Thursday, April 25, 2013

Silent Saturday reviewed in Flanders

When I wrote my first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, which is set in the real town of Bad Münstereifel in Germany, I was occasionally asked what the locals in the town thought of my literary efforts. After all, I had taken their gorgeous and quaint mediaeval tourist town and turned it into a nest of ghosts, monsters and serial killers! Thankfully nobody seems to have been offended (hopefully my deep affection for the place shone through anyway).

I am always interested to know how my books will be received in their real-life locations. I try to be sensitive in the way I portray the settings - for example, I did not think any real Flemish village would want to be associated with the killer in Silent Saturday, so I never named the village in the book, and I deliberately fudged some of the topographical details to ensure that the village was not identified as a real one. However, I set my books in places I know and love, and I hope that my interest in these real-life settings is obvious from the inclusion of local details.

I chose to go over to Belgium to launch Silent Saturday, and whilst I was there I did a series of interviews with local English-language media.

The most recent article about the book is in Flanders Today, a weekly newspaper published in English and with a vibrant cultural section. I'm relieved to see that journalist Rebecca Benoot says that "For a temporary resident, Grant has created a surprisingly accurate portrait of the area, using real-life settings such as the number 44 tram, De Lijn buses and the Zonien Forest, not to mention the incorporation of the language divide in Belgium..." You can read the article here:
Flanders Today Murder Mystery And Mayhem

Meanwhile Fans of Flanders have run a "meet the expat author" interview which you can read here:
Fans of Flanders Meet The Author
Fans of Flanders is a multi-media initiative to spread the word about Flemish culture and attractions to those who haven't learnt Flemish yet. In the interview, I've chatted a bit about my favourite aspects of Flemish culture and also the challenge of writing a book with a Flemish heroine when I myself am British!

Finally, here's a podcast of a radio interview I did with Radio X, a new English-language station in Belgium:
Radio X Silent Saturday podcast
As well as talking about the book, I have read a short excerpt from chapter one, which you can hear right at the end of the interview!

Above: here's one Belgian cultural icon we all recognise! 

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