I have been a fan of Catherine McKenzie’s work since her first novel came out, which I read in the spring of 2010, about 4 months after it was released. I've read all her work, and thoroughly enjoyed every single novel that Catherine has written. I had the pleasure of getting an advance reader’s copy of Catherine McKenzie's new novel, Hidden, which was released yesterday. I also have the pleasure to participate in the Hidden blog tour. (You can buy Hidden as a book here or an ebook here).
Hidden is completely different than the style of Catherine's first 3 novels, which was a nice change. This novel introduces 3 narrators (Jeff, Tish & Claire), instead of one/two narrators. Each chapter moves through the story in chronological order through each of their own stories and leaves you not wanting to put the novel down until the very last page. The story is completely realistic and that's what I like in a novel. I also liked the suspense of wondering throughout the entire novel, if Jeff and Tish were actually lovers or not.
Jeff, while walking home from work one day, is hit by a car and dies. Hidden is the story of his wife, Claire (and their son Seth) and another woman, Tish a co-worker from the same company at another branch in another city (as well as her family, husband Brian and daughter Zoey), who both are heart broken at the death of Jeff.
I recommend this book to anyone who has or has not read any of Catherine's earlier work. If you haven't read any of her earlier work, you should, Catherine's novels are fantastic. They're light, fun reads and this one is being released just in time for summer, perfect to read by the pool/beach.
I look forward to seeing where Catherine goes with her next novel, because she certainly outdid herself with Hidden.
I had the pleasure of asking Catherine a few questions to share with my readers:
1. What inspired you to write Hidden?
Like all of my books it was a conjunction of things, but the biggest catalyst was probably that mine disaster where one of the guys in the mine had a wife and a girlfriend. I kept thinking about how that might never have come out if he'd died, and what that would be like for the girlfriend.
2. What kind of research did you do for this book?
3. In one sentence, how would you describe Hidden?
Hidden is about one man's relationship with two women - his wife and his co-worker - and how they cope with life after he dies unexpectedly.
4. You talk about places in the USA that Jeff & Tish visit on their retreat that they went on through work. Have you actually visited those places? Your description of the places seems real or was it based on research? (Example: Your description of Indio on p. 290).
I have been to Indio. My grandparents winter there. And the places I describe there - The Shield's Date farm and the Joshua Tree National Park - are a must see.
5. You also mention that Jeff and Tish each live in a different Springfield. In the USA there is a Springfield in about 35 states with over 50 cities/towns/called Springfield. In your past novels you haven’t straight out said where your characters live, only mentions of where they have traveled to (example: Africa in Forgotten). Did you use Springfield on purpose because it still leaves the reader open to their interpretation of where they actually are?
Yup :). Honestly, I wanted to have the novel a bit more grounded in place than my previous novels, and I love that there are so many Springfields that it could be any one of them or none.
6. Do you have any other novels in progress?
Early, early stages.
7. I know you’re a litigation lawyer and you also teach law at McGill University so I need to ask – when do find time to write 4 novels?
I no longer teach law. I write when I can and it's been a long time too. I wrote Arranged in 2006-2007. Spin in 2007-2008. Forgotten in 2008-2010. And Hidden in 2011-2012.
8. How long does it take you to write your novels?
Each one has varied. I think the first draft of Arranged and Spin were fastest - about six months, but they took a lot more revision.
9. What’s your last favourite book you’ve read?
The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison. It's awesome (as you know!).
10. What are you currently reading?
As I write this I'm about to start reading Khalid Hosseini's new book. But I read a book a week for this reading project I'm doing on Goodreads so I'll be reading something else next week!
Thanks for the questions!
Thank you Catherine for taking the time to answer my questions!