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.
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.