by Julie, summering in Somerville
I was fortunate to work with Sandra when she was the national president of Sisters in Crime, and between weekly meetings and committees we became friends. I’ve been hearing about In the Dark We Forget for a while, and I’m so glad to celebrate its upcoming release in both the U.S. and Canada as part of our genre hopping series.
Thanks so much for hosting me again, Julie! I’m so thrilled to be welcomed back among The Wickeds.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only writer to have ideas spark while traveling—whole scenes and scenarios even, springing forth into one’s imagination while on holiday somewhere. But what happens when you’re on a romantic anniversary trip, just you and your devoted spouse, and the dark scenarios just keep coming..?
If you’re me, you are blessed to be married to an exceptional person who truly understands you, so you go with it. You even share your strange new ideas, the ones flickering at the edges of your imagination, teasing you with their morbid potential.
For example, you’re having a scrumptious dinner one evening, in the only restaurant in a tiny hamlet in the Canadian Rockies. The restaurant is named Truffle Pigs. It is May 2018. You treat yourself to a slice of house-made strawberry rhubarb pie. When it comes, you’re delighted that it’s exactly the perfect temperature. As you cut into the flaky, golden-brown crust, you suddenly remember that flash of inspiration from the day before, the one that hit when you drove around a bend in the highway. To one side was a flattish space of weedy grasses, stretching to a line of trees at the foot of a mountain. You remember thinking, What would it be like to just wake up there, and not know how you got there? What would you do next? How would you feel?
Your spouse, of course, ever attentive, asks if you’re thinking of that idea you had. They want to know more. So you start talking. Next thing you know, only a few crumbs remain on the plate, your Earl Grey is sadly tepid, but you’ve got the biggest, silliest grin on your face. Your spouse, decades-married to a writer now, encourages you to keep at it. During the rest of the 5-day trip, they catch you any number of times daydreaming about that idea. Every single time, they ask you to share more. Your spouse is deeply, deeply wonderful, by the way.
And when you get home, you start noodling in earnest. You’ve never written a contemporary suspense novel before. But you have published 3 novels so far and a handful of short stories. You have a general idea how to approach this, at least.
Nine months later, you share draft #3 with your spouse, who is always your first reader, and with a trusted writer friend. They both give you extremely honest feedback. Fifteen months later, you sign with a literary agent. Two-ish years later, you sign the publishing contract. Four years later, your book is released.
And so here we are.
I had such fun writing this book. Which sounds weird since it’s dark and heartbreaking in parts. But I think there’s always place for joy when we write. At least, that’s what I strive for.
I’m excited to do a giveaway of the Canadian print edition of In The Dark We Forget today for Wickeds readers. (You can catch my unboxing video here to see how one looks.)
Just answer this question in the comments to be included in the random draw: What’s the weirdest place/time you suddenly found inspiration for a creative endeavour?
Open to US and Canada. Comment by midnight ET today to enter.
In The Dark We Forget releases June 21st. More details, and pre-ordering, available here.
Here’s the Bookshop link if you’d like to support local indie booksellers through Bookshop.org.
SAVE THE DATE: For her release, Sandra SG Wong will be in conversation with Tess Gerritsen over Zoom. Tuesday, June 21 at 8pm EDT. Register here.
Sandra SG Wong (she/her) writes fiction across genres and is a multiple crime fiction awards nominee. A speaker, mentor, and hybrid (indie/trad) author, Sandra is Immediate Past President of Sisters in Crime and a proud member of Crime Writers of Color. Connect with her: Twitter @S_G_Wong, Instagram @sgwong8, and sgwong.com.