A Quickie with Rosie Fiore

Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?

Three-quarters of a million people go missing in the UK every year. When I read that figure, it staggered me. The vast majority come home very quickly, but some people just drop off the radar. So who are they? And what happens them, especially in this age of electronic footprint?
Have you ever fantasised about walking away from your life and starting again? Whenever I talk about this to people, they often respond with surprising enthusiasm. I guess we’ve all had that fantasy… but we don’t do it. We love our annoying families too much, or it would be too hard.
But in my book, What She Left, Helen Cooper actually does it. She’s the perfect school gate mum and wife and she walks away from everything and disappears. Why? And what does it do to her, and to the family she leaves behind?
This was a difficult book to write: I think we’ve heard lots of stories of men who walk away from families, but it’s unusual for a woman to do it, and I think we judge them more harshly if they do. I hope readers will be intrigued by Helen and her husband Sam, and want to find out the secrets that lead to her disappearance… and what happens next.

If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?

Dear god, woman. What now?

What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

I got an email from someone who’d read one of my books and asked (theoretically as part of a survey), whether I preferred my male characters circumcised or uncircumcised in sex scenes. I was confused. I always thought cut and uncut were editing commands.

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?

The Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. I know that’s a poncy, pseudo-intellectual answer, but I have never known anyone who could use so few words so perfectly… to such devastating effect. As he’s dead, I can choose to resurrect him at any point in his life, and he was also smoking hot when he was young. So yes… me and fit young Samuel Beckett in a pub in Ireland. Guinness and words. Oh *fans self* I have come over all unnecessary.

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).

I trained as an actor. My first paying job was to dress up as a cherry (giant fibreglass spherical costume, green tights) and hand out leaflets for a travel company. The roles only went downhill from there. I think this may be why I gave it up and became a writer.

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

Naomi Alderman – The Power. Devastating, brilliant, life-changing. Overnight, 15-year-old girls have the power to make electrical shocks and hurt or kill, and can awaken the power in older women. Gender politics are reversed, and the world is in turmoil. A huge, audacious and brilliant concept and book.

Hilary Mantel – Beyond Black. Before Wolf Hall, Mantel wrote this contemporary book about a psychic, working the halls and theatres around the M25. Dark, wicked, funny and worryingly believable. For added enjoyment, the audiobook read by Anna Bentinck is sublime.

Elizabeth Strout – The Burgess Boys. A masterful writer, telling a story of sibling rivalry, small town life and changing times in America. Like a beautiful, detailed painting. Every page and observation is a joy.

Who is Rosie Fiore?

Rosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market.

Her first two novels, This Year’s Black and Lame Angel were published by Struik in South Africa. This Year’s Black was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award and has subsequently been re-released as an e-book. Babies in Waiting, Wonder Women and Holly at Christmas were published by Quercus.

Rosie lives in London with her husband and two sons.

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