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September book of the month: Fierce by Gin Phillips. Read ahead of the author webchat on 26 September, 9pm

(72 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Sep-18 16:14:56

Our September book of the month is Fierce by Gin Phillips. It's been described by bookclub blogger Max and Mummy as "a small but mighty book that will leave you holding your breath as the story unfolds".

Joan and her four year old son Lincoln are about to head home after a trip to their local zoo. On their way to the exit Joan is stopped in her path by an unsettling noise in the distance. She immediately senses that all is not as it should be. What follows is an examination of their movements over the next three hours within the confines of the zoo.

As Joan races to protect Lincoln from imminent and very real danger, she is confronted by the every day needs of her young son; loo stops, hunger pangs and his inability to stay quiet, even at the most crucial moment.

This is a nail-biting, fast paced novel that will make you question how would you respond if you were no longer able to protect your child from danger. As Joan responds to what unfolds, the novel examines our animal instinct and the ferocity of maternal love.

Find out what our bloggers thought and read an extract of Fierce, then buy a copy and join us in reading ahead of the webchat with author Gin Phillips on this thread on Wednesday 26 September, 9pm.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Oct-18 12:59:25

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo

Just out of interest, who won the competition?

It's never me grin

SO sorry for tardiness blush just drawing names out of the Mumsnet hat now

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 05-Oct-18 13:33:52

Thank you for the tip smile I was genuinely just being curious. I normally buy the audiobook. But for 99p I might be persuaded to read actual words myself grin

WrongSideOfHistory Fri 05-Oct-18 12:18:15

@WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo - this months book is 99p on kindle last time I checked, so you're not hugely missing out if you didn't win smile

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Fri 05-Oct-18 12:01:42

Just out of interest, who won the competition?

It's never me grin

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 26-Sep-18 22:06:23

That brings us to the end of the hour. Thanks hugely Gin for answering our questions. It's been an honour having you here tonight and such a pleasure reading your answers to the questions about the book. Afraid I have no idea about NBA but loved hearing about your office. We hope you'll continue to write such great stories there and please do come back and talk to us about your next novel.

Thanks everyone for joining tonight. We'll shortly be announcing the winners of next month's book of the month: Mother by Hannah Begbie.

Goodnight all x

MakemineaGandT Wed 26-Sep-18 22:03:20

Thank you Gin - really enjoyed reading your thoughts! Am amazed you haven’t had any questions/comments from US audiences on gun laws.....still, you will have provoked thought which can only be a good thing.

miketv Wed 26-Sep-18 22:02:07

Thanks Gin - that was great smile

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:58:04

Thanks so much, everyone! I really enjoyed this!

SallySwann Wed 26-Sep-18 21:57:31

Do you have another book in the pipeline?

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:57:30

RachelMumsnet

Gin - I know there's still a few questions to get through but before we finish can we put to you the questions that we ask all our book of the month authors:

What was your favourite childhood book? The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, closely followed by A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle.

What was the last book you gave to someone as a gift? I just sent someone a copy of Dr. Seuss' Daisy Head Mayzie today. The day before I sent someone a hilarious, wise book about race and family called Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson. I give a lot of books.

What was the last book you read? I'm in the middle of The Luminaries. Just finished a micro memoir by Beth Ann Fennelly called Heating & Cooling. It was brilliant.

Can you describe the room(s) where you wrote Fierce?

I work in a small office with a lovely view of an old golf course and a lot of trees. I have a painting of Dolly Parton on the wall, plus a lot of family photos. I have giant cardboard heads hanging from the wall, specifically of my son and Steph Curry (an NBA player--is he just as famous in the UK?).

MamaCBear Wed 26-Sep-18 21:53:54

Thanks Gin, some really interesting Q&A tonight.

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:53:06

Belo

I've made good progress and I'm almost 2/3 of my way through the book now. I'm finding it so tense! They are now in the locked room in the kitchen. I keep thinking why don't they just stay there till the police come? I know that's not going to happen as there is still good chunk of the book left to read…

I'm putting the book down now until the morning... if I carry on with it I'll get so tense I'll never sleep!

One last quick question before I go, are you writing another book and will it be as tense as this one?!

I'm finishing up the first draft of my next book, which will certainly have some tense elements...but not this tense, I'm afraid! I'm not sure I could quite match the pace of this one again.

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:51:51

Heather2gether

Thanks Gin - and mumsnet for the book - like others I found it impossible to put down and read it in one sitting. Was this your intention?

I'm also interested to know your thoughts on the gun laws in the US.

Quick answer to the couple of questions on gun laws: We are absolutely moronic about them in the U.S. That said, I think it's easy to misread the U.S. as one homogenous group. Literally everyone I know believes we should have stricter laws in place--waiting periods, background checks, bans on certain ammunition and semi-automatic weapons. (And I live in a state that voted for Trump overwhelmingly. Sigh.)The gun lobby is incredibly powerful, but I do believe most Americans want to see smarter laws.

Belo Wed 26-Sep-18 21:48:52

I've made good progress and I'm almost 2/3 of my way through the book now. I'm finding it so tense! They are now in the locked room in the kitchen. I keep thinking why don't they just stay there till the police come? I know that's not going to happen as there is still good chunk of the book left to read…

I'm putting the book down now until the morning... if I carry on with it I'll get so tense I'll never sleep!

One last quick question before I go, are you writing another book and will it be as tense as this one?!

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:47:57

miketv

Hi - do you think Joan was right to tell Lincoln that the bad men would kill them? That would probably make older children behave but younger ones perhaps can't grasp the gravity of the situation?

Hmmm. No one has ever asked this question. I like it. I think that's a moment here she doubts herself, and where the reader, too, is right to wonder. Like most of her choices, she's making a call in a very short period of time under great stress. I think she tries to speak to Lincoln in language he knows--good and evil. Life and death. Superhero kind of stuff. I tend to think she made the right call--she had to do her best to get him quiet and obedient as soon as possible.

Celama Wed 26-Sep-18 21:47:54

Thanks Rachel and thanks Gin. It would be great to see it made into a film so good luck with that.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 26-Sep-18 21:47:26

Gin - I know there's still a few questions to get through but before we finish can we put to you the questions that we ask all our book of the month authors:

What was your favourite childhood book?

What was the last book you gave to someone as a gift?

What was the last book you read?

Can you describe the room(s) where you wrote Fierce?

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:45:01

Paulastribe

I've been recommending Fierce to lots of friends. For me that it really captures the irrevocable love you feel for your child and desire to protect them - as well as being a great thriller. I'm a big fan of domestic noir novels . Gin - are you? and who do you have any recommendations for other novels or authors?

So something I'm a little sheepish about is that I wrote a thriller accidentally. I didn't think of it as a thriller until editors started using the label. I thought I'd written a story about motherhood. A really fast-paced story about motherhood, granted. I don't read a lot of thrillers.

But I love Clare Mackintosh.

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:41:40

MamaCBear

I definitely felt that I could relate to Lincoln's behaviour. To some it might have seemed an unnecessary risk to go for the snacks however I could totally imagine my own 4 year old becoming unbearable if he was hungry!

Yes, there's a point where you cannot pacify them any longer. Blood sugar, at some stage, trumps everything else!

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:40:18

Jenniferturkington

I liked the teacher being bought in to the story. The line ‘she didn’t give anyone else any orange’ struck a chord with me (a teacher) as it highlights that children don’t remember the endless maths & English lessons so much as the small stuff that makes them feel special.

Which teacher left a lasting mark in your memory and how?

Ah, I love to talk about teachers. The orange bit is a favorite one of mine, too, because I do think we never know the ways we touch someone. That's especially true of teachers. We never know which moments will ripple through for years to come. I had several teachers who I adored...when I got married at 32 years old, I had two high school teachers and two middle school teachers at my wedding. I talk to them regularly.

MamaCBear Wed 26-Sep-18 21:38:40

I definitely felt that I could relate to Lincoln's behaviour. To some it might have seemed an unnecessary risk to go for the snacks however I could totally imagine my own 4 year old becoming unbearable if he was hungry!

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:37:59

FernieB

Gin - I agree about the phone. I felt Joan was finding it an irritant anyway. If you had a phone you'd constantly be checking for updates and it would be incredibly frustrating to have no new information (as Paul kept saying "they won't tell us anything"). All Joan found was news of a flood. Better to be without it than be constantly disappointed by what the phone tells you.

I might also add that I suspect plenty of us are familiar (in less dramatic ways) with having a gut response to husbands of "Would you please stop texting me with all these questions?! I am in the middle of something important!"

Paulastribe Wed 26-Sep-18 21:36:23

I've been recommending Fierce to lots of friends. For me that it really captures the irrevocable love you feel for your child and desire to protect them - as well as being a great thriller. I'm a big fan of domestic noir novels . Gin - are you? and who do you have any recommendations for other novels or authors?

GinPhillips Wed 26-Sep-18 21:35:19

[quote RachelMumsnet]

Celama

Hi Gin,
Lincoln just didn’t ring true for his age to me and he was very much PFB which really bugs me.
My personal preference would have been to have the story told more fully from other peoples experiences rather than concentrating on Joan and my question is, did you consider an alternative ending where we maybe found out what had happened to everyone, both mentioned in the story and those not mentioned or outside waiting for news?

To translate to Gin: PFB = precious first born - possibly something you're not aware of unless you frequent the Mumsnet discussion boards smile

I think I've touched on the ending already--it was very important to me that it not tie up too neatly. And, for me, this was always Joan and Lincoln's story. They are the core. As for Lincoln not ringing true, try to avoid saying that around my friends and family. It's the one criticism of the book that brings a rush of objections.

One of the great pleasures of writing the book was that it let me capture my son exactly as he was at four. For anyone who knows him, I promise that Lincoln feels pretty real.

FernieB Wed 26-Sep-18 21:31:16

Gin - I agree about the phone. I felt Joan was finding it an irritant anyway. If you had a phone you'd constantly be checking for updates and it would be incredibly frustrating to have no new information (as Paul kept saying "they won't tell us anything"). All Joan found was news of a flood. Better to be without it than be constantly disappointed by what the phone tells you.

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