Our Author of the Week is Harriet Tyce, perched in her home library we discuss her highly anticipated read, ‘The Lies You Told’. ‘The Lies You Told’ follows on from Harriet’s international bestseller & debut novel, ‘Blood Orange’. In this chat we talk about her history as a barrister, the themes that play out in ‘The Lies You Told’ from bitchy school gate politics, to poisonous family ties & the fascinating world of crime. Harriet is expressed, humble & this book is a testament to her success. If you’re an aspiring novelist this chat is especially expanding to show the power of an MA in creative writing & the path to getting your debut novel from creation to bestseller. Enjoy!
In this chat we discuss:
- “Bitchy school gate mothers” that are awful & competitive. “There’s always an aspect of competition & neurosis”. Negotiating the politics of the playground is just as difficult to navigate as a parent as a teenager.
- Harriet on her background as a criminal background & her time as a defence lawyer. “It was fun, but I’m quite glad I don’t do it anymore. It was very stressful.”
- ‘A writer’s dream’: working on Harriet’s smash hit Blood Orange – the life on chambers & the life as a barrister. “There’s a level of lived experience that would be very different to research.”
- “I’ve come to the end of my knowledge” says Harriet on her background in law. “In book three there will not be barristers. I’m beat.”
- Harriet on the impact of her previous jobs & real life characters that lend a hand within the book. Hint, it wasn’t so much the previous cases, but the barristers Harriet has worked with.
- “My own practice was generally people shoplifting & people getting in trouble with tickets with the
- Harriet on her bestselling Blood Orange as a debut novel: 22 languages, international book clubs, possibly to be made into a film. ‘I wrote most of it sitting in bed.” “I had no expectations. Not even hopes.” Getting an agent was a golden ticket – not even the idea of being an internationally known bestseller.
- The Lies You Told: Harriet on her ability to tune out her fears & the expectations of others. “I’ve moved away from the sex and booze of the first book… it’s been interesting. You couldn’t ask for more for your first book.”
- “I didn’t even get the right amount of jury members in the manuscript” in The Lies You Told. “That was a duffer moment. It was not good.”
- The Lies You Told versus Blood Orange. It’s more likeable, less ambiguous.
- Blood Orange as a book about domestic violence & Harriet’s take on some readers’ reviews & the want for people to ‘shake’ the protagonist character, despite being a survivor of DV.
- Harriet on her creative writing MA at UEA & the “meandering nothing” that didn’t necessarily translate into a psychological crime thriller.
- Degrees online & the pandemic as an opportunity to open up study for people remotely.
- Harriet on completing her MA with a complete manuscript, that was the birth of Blood Orange.
- Was Harriet the star pupil within her class? Of the eleven within the class, five have published novels.
- Harriet on her options in university as a teacher, a journalist & a barrister.
- The pure jealousy that Harriet felt when she had a friend who became a writer that prompted her to become a writer.