In conversation with... Caroline Bond (#3)

Hi Caroline! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of One Split Second! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Put simply it’s about the aftermath of an accident.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: I had three key elements. 
- A desire to look at the decision families have to go through with an organ donation. 
- The parental worry that comes with young adults passing their driving tests and beginning to lead independent lives. [My eighteen year old daughter passed her test as I was writing the book.] 
- And an interest in what happens to those brave individuals who take part in the restorative justice process. I had some experience of the latter when I worked as a volunteer for Victim Support.

The story/ plot for One Split Second was more organic. As always some of my minor characters muscled their way into the foreground. Happily so, in the case of Mo and Tish. I also did two major re-writes to get the pace and the tension of the story right. I always, no matter now serious the subject matter, try and make my books readable.

Was One Split Second your working title or has it changed along the way?

A: No, the WIP title was The Accident, but my publisher Corvus, thought this was too generic. One Split Second was chosen as it reflects how our lives can sometimes turn in an instant with unforeseeable consequences - some good, some bad.

As a mother, how were you able to write about the worst-case scenario for any parent and yet keep some emotional distance for your own sanity?

A: The truth is … the less emotional distance to have as I write the better it is. Or at least that’s how it works for me. If I can’t get inside my characters emotions I don’t feel I can write authentically. By writing about my fears I feel, in some ways, that I deal with them. Also putting your heart and soul and worries into fiction, means that you can keep those worries away from your kids.

Can you pinpoint the exact moment that this book idea presented itself to you?

A: I saw a post on social media about the corridor vigil that takes place for every organ donor in a US hospital. I confess I can’t remember which one, and it just struck me so powerfully. I am a supporter of organ donation and I believe the new system of ‘opt out instead of opt in’ is good, but I’d never really contemplated having to actually got through with such a tough decision. That was the start point of the book. 

What kind of research went into the making of One Split Second?

A: Quite a lot into restorative justice. I had spent some time inside young offenders institutions in my previous career as a researcher, but I needed to get up to speed on current prison practices. I also drew on my victim support experience for my insights into Harry’s behaviour and emotions. There was also some medical and road accident research. 

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: The day at the beach is special to me. It is, let’s be honest, the best first date. I want to stress that there is light and shade in this book - happiness as well as heartbreak, love as well a loss. And the day at the seaside is one of the key lovely moments in the book.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: Some scenes. I always chop and change. But this time my editor wanted more not less, which I hope is a sign of progress in my writing. I always spend ages re-ordering scenes and events. I am quite a messy writer, especially of the first draft. I regularly write scenes and whole chapters out of order and I always write the end before big sections of the middle. It takes quite some time to stitch it all together.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: There is a first draft of book four. It is about a man who leaves a will that challenges his three, adult children to ‘do the right thing’ after his death, and the ensuing chaos.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: I’m having a ‘modern reboot of classic tales’ binge. Stories with very clear beginnings, middles and endings. I enjoyed Stacey Halls’ The Familiars, which is based on the Pendle witch trials and that led me to Diane Setterfield and The Thirteenth Tale. Lots of big crumbling houses, ghosts and twins. Not my normal fare at all.

Thank you for your time!

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