-squeal-! I am unbelievably honoured, and thrilled to be on Lucy Dillon’s blog tour for her newest release, ‘All I Ever Wanted’! Seeing as today is the last stop on the tour (thank you Hodder Books for trusting me with this), not only am I bringing you a review, I was given the opportunity to interview Lucy. As you can tell, I am extremely excited about being involved with this, lets start shall we? First up is my review, enjoy!
Caitlin’s life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.
Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.
Nancy’s Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.
But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages – and about what they both really want . . .
What does TWG think?
Being only four years old, Nancy has properly found her voice. She loves talking and singing everywhere and anywhere she can. But then one day, Nancy’s sweet little songs and sweet little voice are no longer heard. She has stopped speaking; nothing her mum, Caitlin, does can get her to talk, or sing. Can Caitlin and Patrick put their issues aside, and get to the bottom of the sudden silence with their daughter?
Despite the fact that most of the book revolves around Caitlin and Patrick’s troubles, the storyline also dives into Patrick’s sister, Eva’s life, giving us a bit of a breather from bad choices and one sided decisions! I know that I am not alone when I say this, but Caitlin and Patrick got my back up quite a few times whilst I was reading the book. Even though they were adamant that they knew where their priorities lay, it was very clear by their actions who they were truly thinking about; themselves. It did seem to take a while for the penny to drop with them both and for each of them to realise that when children are involved, things are based on their happiness and wellbeing foremost, not theirs.
Caitlin came across as a rather self-centered character. She wanted to be around her children yet her personal antics seemed to take over, lowering the order of her priorities. My heart went out to Nancy and her brother, Joel, on many occasions. Their life had just been turned upside down and were too young to fully understand why. I did get very involved in the storyline, I mean, how couldn’t I? It was a book that I just couldn’t put down, even if I wanted to.
I really did enjoy it when the storyline switched over to Eva and her life for a little bit, especially when we got to delve into her life a bit more! Put it this way, there seemed to be a lot of skeletons in Eva’s closets, some of which she didn’t know about! Eva’s character seemed to play a vital role in the storyline, one that I didn’t really see coming. She most definitely turned into the Fairy Godmother of the book in my eyes.
‘All I Ever Wanted’ is a story about the effects of separation foremost, trust and being true to yourself. The entire storyline covers A LOT of ground and can easily be associated with a treasure chest. Every single page had a special edge to it; whether it was in an emotional way or a situation was cleverly written, it just highlights the fact that Lucy Dillon has written a truly fantastic book. Yes, a couple of the characters were rather frustrating and got under my skin but hats off to Lucy for writing characters like that. I must admit, I did find the Nancy situation emotional, it tugged at my heartstrings and my maternal instinct came out.
A truly special, heart-warming book that will stay in your mind for a long while afterwards. Beautiful.
Thank you Hodder Books!
All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon can be bought from Amazon
TWG Interviews Lucy Dillon!
Never in a million years did I ever think I would get the opportunity to interview THE Lucy Dillon. But I did! I think I interrogated her a little bit too, sorry Lucy haha!
Thank you Lucy for taking the time to answer my questions!
TWG: You are an incredibly popular author, but, for those that aren’t overly familiar with your work, could you tell us a bit about your background please?
Hello! That’s a very nice way to start… 🙂 I’ve written seven novels, all set in the small town of Longhampton, All of them deal with love, secrets, families, losses, life, the therapeutic magic of a long walk and tea, and usually dogs.
TWG: The very first book of yours I bought was ‘A Hundred Pieces Of Me’, the title resonated with me before I had even begun reading. Out of all of your books, including your new one, which one can you relate to the most?
Probably A Hundred Pieces of Me: like Gina, and like most people, I’ve had to confront the ‘how long should I keep university birthday cards?’ dilemma – when I had my house renovated and had to put everything I owned into storage, and then unpack it, room by room, I realised a lot of my life was defined by ‘stuff’, and that it was about time to work out what was important, both in terms of physical possessions, and also dreams and memories I’d hoarded away too. It was hard to write, but quite cathartic!
TWG: Are there any of your books that you find quite difficult to write, in terms of emotion or intensity?
There are always at least a couple of chapters in every book that I find hard to write, but that’s how it should be: the moments when the characters are reaching deep into their own hearts to confront their fears or hopes should take the reader (and the writer!) to those places and make us feel that same emotion. I try to imagine how I would feel if I was in my character’s shoes – A Hundred Pieces of Me was particularly heartbreaking because while I was writing the final chapters, my mum, like Gina, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it suddenly all became very real.
TWG: I am aware that your book catalogue is quite large, congratulations! Looking back through your catalogue of books, do you wish that you could have done anything different?
I’d probably change something about every book! I won’t say what though because then you’ll just read them and think, ‘Hmm, yes, maybe she should have done…’ But I would definitely have added a postscript to the end of One Small Act of Kindness to say, FIDO IS FINE. (Cryptic. But people who’ve read it will know!)
TWG: I could be clutching at straws here so do forgive me if I am, but, I have noticed that your book covers all have one thing in common, aside from your name obviously! They all have a ‘person’ on the front, is there a particular reason for that? Does the ‘person’ signify you, or am I like I said, clutching at straws?
I think that’s a great design decision from Hodder! I love the idea of the big sky and the small person – to me, it sums up both that feeling you sometimes have of being really small and vulnerable, and at the same time, the tremendous freedom that sweeps over you when you’ve faced up to your problems, and the world’s one big opportunity again.
TWG: What is your plan of action when it comes to starting a new book? Do you have a set way of preparing?
I make lots of notes, think about the characters, apply the idea of the Three Act Structure to my ideas… and then start writing and watch it all go out of the window.
TWG: I ask this question to all of the authors I am lucky enough to interview, purely because I’m nosy! What were your favourite books when you were a child?
I was – sorry, this makes me sound like a real nerd – a big fan of Greek and Roman mythology. I loved the creative madness of it all, particularly the punishments! From the age of about four, I read anything I could get my hands on, from Enid Blyton and Arthur Conan Doyle to plenty of stuff I shouldn’t have been able to get my hands on, like The Thorn Birds and Jilly Cooper.
TWG: Could you see yourself writing a different genre? It seems as though a few authors change between two genres, is that something you would do?
I’d love to, but I’m not sure I could – my writing always seems to come out one way. But you never know! Sometimes you get an idea and it shapes everything else, so my cybercrime novel might make an appearance yet…
TWG: You have a new book coming out called ‘All I Ever Wanted’, massive congratulations to you. I was lucky enough to read an early copy and it is fantastically emotional. How did the storyline for the book come about? Was it a hard book to write?
I wanted to write a story about motherhood that everyone would be able to relate to in some way – whether it’s being a parent, with all the worries and delights that children bring into your life, or not being a parent, and having to deal with the way society regards childless women, as well as the feelings of regret or relief it might trigger inside. It was hard to balance everything up – obviously there’s no ‘right’ answer to any of those questions, and I didn’t want to make it seem as if I thought there was! – and the struggles both Caitlin and Eva go through the course of the book are quite emotional. And of course, Nancy’s story was pretty heartbreaking to write – I hate letting bad things happen to characters, but you know, you have to….
TWG: I am going to ask this question rather vaguely as to not give anything away to the readers, so hopefully you’ll know what I’m on about! But, little Nancy in the book will no doubt be a character who a lot of people will remember afterwards. Her situation is rather heart wrenching, where did the inspiration for her character begin?
From several places, but initially from watching small children interact with my dogs. My basset hounds were big, black, strong dogs – quite scary, you’d imagine, for children – but they were incredibly gentle with little ones, who always made a bee line for them. They seemed to ‘read’ each other’s body language instinctively, unlike adult humans with our often clumsy expressions. I wondered how it would be if someone who didn’t have much experience with children, but who’d spent many silent hours with her pugs, one of the most expressive breeds, might cope with a child who wouldn’t speak – and the trust that might build up without words. It’s hard to lie to a dog: they read us so well!
11. One last question; what are your plans for 2017? Can we look forward to more books? Any book events (Edinburgh cough)? Any exclusives?
I’m deep into my new book right now – exclusive reveal: it contains knitting! And family secrets! – and although I don’t have any specific plans for book events in Edinburgh, my boyfriend hails from the ice cream nirvana that is Largs, so I’ll doubtless be sneaking into the bookshops of Scotland to rearrange the stock before long.
And thank you for such interesting questions! I’m really glad you enjoyed the story, and for having me on the blog today. 🙂
Big thank you to Lucy for answering my interrogation! I look forward to reading your next book!! I hope you all enjoyed reading the review and interview, thank you for popping by on the last stop of Lucy’s blog tour for ‘All I Ever Wanted’, published by HodderBooks!