Thursday, 2 May 2019

BLOG TOUR: 'The Words That Fly Between Us' Guest Post by Sarah Carroll

Hello, fellow bookworms! Today I'm excited to be taking part in the tour for the wonderful new novel by Sarah Carroll, The Words That Fly Between Us!

The inspiration behind The Words That Fly Between Us

I actually handed up five ideas for novels to my publishers – from historical fiction to dystopian and fantasy – and they were rejected for various reasons. So I decided to pitch an idea that had more in common with my first book, The Girl in Between. It would be a story told from the perspective of a young girl and based in modern-day Dublin. With that in mind, I went for a walk for a bit of inspiration.

Wandering around Dublin’s city centre with its Georgian buildings, I have often looked above the street-level shops to the top floors and wondered what goes on up there? On this particular day, I thought, what if you were a young girl who lived in a Georgian house and you were the only one who knew that the attics on your row were connected, what sort of mischief would you get up to? Obviously, you’d get involved in other people’s business, but what would you really be doing up there in the shadows in the first place? You’d be running away from something, of course. The house itself, the atmosphere so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

But that’s not really it, is it? Ultimately, it is yourself that you are running away from and in the end, you are going to have to come down and face your fears.

And then I had it. It would be the power of words that drove you up there, and it would be the power of words that would ultimately release you.

Clearly, I’m interested in the power of words, how they can strangle and suffocate. Why? Well, if I’m going to get all psychoanalytical on it…

As a teenager, I was badly bullied in school. There was one girl who had it out for me. But it was an insidious type of bullying, so hard to put your finger on. Sometimes it was the silence that followed a joke I made, or the look that was thrown my way, or the party I wasn’t invited to. But usually it was the sly meaning behind the words directed at me.

My diaries from the first three years of secondary school are a pretty heartbreaking read. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. How could I, when I couldn’t even describe exactly what was happening. It was this feeling I decided to try and recreate with The Words That Fly Between Us.

There are three characters that have to deal with bullying in the book, the main character, Lucy, her mother and her friend, Megan.

Lucy must deal with how her father’s varying moods dictate the mood of the whole house, and how his opinions shape the way she sees herself. It is as much the weight of the words that are unspoken as those he directly speaks. They shape her world to the point where she becomes obsessed with the way they fill the spaces in the house, until her only escape is through her art and through the attic.

By contrast, Megan has no escape, as she is bullied both face–to–face and online.

I’ve often wondered how much more difficult the bullying I endured would have been if it was in this day and age, where the bully can follow you home from school via social media. And so this is the direction that Megan’s bullying takes.

It took me three years to finally stand up to the person who enjoyed tormenting me in school, and when I did, it wasn’t some huge showdown (okay, actually, it kind of was, but you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what happened!). Ultimately, what I needed to do was find the words to stand up for myself. It was as simple and as difficult as that. I can honestly say that at age sixteen, when I did find those words, it changed my life. And I think this is probably the deep-rooted reason why I chose to write this book.

It was a very important lesson in my life, and one I wanted to share: accepting who you are and finding your own voice are the things that will give you the strength to become who you want to be.


Huge thank you to Sarah for the guest post! Be sure to check out the rest of rest of the awesome blogs taking part in the tour:

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