She couldn’t imagine her parents reading it, let alone French people.
When Nelson author Roz Nay first signed a contract for her psychological thriller Our Little Secret with Simon & Schuster, she didn’t let herself imagine it being read by many people outside of the Kootenays.
But now it’s won an award in France — the Douglas Kennedy prize for best foreign thriller — and it hasn’t even come out in Canada yet. And that’s got her feeling a little giddy.
She’s even been fielding phone calls from the film industry, sniffing around to see if this will be the next Gone Girl.
“I’d never heard the term grip lit before, I was unaware that’s what I was writing, but apparently it’s quite a hot genre right now,” Nay told the Star in the lead-up to her Touchstones launch next Thursday.
“It’s amazing that my book is being linked to writers like Ruth Ware. She’s even written me a blurb, which everyone’s excited about.”
The Touchstones launch will be Nay’s chance to finally share her work with the community, and will feature two writers from L.V. Rogers, Eve Maslak and Daisy Morrison. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m.
Nay has been through the editorial wringer since first handing in her manuscript, having spent over a year working through edits and dramatically changing the narrative.
“It was a massive edit — the crime is different and the victim is different. It turned out I’d written the wrong story, but it was all the right scenes and characters and lines, just given to the wrong people.”
She was horrified when one edit chopped the length from 80,000 to a measly 40,000 words, leaving her to build it back up again.
“That’s a scary day, when you lose half your baby. But my editors, they’ve got lazer beam vision and I feel confident about what they see in my book, and about what it is now.”
Now the story is about a missing woman named Saskia, whereas it was originally about the abduction of a child, and the circumstances around her disappearance are mysterious. There’s a love triangle, involving the narrator Angela Petitjean, who is being interrogated by the police.
“She’s been brought in by the police station because they think she might know something about the disappearance, and the readers have to figure out whether she does know or doesn’t, whether she’s lying or isn’t, whether she’s a pawn in the game of someone else’s revenge.”
The story she tells “is not the one the detective asked for.”
And who would Nay cast in the role of Angela, if her book successfully gets turned into a movie? Marion Cotillard.
“Or maybe Rooney Mara, someone like that, somebody edgy but totally relatable. Most of the things she says make sense to me. She’s complicated, but I think people will align with her.”
Really, Angela is a thinly veiled version of Nay herself.
“She finds the world difficult in all the same ways I do. She’s quite death-obsessed, she sees it everywhere, and she thinks people are hiding things. And I think generally they are.”