Saturday, June 5, 2021

Soraya M. Lane

Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn't the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women's fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

Lane lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she's not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

Lane's new novel is The Secrets We Left Behind.

My Q&A with the author:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I think it does a lot! The story is all about being left behind - in this case during the evacuation of Dunkirk during WWII. and what these women face during that time… trust me, there are some terrifying secrets they left behind!!

Originally when I pitched the book I just called it The Girls of Dunkirk, but my editor told me she felt that title was too light for the content of the book. It became a very emotional, big story, and we went back and forth with ideas until I sent her this one - and she immediately said: “Yes, this is the one!”

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

I think my teenage self would just be so impressed that I managed to make my dream a reality - I wanted to be a published author from my early teens! I loved reading historical fiction then, my mom let me read all her books so I was reading very grown up fiction at a young age. I love that she never censored what I could read, because it allowed me to read widely. I think the young me would be really proud that I’m writing about brave, incredible women, and giving them a voice.

My favorite subjects as a teen were English and History, with a special interest in WWII… I think the surprise would be that my teenage self learnt so much about history, but was never taught about the amazing things women did during the war.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

This is a really interesting question for me - I often picture both the beginning and ending when I first come up with a new idea. I don’t start writing until I can see the opening scene playing through my mind like a scene from a movie. Because that’s so clear in my mind, I don’t often change it, so it stays very much the same. With the end, my editors always seem to make me change it! I usually find this a very hard thing to do, but once I’ve re-written it, I always prefer the new version. It’s usually about going deeper with my characters and really giving the reader the most satisfying epilogue we can. I’m a huge fan of the epilogue!

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

The film Dunkirk. I just loved the movie, but at the end I found myself wondering where all the women were! I started my research that night and became absolutely obsessed with this moment in history… and when I found out that there were women involved, I knew I had to write the story. It was such a brilliant film in terms of sharing such an important moment in history, and I then felt it was my duty to tell the story from the female perspective.
Visit Soraya Lane's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Secrets We Left Behind.

--Marshal Zeringue