Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Q&A with Lynne Reeves



Lynne Reeves is the author of the new novel Dark Rivers to Cross. Her other books include The Dangers of an Ordinary Night. She is also a family counselor, and she lives in Massachusetts.


Q: What inspired you to write Dark Rivers to Cross, and how did you create your characters Lena, Luke, and Jonah?


A: In my own life, and in my work as a writer and counselor, I’m endlessly fascinated by the extraordinary ways family trauma changes relationships, creating disparity between what we want for ourselves and the ones we love. And what we will do to look away from the sorrow that darkens our lives.


For Lena, Luke, and Jonah, the trauma inheritance shapes their lives in far reaching ways. Yet it’s a legacy they cannot escape but must endure.


Dark Rivers to Cross explores how this family copes with the impact of family violence on their relationships. It offers readers the opportunity to examine an issue that impacts us whether it plays out in our lives or in the lives of people we care about. Either way, inhabiting this fictional family story offers readers a path toward the kind of emotional resilience that heals.


Q: The novel is set primarily in Maine. Why did you choose that location, and how important is setting to you in your work?


A: I love stories set in rugged landscapes as evocative as those depicted in John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River and Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River. And I’ve always been drawn to novels with chilling scenes like in Nancy Price’s Sleeping with the Enemy and Austin Wright’s Tony and Susan.


As a writer of domestic suspense, and inspired by Thoreau’s Maine Woods, I decided to write a novel that marries thrilling drama with a wilderness setting.

Q: The writer Julie Carrick Dalton called the novel a “heart-in-your-throat page-turner that shines a compassionate light on the injustices surrounding domestic violence and the failures of our mental healthcare system.” What do you think of that description?


A: I’m always honored when writers I admire take the time to read and comment on my work. And there is nothing better than a reader understanding what the story is hoping to examine.


As much as the #MeToo movement has advanced the conversation around relationship violence, we still have a long way to go in understanding why women stay in abusive relationships, why they don’t, and the unimaginable courage it takes to do either. So many women are torn between impossible choices to protect themselves and their children. Dark Rivers to Cross is dedicated to them.


Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: Dark Rivers to Cross is a family story about what one mother is willing to sacrifice for the safety of her children. What psychological darkness must she traverse and oppose? It’s a novel with as many crosscurrents as the Penobscot River in the Maine woods, a landscape that provides a rich canvas to explore how nature in all its forms is as perilous as it is alluring.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m working on a novel that shares sensibilities with Ian McEwan’s The Children Act and Henry James’s What Maisie Knew. Like my previous novels of domestic suspense, it’s a propulsive read that also examines the psychological trials of parenting vulnerable children. At the emotional core of this story are three women struggling to learn whether the desire to raise a family can ever match the reality of what it takes to love children fiercely.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: James Joyce once said, “In the particular is contained the universe.” Fiction is a powerful vehicle for examining family life experiences through personal stories.


I write domestic suspense about social issues to create opportunities for thoughtful conversation around the challenges we find most difficult to talk about. It’s my hope that Dark Rivers to Cross allows readers a safe space to discuss inherited trauma in an effort to gain understanding and nurture empathy for others.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Lynne Reeves.

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