I’m Fascinated by Cults: Q&A with In the Clearing Author, J.P. Pomare

I’m Fascinated by Cults: Q&A with In the Clearing Author, J.P. Pomare

In the Clearing is a dark, chilling, atmospheric thriller. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?

It’s the story of a woman Freya and a girl Amy. Freya is always wearing a mask. Who is doing everything she can to fit in with the yoga mums and others in her community. She lives with her son, whom she would do anything to protect, and her guard dog on the edge of a national park. Amy on the other hand had only known life inside Blackmarsh, a new age cult. She is in her teens and is beginning to wonder what life is like outside of the clearing, where she lives with her ten sisters and brothers. When a new girl is ‘collected’ and brought to live with them, Amy gets more insight into the world outside and decides to take matters into her own hands.

What inspired the idea behind this novel?

This story was heavily inspired by ‘The Family’ cult which was active in Victoria from the sixties to the nineties. I was fascinated by the fact it is one of the only well-known cults to be founded by a women, and also the deep ties the cult had to the medical and academic world in Australia.

What is something that has influenced you as a writer?

In recent times I’ve been heavily influenced by films and documentaries. I always felt like it was cheating to take inspiration from the narrative arts outside of books but the narrative structure of In The Clearing was really inspired by the TV show Westworld. And I’ve been really influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, re-watching many of his films with an eye for the way he used misdirection and sleight of hand to set up twists and keep the viewer engaged.

What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?

I try to write for a few hours during the day at least, then go for a run in the afternoon, or read a book. Then after dinner I will try to get another hour or two in before bed. If I am sleeping well and hitting my stride I might write for ten to twelve hours in a day. I’m working on book three at the moment which is a thriller about a couple who decide to list their place on Airbnb for the first time. After the guests check out they notice everything is a little bit different inside their home.

What were some of your favourite reads of 2019?

I loved A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop, which is such an important book to read at the moment given the recent bushfires. I also loved Preservation by Jock Serong. He can’t miss, every Jock Serong book is a winner. I loved The Wife and The Widow by Christian White who is shaping up to be a very big name in crime fiction. I also loved Michael Robotham’s latest Good Girl, Bad Girl. The Mother in-law by Sally Hepworht was another fantastic read and no 2019 list would be complete without Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid which I listened to as an audiobook and adored.

Reviews

A Smart, Superbly Plotted Page-Turner: Take a Sneak Peek at In the Clearing by J.P. Pomare

Review | Extract

14 January 2020

A Smart, Superbly Plotted Page-Turner: Take a Sneak Peek at In the Clearing by J.P. Pomare

    With In the Clearing, J.P. Pomare has Officially Arrived: Read our Review

    Review | Our Review

    13 January 2020

    With In the Clearing, J.P. Pomare has Officially Arrived: Read our Review

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                Publisher details

                In the Clearing
                Author
                J. P. Pomare
                Publisher
                Hachette
                Released
                31 December, 2019
                ISBN
                9781869713393

                Synopsis

                How far would you go to protect your family?Amy has only ever known life in the Clearing. She knows what's expected of her. She knows what to do to please her elders, and how to make sure the community remains happy and calm. That is, until a new young girl joins the group. She isn't fitting in; she doesn't want to stay. What happens next will turn life as Amy knows it on its head.Freya has gone to great lengths to feel like a 'normal person'. In fact, if you saw her go about her day with her young son, you'd think she was an everyday mum. That is, until a young girl goes missing and someone from her past, someone she hasn't seen for a very long time, arrives in town.As secrets of the past bubble up to the surface, this small town's dark underbelly will be exposed and lives will be destroyed.
                J. P. Pomare
                About the author

                J. P. Pomare

                J.P. Pomare is an award-winning writer who has had work published in journals including Meanjin, Kill Your DarlingsTakahe and Mascara Literary Review. He has hosted the On Writing podcast since 2015 featuring bestselling authors from around the globe. He was born in New Zealand and resides in Melbourne with his wife. Call Me Evie is his first novel.

                Books by J. P. Pomare

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