Guest Chick: Sandra Wong

We’re super-excited to welcome Sandra Wong today to talk about siblings, because she’s a delight, of course, but also because she has a book to send to one lucky commenter. If you win, you *could* choose to send the copy of IN THE DARK WE FORGET to one of your siblings, but why in the world would you?? Keep that treasure for yourself! Sandra will choose someone randomly from the commenters and post the winner’s name at the end of the comments so either drop your email address with your comment, or check back to see if you won.

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Becky! I’m happy to be an honourary Chick for the day.

In 1996 or thereabouts, my then-boyfriend and I invited friends to draw on and generally deface an interior wall in our apartment. The wall in question had had an incredibly ugly faux-stone face for years before we arrived on the scene, and we were the lucky renters who were getting it replaced. But between the removal of the old and the painting of the new, we thought we’d indulge our inner graffiti artists. And so an epic party was born.

While I could still remember, I took a photo of one of my drawings for posterity. I actually got it developed—remember that?—but then promptly packed it away and forgot all about it. A few years ago, I rediscovered it in a box while searching for something else.

I copied this funny little doodle freehand from an entry in a book on Japanese onomatopoeia. It was part of a schoolyard scene to illustrate the expression for ‘a great noisy crowd,’ I think. Anyway, I remember as soon as I saw it in the book, I thought of my brother. We never quite had a knock-down-drag-em-out fight like this, but we certainly had more than our fair share of arguments while growing up in the same houses together. You can guess from the labels in the photo who 1996-me believed routinely lost out in those long-ago altercations!

Families are infinitely interesting to me as a fiction writer. When I set out to write my first suspense novel, IN THE DARK WE FORGET, I had no idea that married couples were the norm in the genre. I naturally gravitated toward exploring a family of four, with the sibling relationship at its active centre. It wasn’t until I spoke with my now-agent that I heard my take might be a less-explored angle on a popular subgenre. And yes, of course, mine is far from the only suspense/thriller dealing with sibs. LIKE A SISTER by Kellye Garrett and THE BETTER SISTER by Alafair Burke are immediate examples that come to mind as I write this post. I know we all can list more titles, too, ’cause it’s a great, robust genre.

Siblings are intriguing to me because they’re the very definition of people thrown together by circumstance. And in close quarters, at that. As children, siblings are often violent with one another, in both body and speech. How does that form a child’s approach to making friends? To making peer attachments in general? How well can one sibling know another? What are the many ways they might grow apart—or closer together?

In IN THE DARK WE FORGET, I really enjoyed poking at the bonds between my protagonist and her younger brother, at exploring how far I could stretch them before one of them broke.

That’s the crime writer part of me, anyway. In real life, I’m happy to leave my older brother to his own devices. He’s kind of a big teddy bear, and we’re both way beyond him sitting on top of me til I cry “Give!” but still, I’m in no hurry to poke him.

Just reply in the comments to this question to be entered into the drawing for the book: What’s a favourite prank you’ve pulled on a sibling? (And if you don’t have a sib(s), then feel free to substitute a cousin or friend.)

Open to US and Canada. Comment by midnight ET today to enter.

In The Dark We Forget releases June 21st. More details, and pre-ordering, available here.

Here’s the Bookshop link if you’d like to support local indie booksellers through Bookshop.org.

Sandra SG Wong (she/her) writes fiction across genres and is a multiple crime fiction awards nominee. A speaker, mentor, and hybrid (indie/trad) author, Sandra is Immediate Past President of Sisters in Crime and a proud member of Crime Writers of Color. Connect with her: Twitter @S_G_Wong, Instagram @sgwong8, and sgwong.com.

Some things are better left forgotten . . . 

When a woman wakes up with amnesia beside a mountain highway, confused and alone, she fights to regain her identity, only to learn that her parents have vanished—not long after her mother bought a winning $47 million lottery ticket. 

As her memories painfully resurface and the police uncover details of her parents’ mysterious disappearance, Cleo Li finds herself under increasing suspicion. Even with the unwavering support of her brother, she can’t quite reconcile her fears with reality or keep the harrowing nightmares at bay. 

As Cleo delves deeper for the truth, she cannot escape the nagging sense that maybe the person she should be afraid of…is herself.

With jolting revelations and taut ambiguity, In the Dark We Forget vividly examines the complexities of family—and the lies we tell ourselves in order to survive. 

55 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Sandra Wong

  1. Thanks for an interesting post, Sandra. Please enter me in today’s giveaway.
    I am an only child, so I don’t have a sibling story for you. But I can tell you of an amazing coincidence. I am currently working on the latest book in my Natalie McMasters Mysteries series. It’s title? Sister! (the exclamation point is part of the title). As a devoted pantser, I have been having some difficulty crafting the relationship between Nattie and her previously unknown evil twin, probably partly because I don’t have a sibling relationship of my own to draw on for inspiration. So I’ll be eagerly awaiting the responses of others to your question. One may supply just the inspiration I’ve been seeking.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I didn’t really pull pranks but I have 3 brothers and the oldest one loved to do stuff to me. One Christmas he got a Creepy Crawler maker and I came home from some event late and tired and crawled into bed and it was full of bugs, mostly spiders as I hate them the most. I am screaming and he is laughing his butt off. Thank you so much for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sigh. I wish my siblings were that mature. One of them gave my 8yo son a fart machine. It made rude noises and was small enough to be hidden around the house. Didn’t know he had it for a while.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Sandra: I am sooo looking forward to reading your first thriller!
    I’m an only child and had no cousins near me growing up in Toronto.

    I am not usually one for pranks but we had a real jokester at one workplace in Ottawa. To get back at him for playing a nasty prank on me, I upped the ante. I duct-taped all his office gadgets (e.g. stapler, tape dispenser, chair) and filled his empty filing cabinet drawer with those styrofoam peanuts.

    I learned a lot of French swear words that morning, lol.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Congrats on the upcoming release, Sandra! I’m the youngest of 8, so I think my older sibs pranked me more than I ever pranked one old them. On the other hand, they complained that since I was the baby, I had it easiest. Maybe that was my biggest prank of all!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Welcome, Sandra. I didn’t pull many (if any) pranks on my siblings. I’m the oldest of four and the they are 4, 6, and almost 8 years younger. I spent a lot of my time growing up trying to avoid them. Especially in the teenage years when I really wanted to be “cool,” which did not include having a baby sister tagging along.

    We’re much closer now. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Liz, I’m five years older than my sister and nine years older than my brother. We’re good friends now, but growing up they were were either interfering with my social life when I had to babysit, or they were embarrassing me in front of my friends. I was your typical self-absorbed teen!
        Sandra, thanks for visiting Chicks, and congrats on the new book!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Liz! Thanks for the welcome. I WAS that baby sister so I’d have to side with her..! Seriously, though, it all comes out in the wash, esp. as we all mature, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fun memories, Sandra! At age ten, I had the bright idea my eight-year-old brother could serve as the test pilot for my latest money-making invention: a thrill ride we could charge our neighborhood gang a quarter per ride.

    We strung a rope from the top of our 20-foot tall swing set to the tree trunk on the other side of the chain-link fence. My brother zoomed down the zipline but failed to lift his legs high enough to clear the fence.

    Smarter and branded with a bragging scar, he never volunteered again. (I’ll save the BB-gun incident for another day.)

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I don’t remember many “pranks,” but my two older brothers would often gang up on me–both verbally and physically–and even had an “I Hate Leslie Club.” I know, because I still have the rule book they wrote. And according the baby book my mother made for me as an infant, my first word was “help.” But we all get along just fine, now!

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Sandra, and congrats on the new book!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ouch! “Brotherly love” can be so harsh. I’m glad you’ve all made up now, phew. And thanks for the felicitations! 🙂

      Like

  7. “A great noisy crowd” sure sums up my family life! With eight of us kids I’m sure there were puhLENTY of pranks going around, but the only one I remember is when one of my older sisters convinced me that “clavicle” was a dirty word. And my parents were right there!!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Family dynamics are very interesting. My three siblings and I have always been close, especially the two sisters who are just slightly younger than me. My little brother is 13 years my junior (1st day of kindergarten for him and 1st day of University for me was on the same day in 1983) There were tons of pranks, games and adventures, but I had no idea the impact my words and actions had on my younger siblings. Some put me into hero status, and others caused pain for a lot of years until we talked them out.
    I’m working on a dystopian, Alberta based novel that includes birth order as a factor for leadership (think of the old aristocratic way the oldest got the title etc) in a society where gender, race etc. issues seems to have been finally resolved, only to be replaced by a new (old) form of repression. I’m spending a lot of time thinking about this topic.
    Congratulations on the upcoming release Sandra.
    I’m looking forward to reading it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Scott! I remember those sibling order-of-birth & behaviour books/theories, and how closely some families hewed to them while others were wildly divergent. Just goes to show how difficult it is to categorize humans. Which is why so many of us are writers, I suspect. Good luck with the novel!

      Like

  9. Welcome to Chicks, Sandra–we’re so happy you’re here today! And your novel sounds AMAZING!!! I am fascinated with sibling relationships also–I’m currently working on 2 different mss that involve sisters. I’m afraid I don’t have any prank stories to share–I hate pranks in general, and I hide on April Fool’s Day. My one sibling–a sister–is 16 years older than I am (waving to her right now!) so we were pretty much “only children” growing up. We live on opposite coasts, but we have always been close (and very different–we don’t even look alike, lol!).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad to hear you’re close in affections if not in geography or apparent biology, Lisa! Good luck with the two books. Sibs can be endlessly fascinating, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for being on the Chicks today, Sandra! Sibling relationships are always so interesting to me.

    I pulled an inadvertent prank on my older brother in high school. One morning, my alarm went off, and I woke him up in a frantic rush. We were going to be late! Except I’d forgotten I had deliberately changed the time on the clock (added an hour) to make sure we’d finally be on time to class…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. One of my favorites wasn’t really a prank. We were camping, and my dad and brother were coming back from the public showers. I decided at the last minute to hide in our trailer’s bathroom and jump out and say boo. It was so last minute that they saw me. My brother came running in yelling “We saw you!” He pulled open the door, and I still leaned forward and yelled “Boo!” He jumped and slammed the door in my face. There were towel bars on the door, and one of them hit me hard in the forehead. Later, when we moved the towel on the bar, we saw the dent in the towel bar that was made when that happened.

    The dent was still there when my parents sold the trailer years later.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Sandra, welcome! Your book sounds absolutely AMAZING, and I love the exploration of sibling relationships.

    I have no prank stories of my own, but my son used to repeatedly (and by that I mean relentlessly) prank my daughter. A favorite: rubber band around the sink’s sprayer so that when she turned the water on, she’d get blasted. She was not a fan.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I remember one time, when I was wee, I accidentally sprayed my mum full-on in the face with the shower head (which was on a flexible hose). She was NOT amused. Gulp.

        Like

  13. Sorry I’m so late to this party. Loved this post! I have two brothers. I’m very close to one and not at all to the other. We just don’t have any connection other than blood. It’s interesting how sibling relationships can vary so greatly like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? Absolutely. Sibs are individuals first and just because they’re in a family together doesn’t automatically mean their values will align neatly. Or at all. That’s infinitely fascinating to me.
      Congrats on your recent book birthday, too!

      Like

  14. Thank you so much for visiting us today, Sandra! SO excited for your book!

    Hmmm. Can’t think of a prank I pulled on my sister. whom I completely adore. But I think sibling relationships are a rich source of exploration for writers in general. It was very fun to reveal the complex dynamics of two sisters in the fourth book of the Lila series…and it deepened the whole nemesis situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks so much, Cynthia! Not that sibling dynamics can’t be simple, too, right? But I think our dramatic natures as writers will always make the complexities more interesting.

      Like

  15. Thanks so much for visiting and for the many kind wishes, everyone! And thanks for playing along with the stories. The winner, chosen randomly, of one print copy of IN THE DARK WE FORGET is: qnofdnilesblog. Please reply with your email address and I’ll reach out for mailing details. Thanks again for hosting me, Chicks!

    Like

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