To mark the release of Love, Lie, Repeat, author Catherine Greer shares with us the inspiration behind her YA thriller, the books that shaped her as an adult and facing your fears.
What inspired you to write LOVE LIE REPEAT?
I live in Sydney’s upper north shore: a world of private schools and privilege, opportunity and competition. I wanted to write about girls and mothers, about the pressure to be perfect, and why we hurt the people we love.
Who would enjoy reading LOVE LIE REPEAT?
Readers who love psychological family dramas, twisty-turn-y thrillers (without the gore), and beautiful, thoughtful writing. It’s fast-paced and compulsive!
What’s your favourite part of the novel?
I love watching Annie draw the reader deeper into her tangled past. She gives ME the chills! My favourite line is when she thinks, Girls may be good at forgiving, but they never ever forget.
What three pieces of advice would you give your teenage self?
- You get more of what you focus on.
- You are not for everyone. (No one is!)
- You can’t start smarter. You can only start where you are.
Do you think the books you read when you were younger have had an impact on the adult you have become?
Absolutely. At fourteen, I fell in love with Margaret Atwood’s poetry. It was angry and beautiful; it expressed perfectly all the constraints I felt as a female but couldn’t articulate.
Do you know how to charm anyone in a room?
Honestly? Yes. My earliest experiences taught me that there is power in beauty. It’s what I tried to capture in Love Lie Repeat– a girl who knows she’s beautiful and powerful yet struggles to trust love.
Is lying OK if it’s to protect someone else?
How provocative! The short answer, I suppose, is that everyone lies. Usually we lie to be kind, but for certain people (or characters) lying becomes a habit. Or it becomes…dangerous.
Would you consider yourself fearless?
I’m laughing. No. I’m afraid of almost everything – criticism and failure spring to mind! But I have this weird instinct to run towards what frightens me. An interesting story: my father wanted to immigrate to Australia in the 1950s but my mother wouldn’t go. Fifty years later, I met a Canadian naval officer who was joining the Royal Australian Navy. He asked me to marry him and move to Australia. In a few months, I changed everything about my life. I gave up my country and, in some ways, my identity. That took courage.
What should every woman try at least once in her life?
Letting her hair go grey.
What brings you the greatest joy?
Walking on the white sand beach at Hyams with my husband. Working on a novel on my patio in Sydney with a cup of black coffee. My hilarious teenage sons! I also love blogging – it’s a joy to share what I’ve learned every week with my readers around the world.
What is on your bookshelf?
I grew up in Canada and I have two degrees in English, so of course I love the classics and I was raised on Canadian literature – Atwood, Robertson Davies, Timothy Findley. In Canada, at every dinner party people talk about books. Then at thirty, I immigrated to Australia and had the opportunity to read through the novels of an entirely new culture and country: Tim Winton, Patrick White, Kate Grenville. Vosscompletely slayed me. And I absolutely love the Harp in the Southtrilogy. For me, Ruth Parks and Kate Grenville explained the spirit of Sydney. I’ve been profoundly influenced by both Canadian and Australian writers.
My all-time favourite books are Atwood’s Power Politics, Faulkner’s Light in August, Alessandro Baricco’s Silk, Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept,Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre(a childhood favourite!), and a ton of non-fiction books. I love buying books and I also use my local library. I’ve tried Kindle but…nope. Not for me.
Catherine Greer lives in Sydney with her husband and two teenage sons. Catherine started her career as an English teacher at a private high school on Vancouver Island, Canada. After she immigrated to Australia, she built a freelance copywriting business. When she isn’t writing YA novels and other books for children, she runs a happiness blog, focusing on positive psychology. Catherine was a collaborating author with Stephanie Dowrick on Choosing Happiness (Allen & Unwin), and her debut picture book, Jacaranda Snow, will bepublished by Wombat Books.