‘Lullaby Girl’ is Aly Sidgwick’s debut novel. It is being published by Black & White Publishing in paperback this Thursday 4th June 2015 and is already out as an eBook. I am so very excited to be part of this blog tour which I am kicking off.
Who is the Lullaby Girl?
Found washed up on the banks of a remote loch, a mysterious girl is taken into the care of a psychiatric home in the highlands of Scotland, Mute and covered in bruises, she has no memory of who she is or how she got there. The only clue to her identity is the Danish lullaby she sings…
Inside the care home, she should be safe. But, harassed by the media and treated as a nuisance by under-pressure staff, she finds the home is far from a haven. And as her memories slowly surface, the Lullaby Girl does her best to submerge them again. Some things are too terrible to remember… but unless she confronts her fear, how can she find out who she really is?
Taut, tense and mesmerising, Lullaby Girl is a shining debut from an exciting and very talented new author.
Like the sound of ‘Lullaby Girl’? Read on for an interesting guest post from Aly Sidgwick.
Pianos and lullabies
I can’t do a blog tour without mentioning the piano man! So, here goes…
About ten years ago, like many others, I was swept up by the mystery of a young man who’d washed up on a Kent shore with no memory. That sort of thing happens all the time, I’m sure. People have breakdowns, and go missing, and run away from problems… But one detail set this case apart, and that was the man’s skill at playing piano. For some reason, that part sent the public crazy. People took delight in concocting theories. A huge effort was made to find out who the man was. But no-one seemed to recognise him, and no solid leads were found. All of this added to the mystery. People’s imaginations ran riot, mine included. For me, I think the really electric detail was his fragility. He was like a stunned bird, huddled in the midst of all this activity. There was a romance to his predicament. A sadness, and a sense of great waste. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of ’madness,’ or losing one’s sense of self, probably because I feared it would happen to me one day. When I wrote Lullaby Girl, I wanted to write from the perspective of someone who’d tipped over the edge in that way. To walk a person past breaking point into the no-man’s-land beyond, and find out what happened next. I find great beauty in that fragile state. It’s so human. So honest. And the scary thing is that we’re all capable of it. With a big enough push, everything you know and everything you are can fly out of your grasp. The Piano Man made it through with a shred of his old self intact- namely his musical skill. It was a link to a part of himself that was possibly gone forever, and there were so many possiblities in that one, strange clue. I let Katherine keep a shred of her past too, in the form of the lullaby. Like him she becomes branded by it. Even after her real name is known, the public insist on calling her ’Lullaby Girl.’ You could argue that that’s because people love labels. But I think it’s more than that. In my mind, it’s the glamour of ’madness’ that draws people. There’s something irrisistible in that fall from grace.
Now for an excerpt from ‘Lullaby Girl’ to give you a feel of the book. It is taken from the first chapter.
Rhona takes me outside. We walk round. She points her
finger. ‘That’s Loch Ghlas,’ she says, ‘and that’s the perimeter
I look down the hill. The fence looks tiny. Wind blows on
my face. I close my eyes an’ breathe. Rhona keeps talkin’.
‘I suppose some folks might feel trapped by a fence. But
it’s actually a nice thing, because it means no bad people can
bother us. We’re safe and cosy in here, and you can walk
around the grounds without having to . . .’
Rhona’s coat swooshes. Quiet. She talks again. Slower.
‘You like it out here, don’t you? Well, we’ll be coming
out here a lot more. We can come out every day if you like.’
That smell . . . I know it. Where do I know it from?
I . . .
I open my eyes an’ see the sea. Far off. Grey. Iss further
than the perimeter fence. But somehow the sea is all I can
see. Suddenly I feel funny, like I can’t breathe. In my head, a
picture of waves. Cold. Heavy. A blackness under me, an’ no
place to put my feet. Iss the sea I smell. An’ . . . I’ve been
closer to it than this. Much closer. Not jus’ on the beach,
when the men came. I was in it . . . Far out . . . In the dark . . .
The funny feelin’ grows. I breathe out an’ can’t breathe
back in. My heart goin’ bump bump bump. Rhona’s mouth is
movin’. Can’t hear her now. I go backwards. I gasp. The sky
goes massive. All white, in my eyes. My ears are screamin’ an’
I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe . . . I . . .
Music plunging hard. I’m on the floor, pressed flat as possible.
Dust in my mouth, in the deepest darkest animal trap, and above
my head the screams keep coming. On and on and I can’t stand it
and Katty I can’t I can’t . . . Katty! His face bathed in red and the
words moving out of him . . . Slowww his hand comes up they will
get me and I know then I know I am done for . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .
About Aly Sidgwick
Aly Sidgwick spent many years in Oslo as a tattoo artist and comic strip artist before turning to writing. She became obsessed and didn’t tell anyone she was writing for six months. She has lived in North Yorkshire, Norway, Sweden and Edinburgh. Her spare time is devoted to reading, painting, travelling, and drinking lots of black coffee.
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