‘Daniel is a little bit awful, and that was so much fun to write.’ – Gail Schimmel chats about her new novel, The Accident
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Pan Macmillan sat down with Gail Schimmel to chat about her new novel, The Accident.

The Accident is Schimmel’s fourth novel, following on from Marriage Vows (2008), Whatever Happened to the Cowley Twins? (2013) and The Park (2017).

Schimmel discusses her characters, her writing process, and how The Accident was her easiest book to write, so far.

Read the interview:

Please introduce The Accident

When Julia was a child, her parents were involved in an accident that would cast a long shadow over Julia’s life. Now that Julia is an adult, facing her own challenges, it might be time for her and her mother to unravel the demons that they have lived with since the accident. The Accident is told from four points of view: Julia; her mother, Catherine; her lover, Daniel, and Daniel’s wife, Claire.

What connects you to the characters?

The story for me starts and ends with Catherine. Catherine’s story came to me because I was thinking about the fact that I seem to write about life phases before I actually live them – and Catherine is in a life phase that I have yet to experience. Of course, Catherine’s challenges are not any that I will hopefully ever experience first-hand! I loved writing Claire, who is on one level an embodiment of That Perfect Woman that we all wish we could be. I loved unpacking how those women actually feel about the pedestal that we put them on, and what happens when they want to step down. I also loved writing Daniel – because Daniel is a little bit awful, and that was so much fun to write.

What did you find most difficult with writing The Accident?

It’s the thing that is difficult with all my writing – time! Although that said, The Accident did want to be written rather badly. In some ways, it is the book so far that has been easiest to write.

Categories Fiction South Africa

Tags Gail Schimmel Interviews Pan Macmillan SA The Accident

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