I am delighted to be sharing a Question and Answer today with the author of The Second Cup Sarah Marie Graye. I read this book as part of the blog tour by Rachel At Rachel’s Random Resources, so when the chance to pose a few questions to the author came up I was definitely interested.
First Anniversary Blog Blitz: The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye
The Second Cup was originally published on 19 July 2017. The extended edition (includes character interviews) was published on 12 February 2018.
Amazon book page: https://getbook.at/SecondCup
Amazon author page: https://author.to/SarahMarieGraye
Lets see what the book is about first:
Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
Faye knows her heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She also knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.
Faye is left wondering how to move forward – and whether or not Jack’s best friend Ethan will let her down again. And the news of Jack’s death ripples through the lives of her friends too.
Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and wondering if she was right to leave her first love behind. Poor Olivia is juggling her job and her boyfriend and trying to deal with a death of her own. And Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest, even though she never knew him.
Is Beth about to take her own life too?
Question and Answer:
As I mentioned earlier I had the chance to read The Second Cup (my review here) so when the chance came to pose a few questions to Sarah I definitely wanted to know more. I have experienced depression from the stress of work, and life, I was lucky to see a Doctor who was able to see and help me. My issues were diagnosed and dealt with over a period of time, but the experience has made me aware of how quickly things can spiral into a down. It has left me with a sense of being more aware of how important your own mental health is and how you need to look after that and not just your physical health.
Q: You’re open about suffering from mental health issues. How can authors help readers understand such issues?
A: If you write a character in the first person that has mental health issues, you are effectively allowing the reader to step inside their head and experience it for themselves.
If your reader is capable of empathy (and I like to believe that most people are) then they are able to put themselves in the position of that character and gain an understanding of what it must feel like for your own brain to be your enemy.
Q: How do you think society views suicide?
A: I think society is getting better at accepting suicide, especially when there are high profile cases, such as the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. If those who supposedly “want for nothing” can choose to end their lives, then it suggests that suicide is driven by something else.
For me, the biggest problem is that suicide is still viewed as being “selfish”. Many of those who take their own lives put their affairs in order first and take great pains to write a note explaining how this is nobody else’s fault – that nobody is to blame. These actions aren’t the actions of someone being selfish.
Q: What is the most important aspect of the story that you are trying to convey to the reader?
A: That picking up the pieces can be difficult, but it’s always worth it. Life can be really tough and bad things do happen to good people. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the way forward and to keep ourselves going. Each of my characters goes through their own issues but manages to come out the other side – more than a little battered and bruised, yes, but they still make it.
Q: What significance does the new cover of The Second Cup hold?
A: The original cover was chosen by my hybrid publisher. I was really unhappy with it because I felt it suggested a ghost story! When we parted ways, it was the perfect opportunity for me to pick something that I felt worked for the story.
At the heart of the story is the butterfly effect: the idea that you can be affected by something that happens to someone else – and in this case the suicide of someone you either didn’t know or haven’t seen for years.
A butterfly in a jar doesn’t stop being beautiful just because they’re trapped. Many of us are trapped or limited by our circumstances, but it’s still up to us how much we live, how much we spread our wings, within these limitations.
Q: What is next step on your literary journey?
I’m currently working on my second novel, The Victoria Lie, which will be out soon – it’s currently with my editor!
The Victoria Lie is the second book “The Butterfly Effect” series. Both Beth and Faye from The Second Cup feature in the book, but the main story focuses on a different group of friends. This time it’s the actions of one of these friends that are the catalyst, rather than the focus coming from outside the group.
During the writing process for book two, I’ve realised I have another story to tell about two of the friends, which I’m now planning as book three. The plan is still very fluid at the moment, but I’m hopeful that the initial idea is strong enough to work!
Thank you so much for your answers Sarah. I think society definitely has taken baby steps towards being more understanding. It helps that people are more open with their own experiences and are willing to talk about them, in doing this it breaks down the stigma that is attached. I also love this new cover, it says so much more than the previous one. I can’t wait to read The Victoria Lie and I wish you all the very best with that and also future writing xx
About the Author:
Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester in 1975, to English Catholic parents. To the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing, until aged nine, when she was diagnosed with depression.
It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision, including the one to write a novel.
Sarah Marie wrote The Second Cup as part of an MA Creative Writing practice as research degree at London South Bank University – where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder.
Sarah Marie was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017 and published an extended edition of The Second Cup in February 2018 that included character interviews so she could diagnose one of her characters with the same condition.
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