About the author
Kylie Kaden was raised in Queensland and is the author of two previous novels: Losing Kate and Missing You. She holds an honours degree in Psychology and works as a freelance writer and columnist. Her new book, The Day the Lies Began is a domestic noir-thriller that explores one of her favourite themes: why good people do bad things.
Your latest book, The Day The Lies Began is described as Big Little Lies meets The Party. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
I like to think of The Day the Lies Began as an emotional mystery. Unlike a crime novel that starts with a corpse and ends with a killer in handcuffs, this story takes us into the heart of the intricacies and loyalties between two ordinary couples under extraordinary strain.
Wife and mother Abbi, town cop Blake, schoolteacher Hannah and local doctor Will are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Abbi has a secret. Will she be able to keep it? When the truth washes in to their beachside community, so do the judgements: victim or vigilante, who will forgive, who will betray? Not all relationships survive, nor do all residents.
It’s filled with twists and turns and untruths as the reader is drip fed facts about the events that took place on the day of The Moon Festival – the day the lies began (for Abbi, at least).
It’s about truth and lies, good and bad, and how they can look the same – depending on where you’re looking out from. It’s about how sometimes doing wrong can feel completely right. Vague as heck? Apologies for the smoke and mirrors, but I’m afraid I can’t reveal too much…
What inspired the idea behind this novel?
I also liked the premise of having ordinary, law-abiding people in a fairly innocent situation, that quickly spirals out of control. It’s fairly common to protect ourselves or those we love in little ways, but at what point does it become not okay? How do lies affect trust in a marriage? Lying by omission? And white lies? You know what they say, trust dies but mistrust blossoms.
I wanted to put the relationship of a happily married couple in jeopardy with a moral dilemma that confronts readers with whether the choices made were right or wrong, then and later, and if and when the line was crossed. How would it play out if a decent person’s protective instinct overshadows any sense of what’s right or lawful?
What do you hope the reader will take away from this book?
I want readers to feel. Feel Involved, caught up, curious, conflicted. At times relaxed by the romance and humour or vexed by the behaviours of minor characters because of what we don’t yet know, or troubled by the tensions amongst friends.
I want them to relate as it explores the changing tides of the relationship between Abbi and Hannah as they try to rekindle their broken friendship as shifting loyalties, doubts and insecurities work to undermine it.
But most of all, I hope it makes readers think. Abbi is a devoted mum doing what’s best for her family, yet finds herself doing things most of us would consider ourselves incapable of. Can we really judge others without having first walked in their shoes?
By the end, we might reflect that despite taking steps to govern our own lives by free will (as Abbi attempts to control events that spiral out of control) often the results are simply out of our hands. Are we ever in control or does blind luck dictate how our lives turn out?
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
My writing approach is one of winging it most of the time, writing in bursts when inspired and letting the characters inform the story. I don’t plan my books – they evolve on the page organically and themes are layered into the story after the fact. I believe this way of writing produces a less contrived, less predictable narrative that’s therefore more satisfying, and more fun to write. (Seeing my lack of process as a process also makes me feel reassured when I’m half way through a book and have no idea what it’s about). I write in fits and starts and out of order. I abandon them until the muse hits then write compulsively, all of which would make most plotters hyperventilate.
My current work in progress delves into the lives of an eclectic bunch of neighbours inside an elitist gated community. Everyone’s got a theory on what really happened, but an Irish detective seeks to find the truth about how one of them gets hauled out of their estate on a stretcher…
You have an honours degree in psychology and in your books you place flawed, relatable characters in complex relationships and situations where you can ask the question – why do good people do bad things? Any idea why yet?
You’d think studying the human condition would have provided some insight on that one, but no. (Unfortunately my degrees haven’t helped me have one over the kids too often, either).
But I love pondering the things I can’t understand. If I had to have a crack, it has something to do with us all having the choice of perspective. I’d say many of us learn to survive by reframing our reality into a picture we can live with, and justify in our own heads. Self-talk can be a powerful thing – if only we could harness it for good instead of evil!