2014 Good Housekeeping novel writing competition winner, and author of The Daughter’s Secret, Eva Holland reveals how she came to write her prize-winning thriller set in the aftermath of a student-teacher relationship.
The Daughter’s Secret is out in paperback, ebook and audio on 13th August.
I have always been fascinated by the question of what happens next. When I finish a novel that has captured my imagination I find myself spending days wondering what became of the characters after the author typed ‘The End’.
It is the same with the news stories that stay with me long after the newspaper has found its way to the recycling bin – the stories of ordinary people being thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Whether it’s a family’s comfortable life shattered by a teenage daughter’s mysterious disappearance, a massive lottery win or the unmasking of a bigamist father with three unsuspecting wives, these people’s lives will never, ever be the same again. They will be on the front page for a day, maybe two, then – if they are lucky – they will fade from view. We’ll forget them, we’ll move on to the next story, the next day’s news. But they won’t forget. How can they?
The mothers, daughters, fathers and brothers lives have been changed forever. I hope they find peace. I hope they find happiness. But I can’t help wondering what happens next.
How will these families go back to anything approaching normal life? What will happen to them tomorrow, next week, next year, in ten years’ time? These are the questions that sneak up on me in the quiet of the night and imagining their answers is what inspired me to write my first novel.
The Daughter’s Secret is the story of what happens next. Rosalind Simm was a ‘normal’ woman with a husband and two children until her fifteen-year-old daughter’s shocking disappearance with teacher Nathan Temperley propelled the family into the public eye.
Six years later, Rosalind discovers that Temperley is about to be released from prison. As she grapples with the shadow his early release casts over her family, Rosalind must face the way the events of the past have shaped their lives and the extent to which she blames herself and others for what happened. She is forced to remember the moment in time in which their lives were changed irrevocably and to ask herself the question I imagine those who have been at the heart of shocking events must ask themselves and each other: can we ever be ‘normal’ again?