I’ve been a fan of Robyn Harding since I read The Swap (review linked). A book that started the now infamous yelling of my mom at me, “WHERE DO YOU FIND THESE BOOKS?” Since then, I’ve gobbled up everything I can and have no regrets. On June 13th, Robyn Harding’s latest, The Drowning Woman, releases from Grand Central Publishing. I will post my review Saturday. The Drowning Woman is not to be missed. Today, I have the honor of presenting my interview with author Robyn Harding.
I am never the feminist in the room. But I am in awe of female thriller writers that embed female social issues. Especially the ones that are so often whispered about in corners with shame, if talked about at all. You are one of those authors. So, with that in mind…
What is your inspiration for the women’s issues you’ve included in your books?
I wrote this book as we were emerging from the pandemic. We were all greatly impacted by what we experienced, but some groups suffered more: marginalized people, specific industries, low-income communities, and women. I heard statistics that women-owned businesses failed at a greater rate during the pandemic than those owned by men. And domestic abuse rose to alarming rates during lockdowns. I wanted to explore these issues in this novel.
How did you come across the idea/term hostile vagina (from The Swap)? This question is from me and my mother, a former OBGYN.
I fully admit to lifting that line from a movie about infertility (I can’t recall the name even though I’ve searched IMDb for it). I think they said hostile womb, but I thought hostile vagina was more horrifying.
In your latest book, The Drowning Woman, you include women’s issues and general societal issues. I was so impressed with how you raised these issues from different, unconventional (and conventional) angles without giving the answers. You leave that to the readers to find their own conclusions. How do you strike that balance when writing?
I write about a lot of social issues – sex work, polyamory, homelessness – and I never want to be judgmental. I’m a Libra, so it feels natural for me to explore every angle – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and create a well-rounded picture to present to readers.
I need an answer to this one. Why the LA Kings? Please tell me. Of all the hockey teams. WHY MY TEAM?
Reference: the hockey player depicted in the Swap is a former LA Kings player. Let’s just say he doesn’t have such a great reputation or career.
Ha ha! How else was hockey player Max going to meet gorgeous LA influencer Freya?
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the structure and development of thrillers. How do you write them? What part comes to you first, and then how do you work around that first thought?
I always start with a premise and then build out the plot from there. I use a rough screenplay structure to make sure that I hit the right plot points at the right time. It really helps with the pacing of a thriller. And I create character profiles before I start writing, so I really know these people and how they’ll react in the dramatic situations they’ll face.
Thank you to Robyn Harding for this interview.
What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?
I’ve been lucky enough to read early copies of some of summer’s most anticipated books! I adored THE WHISPERS by Ashely Audrain and STRANGE SALLY DIAMOND by Liz Nugent.
You used to provide editing services. However, it is always hard to edit our own work. When editing, what is the hardest part for you to rewrite and/or cut?
I tend to write up, meaning I’ll write about 60,000 words as my rough draft, and as I edit and build the story, it grows to 90-95,000. I don’t tend to cut a lot in my thrillers, but I do rewrite. How much and how difficult that is depends on the book. I also love working with my publisher’s editors because I know they’ll have input and ideas I hadn’t thought of, and which will make the story so much better.
Who are your favorite contemporary colleagues?
I love the thriller-writing community so much! There are so many incredibly supportive authors that I feel fortunate to call friends. Just to name a few… Hannah Mary McKinnon, Jennifer Hillier, Roz Nay, Samantha M Bailey, Chevy Stevens, Liz Nugent, Ashely Audrain, Daniel Kalla, Wendy Walker, Kaira Rouda… I could go on and on.
What are your favorite books of the past five years?
I loved NOTES ON AN EXECUTION by Danya Kukafka, MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell, THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain, and AN UNTHINKABLE THING by Nicole Lundrigan. (I’m sure there are many more, but those jump into my mind.)
Taken From Robyn Harding’s Official Website (linked below)
Robyn Harding is the bestselling author of several novels, including The Drowning Woman, The Perfect Family, The Arrangement, Her Pretty Face, and The Party, which was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel. Her novel The Swap debuted at #1 on the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star Canadian bestsellers lists. She is also the screenwriter and executive producer of the independent film The Steps. She lives in Vancouver, BC, with her family and two cute but deadly rescue chihuahuas.