Colm strolled into my life fifteen years ago. If there's ever such a thing as love at first sight, that was it for us both.
A few weeks later we married, celebrating with those who cared, ignoring the raised eyebrows of the cynics.
We knew better. This was going to be forever. The dream come true. The happy ever after.
Until it wasn't.
Because a couple of months ago everything changed. We discovered a devastating truth, one that blew away our future and forced us to revisit our past, to test the bonds that were perhaps more fragile than they seemed.
So now I ask you again, what would you do if your husband slept with another woman?
Because this is what I did.
And this is the Story of Our Life...
23 Review Street:
Q&A with Shari Low
Hi Shari, I am so happy to have you on 23 Review Street today and to be part of your blog tour for your new book!
‘The Story of Our Life’ is the first book you have published by Aria Fiction. Can you tell us what it is about?
The book opens in 2001, when Shauna and Colm meet and fall in love at (almost!) first sight. The narrative then splits into two strands – we step back in time and follow their relationship over the next fifteen years, while in the present day, we learn that their lives have taken a devastating, and very unexpected turn. Page by page, we learn whether their years together have made them strong enough to deal with the situation they’re now facing.
There’s also a supporting cast of friends and family who are there for the ups, downs and dramas.
Where did you find the inspiration for ‘The Story of Our Life’?
As with all my novels, some of the storylines were inspired by real life. My husband asked me to marry him a week after we met and we’re still together over two decades later. Like Shauna, I live my whole life with a close circle of friends, who are usually to be found sitting around my kitchen table. That kitchen table has seen a whole load of laughter and a few tears over the years.
But the inspiration for the big storylines came from the idea that I wanted to write real characters with flaws and imperfections, and then test their love for each other when life delivers a heart-breaking turn of events.
Can there ever be mitigating circumstances for hurting those closest to you? And can love really forgive everything?
What is your favourite genre to read?
I’m outrageously unfaithful when it comes to genres. I can go straight from a historical thriller, to a dark crimefest, to a riotous romcom to an 80’s bonkbuster. As long as it’s well-written and a great story, I’m in.
Do you have a favourite author?
Many! I’ve been a devoted Jackie Collins fan since I was a teenager, and in later years, Jackie was incredibly supportive and encouraging. She was a true class act.
I also love anything by Marian Keyes, Harlan Coben, Jenny Colgan, Liane Moriarty, Jilly Cooper, Michael Connelly, Sidney Sheldon, Stephen King, Denise Mina… see what I mean about my unfaithfully diverse reading habits?
My favourite novels are, and always have been, Tai Pan and Noble House by James Clavell. They’re the only books I ever re-read, usually every couple of years, just to remind me of their brilliance.
I have just started to read ‘The Story of Our Life’, I am loving the story so far. Who was your favourite character to write about and why?
I adored Shauna and I absolutely fell in love with Colm. I make a point of falling in love with at least one character in every novel I write – it makes me so much keener to get to my desk every morning. I also had a great time writing Jess’s character as I have a soft-spot for people who are flawed and wanted everyone to understand why she acted the way that she did. However, my favourite character was Annie, Shauna’s strong, bolshy, hilarious grandmother. Everyone should have an Annie in their lives!
Every writer has a different routine daily, what is yours?
I have two things I must explain first:
a) I have teenagers
b) I don’t sleep much.
I take my sons to school at 8am, then go straight to my desk (which is in a cupboard next to my kitchen – so glam!) and work while the kids are at school. My sons are both basketball players who train most nights, so I take my laptop along and sit in sports centre car parks, typing away, while they’re inside. When I get home, I generally go back to my desk around 11pm and work until I fall asleep. I regularly wake up at 7am with my keyboard imprinted on my forehead.
If you had to sum up your writing in three words, what would they be?
Just. Like. Life.
And by that I mean it’s sometimes funny, sad, shocking, heart-breaking, joyous, sexy, dramatic, loving… Sorry. I realise I just used about fifteen extra words to explain my first three.
Thank you so much for joining us on 23 Review Street!
Thank you for having me!
The Story of Our Life is published by Aria, out July 1st.