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House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

If you're looking to discover a new author, then you may want to check out this Q&A with Brendan Duffy. He will be stopping by to answer some questions that I asked him regarding his first book, House of Echoes.

message 2: by Brendan (new)

Brendan First, thanks for coming to our group. You have some great reviews from newspapers and CJ Box. Congrats on that. So, tell us about your book.

Thank you for inviting me! I think House of Echoes is a great book to curl up with on an icy winter night, so this is an exciting time of year to talk about it!

House is about a young family in trouble. It’s about an old mansion with secrets, and a village with a dark history. In many ways, it’s a classic Gothic setup, but one with contemporary characters contending with modern problems.

It’s also a book written with the omnivorous reader in mind. It has historical elements, the atmosphere of a horror novel, the characters of a suspense thriller, and twists from the crime tradition. It’s a book for readers who want to explore a strange place populated with complicated characters and knotty relationships.

As a reader, I love trickily paced and carefully structured narratives that keep me guessing as to what kind of story I’m wading into, and this what I’ve tried to create with House.

In the book Who Was that Lady, which was the biography of Craig Rice, a writer from the 1940’s, Jeffrey Marks said that she was writing by the seat of her pants when she locked herself in a room and completed a novel in a few hours. What is your writing process?

She wrote a whole book few hours? I can’t even type that fast!

Unfortunately, my writing process is not nearly so efficient. I usually come up with an idea, play with it for a while, work up an outline, then dive in. The problem is that I never end up sticking with this outline. Characters evolve, backstories deepen, new conflicts arise. It takes a while for my stories to mature, so I end up spending a lot of time cutting and revising and restructuring.

I do most of my writing at my desk or in nearby cafes. My favorite places to work are on trains and planes (probably because they have fewer Internet-related distractions).

Do you think that readers may see parallels of House of Echoes to Gone Girl and Girl On A Train since this is about a dysfunctional relationship which seems to be a popular theme in many novels?

I read and enjoyed both Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train, but they’re so incredibly successful that I would be quite nervous to compare House to either of them! Without giving too much away, what House has in common with these two is that many of its events are also carefully constructed around a core of domestic tension.

The father, mother, and young son at the heart of my book live together, but begin the novel in a deeply disconnected state. Like in Gone Girl, some of these characters aren’t exactly who they initially appear to be. As with The Girl on the Train, some of these characters’ true natures are hidden even to themselves.

Are you more comfortable writing psychological thrillers than a series?

My goal is to tell readers an entertaining story, and to do that I need to be entertained while writing it for them. If you think about it, a reader likely spends only 5-7 hours with a book, while a book’s author needs to live with that same work for months or even years. I feel that a writer’s interest and emotional investment in their book is crucial to the quality of their finished novel.

So, for me, writing standalone novels is a way to keep my work fresh, engaging, and interesting. Character, structure, and atmosphere are the things that get me to my desk every morning, and I love the clean slate of a brand new book with different characters within a unique setting. Starting at square one with each book is a challenge that keeps me sharp and invigorated about the work.

That said, I have huge admiration for a lot of series fiction. Someday I’d love to take a crack at an intriguing hero whose world could be reinvented with each installment and whose travails could avoid formula.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for coming in Brendan. I'll be looking forward to reading your book.

message 4: by Brendan (new)

Brendan It's been my pleasure!

I'm very happy to answer other questions about House of Echoes, if anyone has them. I also work as a fiction editor, so let me know if anyone is curious about how the publishing process works. For those who are interested, I wrote an essay about this somewhat tricky professional overlap here on Medium.

Thank you for the great questions, and I hope you enjoy House!

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