At the start of Crysse Morrison's thriller FROZEN SUMMER, the protagonist, Kirsty (or 'Kirsten' as it seems she is now expected to call herself) has also lost time - but instead of languishing in a coma, Kirsty has lived a rather full life and a small knock on the head has caused her to forget her last nine years.
As far as she is concerned she is still a young student and cannot understand why a child calls her 'mummy'.
'I wish she wouldn't do that Mummy thing: it really spooks me.' she says.
There is also a man called Clyde who claims to be her husband and wants to know how long it will take her 'to get over that for Chrissake.'
But she doesn't know. As Kirsty says:
' I don't know him and I don't know her and I don't know how long before I understand why they have trapped me in this house, in this curious world called 1996. It's not the world I know.'
The world that Kirsty knows is 1987 (by strange coincidence Jan Grzebski had his accident just a year later) when she was a photography student making a trip to Glastonbury with her friend Debs and their boyfriends Miles and Paul. For a while the book alternates between the two times (like Jan, Kirsty is incredulous at the way the world has changed) before concentrating on Kirsten's world of 1996 and the mysteries of the relationships around her.
I read FROZEN SUMMER in a day. It is a gripping story with an excellent plot and an ending that is both satisfying and yet unexpected - it would make an excellent psychological drama for the TV.
About the Author.
Crysse Morrison writes both prose and poetry and contributes a regular style column to Writing Magazine. Hailed by The Times as a 'superb storyteller' for her debut novel Frozen Summer, she has also written short stories which have been published and broadcast, and writes for the First Cut Theatre Company. Crysse grew up in London, gained her MA in Dublin, and now lives in Frome, where she is Spoken Word Coordinator for the Merlin Theatre. She performs her poetry at venues throughout the southwest, and runs Creative Writing courses - mostly abroad in warm climates and beautiful settings.
Crysse keeps a blog here
Crysse Morrison is a guest author at the Seven Day Holiday in Languedoc in July (with me and the crime novelist Chris Simms) and she has kindly answered a few questions for this blog.
Interview with Crysse Morrison.
Questions about writing:
CD: How long have you been writing?
CM: All my life. I used to write plays for my teddy bears.
CD: How long did you take to write the book?
CM: The full draft of my first novel took 8 weeks - the 8 weeks of real time of the action of the book. All the radio songs & media stories are the current ones - even the weather is just how it was. Editing took longer.
CD: Did you think of the plot first or did it come to you as you were writing the book?
CM: Both. I knew Kirsty's story in essence from the start, the bits she knew herself anyway, but the part she was hiding from herself took longer to discover and I only did that by writing it.
CD: Is there any way the heroine, Kirsty, in FROZEN SUMMER autobiographical?
CM: I'm not, and never have been, a gorjus blonde (Samantha Janus, as the vulnerable-vamp in Game On, was my mental picture of my narrator) and I've never lost my memory or any of the other stuff - though I have been to Glastonbury festival. So I used to think the answer to that was No, but I discovered, after the book was published, that the question at the heart of it was actually very relevant to me: How did I get from the girl with such high hopes to the woman I am now? When I realised that I changed my life.
CD: Are the other characters in FROZEN SUMMER based on anyone you know?
CD: What research did you do for the book?
CM: I wrote the book from imagining the emotions, and then checked later with an OT (occupational therapy) that I was roughly on track with the medical response. It doesn't come in much, as it's not important to Kirsty who's telling the tale.
CD: Have you any tips for writers who want to make their work more thrilling?
CM: It's always a fine line between telling too much and revealing too much, isn't it. I think first person narration is great for tension, as readers tend to believe what an author tells them, but if the character speaks, there's no certain way of knowing if what's said is really true... so who can you trust?
The Seven Questions.
CD: Do you have any connection with snails?
CM: I have met snails, consider them more as passing acquaintances than friends. I wouldn't want my son going out with one.
CD: What is your proudest moment?
CM: Pride is to me more an ongoing pleasure - I'm mega-proud of both my sons - but I was extremely chuffed when I did the New Forest Marathon in 4 and a quarter hours. (I haven't bothered to run since, so pride really did come before a fall-off of enthusiasm.)
CD: Have you ever had a life-changing event - if so what was it?
CM: I have lots of life changing experiences. That's the great thing about life.
CD: What is the saddest thing you’ve ever heard of or seen?
CM: My father used to say "Of all the sad words that are heard or seen, the saddest are these: It might have been" and I think there's a lot of truth in that. Everything we most deplore seems to come from unnecessary wastage, and failure to love.
CD: If there was one thing you’d change about yourself what would it be?
CM: Eyelashes. I'd love to have lush long ones like my granddaughter. Seriously, I'd love to be much closer to my idea of the Perfect Me, but I don't think it's possible to change one thing without shifting everything. I guess I'd rather just stick to the challenge of what my friend Hazel Stewart calls 'my flawed irridescent madness'.
CD: What is happiness?
CM: It's a thing everyone has a right to pursue and most people want a shot at, which makes it sound like an endangered species, but I think it lies in doing small things with full awareness.
CD: What is the first thing you do when you get up?
CM: Switch on the iBook and tap out some bleary 'morning page' writing while still half asleep