learning some about her!
When Michael decides to track down ex-girlfriend Rae who disappeared ten years ago while pregnant with his baby, he knows it could change his life forever. His search for her takes unexpected turns as he unearths multiple changes of identity and a childhood she tried to pretend never happened, but nothing could prepare him for what awaits when he finally finds her.
Appearing to be happily married with a brand-new baby daughter, Rae is cagey about what happened to Michael’s child and starts to say alarming things- that her husband is trying to force her to give up her new baby for adoption, that he’s attempting to undermine the bond between her and her child, and deliberately making her doubt her own sanity.
As Michael is drawn in deeper to her disturbing claims he begins to doubt the truth of what she is saying. But is she really making it all up, or is there a shocking and heartbreaking secret at the root of the stories she tells?
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): How important are the names in your book? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you can recommend?
Sometimes as soon as I think of a character their name just arrives with them and fits them well, without me really knowing where it came from, other times it takes a bit longer. A name will usually pop into my head sooner or later, but if I get really stuck I use either a baby names book or website, or I look at historical baby names data if I need a name that sounds typical of a certain decade. You can download a spreadsheet of top 100 boys and girls names in England and Wales between 1904-1994 from the Office for National Statistics.
JRR: Are you a ‘plotter‘ or ‘pantser’?
I don’t really plan my books out at all, I let them evolve. Unfortunately, this means I end up pretty much rewriting the book a few times before I get the story how I want it which feels really labour intensive! I’m thinking I might try to plan out my next novel, but I have a feeling I’ll end up straying from the plan almost straight away that I start writing!
JRR: If I wrote books, I would most likely be a planner. But sometimes the story can take a life of its own and deviate from the plan! So as a writer you might have to adapt…. Do you prefer writing characters that are similar or very different to yourself?
I probably find it most fun to write a character that is different to me, because it gives me a sort of risk-free opportunity to be somebody else and do and say things I wouldn’t normally dare to! I have to be able to relate to or at least understand a character on some level though, otherwise I wouldn’t know where to start writing them!
JRR: Kind of like with actors and playing the villain- the villain is always more fun than the hero to play! lol Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them if they are particularly good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read my reviews and I really appreciate them, though I wouldn’t usually respond to them. I used to get very upset by bad reviews but now I’ve got better at brushing them off and not taking them to heart. When I read reviews, I look out for if there are any patterns of what people particularly do or don’t like and take this forward into writing my next book – I do see my books as a product and I always seek to improve what I’m offering to readers in terms of how a story is told. Sometimes reviews completely contradict each other though and something one person likes another hates, so I don’t think you can ever please everybody!
JRR: You can’t as everyone has different life experiences which affects how someone feels about a book. Myself, I love to see others opinions of books, especially when they are different from my thoughts! Now, what is your least favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
I don’t like the way that it takes me so long to get my story to where I want it to be and that I have to do so much re-writing. I think I end up writing a book almost three times over before I even get to editing it, and it can start to feel a bit gruelling and demoralising. It’s a great feeling though when I finally get something down that I can say, “Yes, this is actually what I wanted to write!”
JRR: Then it becomes your ‘book baby’ and something to be very proud about! What are your favorite and least favorite types of scenes to write?
That’s difficult to answer! I get absorbed in writing all different types of scenes, but I often feel great trepidation when I’m about to write a big emotional, powerful scene where there is a lot that needs to be said and done. Once I get started I’m usually OK and get into it quite quickly but it can feel very daunting.
JRR: What extreme sport would you love to do if you weren’t too scared?
I always think caving sounds really exciting and interesting – I enjoy visiting caves because it’s such an unusual, mysterious environment. Although there seems something romantic about going off and exploring cave systems I’m sure in reality I wouldn’t like it at all, I’d probably just get scared, cold, and grumpy!
JRR: I did some caving when I was a teenager in girl scouts! It was nothing too dangerous or that took a great deal of effort to do. One time my troop spent the night in a cave called The Lost Sea in Tennessee. It was a great experience and I’d love to do it again sometime.
Thank you for your time with this interview LK!
About the Author:
Louise Katherine Chapman was born in Somerset, UK, in 1986. She studied psychology at the University of Southampton and has worked as a psychologist creating personality questionnaires for a consultancy company. She has also spent some time volunteering for mental health charity Mind.
Chapman loves to write because she loves learning about people and she loves stories. A major turning point in her life was the day she realised that no matter how strange, cruel or unfathomable the actions of other people can sometimes be, there is always a reason for it, some sequence of events to be unravelled. Since then she is always asking “why” and “what if” and she is fascinated by real life stories capturing the strength, peculiarities or extremes of human nature.
LK Chapman’s first novel, Networked, was a sci-fi thriller but now she’s turned her attention to writing psychological suspense. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and young family, and enjoys walks in the woods, video games, and spending time with family and friends.