A few weeks ago, through a set of happy circumstances for a California friend of mine, I was asked to consider for review Hush Little Baby. Intrigued, I looked for information- and was quite pleased by what I saw. Mother-bear? Good vs evil? A mystery/suspense story? Yes, please!
I’m reading Hush Little Baby right now- and it is very good. My review will be posted in the next few days, but I have an interview with Suzanne Redfearn to get you, my readers of Traveling With T, interested in Hush Little Baby!
Interview with Suzanne Redfearn
Suzanne, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed!
Thank you for asking me.
What was the inspiration for Hush Little Baby?
A friend of mine was going through a divorce. Until she separated from her husband, the two seemed like the picture of happiness. But the story she told over drinks one night of the abuse and cruelty she endured behind closed doors was so frightening it made me wonder how many other marriages are not what they appear.
The curveball came about a month later when we went out again and my friend’s story had changed, the tale altered and now with glaring inconsistencies from the earlier version that caused an alarm to blare in my brain. What if she was making it up? Custody of the kids was at stake. Could she be setting her husband up? For over 10 years, I’d known her husband as a stand-up guy, the baseball coach who never yelled, the neighbor who happily carted your Christmas tree home in his truck, the kind of guy who always showed up and did his part. Yet, how quickly I dismissed all that based on a story over drinks; how quickly everyone dismissed it, so easily accepting that he was abusive and dangerous.
So I got to thinking; how easy it is to sabotage a life, that if my husband set out to destroy me, to preemptively strike before I realized what was going on, he could do it. He knows my weaknesses, my failings, my vulnerabilities. If he had the inclination, he could easily undermine my reputation and portray me as unstable or a bad mother, ensuring that if we divorced, he’d get custody of the kids.
My friend loves her children above all else, three beautiful boys. At the time they were 4, 9 and 12, and their futures, as well as her own, hung in the balance. To this day, nearly three years later, I don’t know if she was telling the truth or manufacturing lies. Either way, her story was a captivating cautionary tale that made me wonder how far someone might go to keep their spouse from getting custody of their kids, and then, if the kids were in danger, real danger, how far the other spouse might go to get them back.
Hush Little Baby is your debut novel. As a debut author, are you finding social media as a powerful tool in connecting with fans or potential readers?
Absolutely. It is an amazing way to reach out to your audience. Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter allow me to get the word out. It’s grassroots marketing at its best. I love the enthusiasm of the readers and how they share their perspective and spread the word. It’s extraordinarily powerful. I feel like I’m connected to this incredible community and they’re connected to me, both of us able to interact at the click of a button.
What is the best advice that you have received in the course of writing Hush Little Baby?
I stumbled upon this quote, “Drama is anticipation with uncertainty.” I was about halfway through the novel and I pasted the saying to my computer. It drove the novel.
Domestic violence is a part of Hush Little Baby. As a woman, did writing about something serious as domestic violence trouble you ?
I did extensive research on the subject of domestic violence and it was very troubling. What I found most disturbing was the psychological subterfuge that creates the entrapment. It made me realize that every woman is susceptible to that kind of fear and manipulation, and that any woman could be a victim. I became incredibly sympathetic to the victims and much more understanding of their plight.
How do you create characters? Are the characters based on people you know?
The story was inspired by a couple I know and the difficult divorce they were going through, but Jillian and Gordon are not them. I keep photos from the internet beside my computer to give me a physical reference for my characters, but aside from that, the characters evolve organically. There are lines I’ve taken from people I know as well as ticks and habits, but each character is a compilation of different characteristics that emerge as the story develops and meld together until the character is as real and unique as any actual person I know.
When writing Hush Little Baby, did you know how it would end? Or did the ending reveal itself as you were writing?
I never have any idea where my stories are going to lead. I start with a big idea, “How far will a woman go to save herself and her children from her abusive husband?” then I begin. I was right there with Jillian throughout her struggles, and there were nights I couldn’t sleep as I wondered how I was going to get her out of the trouble she was in.
Any ideas as to what the next book will be about?
I am working on an exciting new story about another mother protecting her kids. Though the mother-bear theme is similar to HUSH LITTLE BABY, the story is entirely new and the protagonist wonderfully different from Jillian. She is more of an every-woman – a young, single mom, bumbling her way through life who finds herself in an extraordinary circumstance that quickly spins out of control. One kid thrives while the other two struggle, and difficult choices need to be made, this mild-mannered mom faced with the daunting challenge of taking the reins of the her runaway life before they all go over the edge, and she loses everything.
*Thanks to Suzanne Redfearn for agreeing to this interview!