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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Kris Rogers talks about the inspiration behind her first novel, The Right To Be Forgotten.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Kris Rogers about her life and career, what inspired her to start writing, and the story of her debut novel, The Right To Be Forgotten.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I originally come from Northumberland in the UK and I now live in Northampton, UK, with my husband and an elderly cat, Izzy. She’s 18 and still going strong!
I’ve had a varied career starting in the civil service before moving into the charity sector where I was privileged to work for such wonderful charities as the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Home-Start UK and Schoolreaders. The Right to be Forgotten is my first published novel.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
Like many other writers I’ve always written stories for my own amusement. I wrote my first full length novel in my early thirties; it was really bad but it sparked off a need in me to write another novel. Since then, I have completed 3 unpublished novels and have 5 half- finished novels which are now hiding in my laptop.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I started writing The Right to be Forgotten about three years ago. When I’d finished it I took a short course in Self-Editing for Fiction Writers and then did what I thought at the time was a radical edit to the first draft. I then started sending the manuscript out to publishers and agents. I received multiple rejections before Cassandra Davis from Cahill Davis Publishing emailed me to say that she had enjoyed reading the book but the manuscript needed a lot of editing!
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
It took about 2 and half years from writing the first four chapters to publication of the final manuscript. With this being my first published novel, I would say I was quite naïve about the publishing process. It has been a steep learning curve but definitely an enjoyable one.
What made you want to write The Right To Be Forgotten?
I’m a bit of a news junkie and there is always something in the news that will plant the seed of an idea for a story. Having said that, The Right to be Forgotten was inspired by an incident I witnessed as I was driving back from work one evening. I saw a car parked at the side of the road. A man and a woman were standing by the car obviously having a major argument. It was a really busy road and it seemed a strange place to stop. On my way home I started to think about under what circumstances someone might feel that they should stop and try to intervene to calm a situation down and what would happen if subsequently you found out that your inaction had tragic consequences. The idea for the book really took off from there.
What were your biggest challenges with writing The Right To Be Forgotten?
In order to give everyone involved in the central incident, which revolves around a kidnapping, a ‘voice’, I wrote the story from multiple points of view. I found it quite challenging to find the right ‘voice’ for each character and jumping back and forth made it difficult to keep it all clean cut in my head. Who knew what and who was still in the dark etc.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
The main character, Hope, is a young woman working as a Lettings Agent who is struggling with an abusive relationship that she is secretly planning to leave. The character is an amalgamation of various people that I have met over the years and as I started to write her, she really came to life in her own right.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
I wanted the antagonists to have their own ‘Voice’ so that the story wasn’t just one sided. I hope the reader will feel a degree of sympathy, perhaps, towards them and be able to understand why they behaved in the way that they did, even if what they did wasn’t good.
What is the inciting incident of The Right To Be Forgotten?
The inciting incident is the disappearance of Hope while she is viewing a property with a potential client. Was she kidnapped, is she being held against her will, has she been murdered or has she simply decided to disappear?
What is the main conflict of The Right To Be Forgotten?
I would say that the main conflict in the book is Hope’s journey to escape, both literally from her kidnapper but also from the abusive relationship she’s found herself in and her partner’s coercive control.
Did you plot The Right To Be Forgotten in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
Generally speaking, I would say that I am a ‘Pantser’. My stories tend to evolve through the characters as I write them. But I do also try to work with what I know and research as and when needed. Many years ago I worked for an estate agent for 6 months when I was in between jobs and I sometimes felt quite vulnerable meeting a stranger at an empty property. That gave me the idea for Hope’s job and I did some research around coercive control to get a more rounded understanding of this type of behavior.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Right To Be Forgotten need?
I initially did a self-edit and then when I was accepted by the publisher the manuscript underwent a full developmental edit. We then did a further line and copy edit to polish the manuscript.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Enjoy writing for its own sake and if you get published that is the icing on the cake. If you desperately want to be published never give up on your dream.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
The book I’m working on at the moment is a stand- alone book about a middle aged woman who discovers that the mother and brother she thought had died when she was a child might actually still be alive. The narrative follows her journey to find out what happened to them. It’s a dual time-zone narrative between mother and daughter. I have also written a synopsis for a novel involving, Milly, one of the characters in The Right to be Forgotten and that will be the next book I will be working on.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I was really excited to be published. I’m grateful to Cassandra at Cahill Davis Publishing for the help and support she gave me to achieve the final manuscript and for allowing me to become a published author. Yes, it was worth the effort.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Book link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Right-be-Forgotten-Kris-Rogers-ebook/dp/B09TJF2S2T
Author profile – https://www.cahilldavispublishing.co.uk/authors/krisrogers
Publisher social media – www.twitter.com/publishingdavis
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