Today we are joined by Suki Fleet. We’ve used the opportunity of the release of Suki’s latest book, Innocence, to ask her some questions. And guess what? She answered! 🙂
At eighteen Christopher is restless and longs for something he cannot name. His mother vanished when he was very small and after spending more than ten years travelling on the rivers and canals, drifting between towns and schools, with mostly only his dad and brother, Jay, for company, he is desperate to escape that claustrophobic existence. When they return to settle in Arlow, a town they haven’t been back to in over a decade, everything changes.
Malachi has given up on love. He lost his heart when he lost his innocence. Now at twenty nine he just exists–getting drunk, fixing cars and playing the music he loves.
When their paths cross one night at a gypsy camp, Christopher thinks he’s found what he’s been looking for, but Malachi is afraid. He is afraid their love will destroy everything Christopher has ever known. They are both ghosts from one another’s past, and if Malachi’s secrets are revealed more than just innocence will be lost in their wake.
Thanks for joining us today, Suki. It’s great to have you visit again and congratulations on the release of Innocence.
Firstly, I want to say a HUGE congratulations on having your book, This Is Not A Love Story, as a finalist in the Lambda Literary Awards. Such a fabulous and well-deserved achievement!
I haven’t had a chance to read Innocence yet but I’m very much looking forward to it. From the sound of the blurb, I’m in for an emotional journey. Can you tell us a little about the process of bringing this story to life?
Suki: Thank you so much for having me here today, Nic 🙂 And thank you for your congratulations. I do write very emotionally. This is Not a Love Story is, and will perhaps always remain, the most emotional and heart wrenching story I have ever written.
Innocence was conceived probably two years ago now. It was originally going to be called Beg, Borrow, Steal, but when I started writing, the title Innocence seemed to suit the story much better. All my stories start with a little spark that needs a little time to burn brightly.
The spark that started Innocence was walking down by the river near where I live and seeing these dilapidated river boats, moored and obviously travelling together and I just wondered what their story was. I used to head down to the river regularly, feeling the story grow but not yet being ready to write it down.
Malachi has secrets. Can you share any of those secrets with us? Anything you’d like to tease your readers with or do we need to wait to read the book? 🙂
Suki: Haha, no, actually I can’t! You’ll have to read to find out. But to me it’s Malachi the title refers to. The whole story deals a lot with the guilt and innocence of all the main characters, but Malachi’s story is perhaps the saddest.
The life a gypsy sounds like a fairytale to those of us who haven’t had much exposure to that type of life. What inspired you to use this in your story?
Suki: Growing up on a boat. I loved moving round.
I do think there is a fairytale aspect to the gypsy lifestyle, but also there is a lot of prejudice in this country (England) and in lots of other places towards travelers and gypsies. I think people forget we’re all humans, we all feel and fear and love.
Christopher or Malachi? What character is closest to your heart?
Suki: Hmmm… I understand Christopher the most, but Malachi needs the most love.
What book is currently on your bedside table (or your eReader)?
Ah, I’m beta reading at the moment so it’s a secret 😉
About the author
Suki Fleet grew up on a boat and as a small child spent a lot of time travelling at sea with her family. She has always wanted to be a writer. As a kid she told ghost stories to scare people, but stories about romance were the ones that inspired her to sit down and write. She doesn’t think she’ll ever stop writing them.
Her novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards