Q and A with Hannah Beckerman

Q&A with Hannah Beckerman

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The Dead Wife’s Handbook

  •  Tell us about your novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook.

 The Dead Wife’s Handbook is the story of Rachel who’s died of a heart attack at the (too-young) age of 36. The novel opens a year after her death, where we find her in some sort of netherworld, watching over her husband and seven-year-old daughter as they try to rebuild their lives without her. It’s about Rachel’s family and friends – as well as Rachel herself – coming to terms with their grief and understanding the impact Rachel had on their lives.

  • How did you come up with the idea of writing from a deceased persons perspective?

           I came up with the idea after a conversation with a friend about her ex-husband. She’d told me how she felt uncomfortable about the possibility of him telling his new partner her secrets. I started thinking about how that probably makes many of us feel uncomfortable and that the most extreme version of that would be if you were dead but nonetheless able to witness what was being said about you. Suddenly there was this dead character – Rachel – in my head, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how she felt.

  •  I couldn’t stop crying throughout the book, I really did feel Rachel’s heart ache. Was there a particular part in the book that you felt was most difficult to write?

I did cry quite a lot during the writing of the book! I think the scenes that were most affecting for me when writing were some of the conversations between Max (Rachel’s husband) and Ellie (their daughter). I love their relationship, and I love both of them as characters, and so Max’s tenderness and Ellie’s childlike desire to understand (even though she really can’t yet) were very emotive to imagine. There were times when my husband would come into the study and I’d be in floods of tears!

  •  Your book club questions at the end of the book are very thought provoking. What are your thoughts on book clubs and have you ever been part of one?

 I’ve never been part of a book club but I love the idea of them. When I was a TV Producer at the BBC I ran a project called The Big Read which was partly about getting people to vote on their favourite novel, but largely about extending the reach of reading. So I was involved in organising projects to set up book clubs and reading groups around the country. I think they’re a fantastic way for people to have a shared experience with a book – and we all know there’s nothing better than raving about a book you love or ranting about one you didn’t!

  •  What can we expect from your second novel?

 I’m just working on revisions for book 2 at the moment. The subject is under wraps (I haven’t even told my mum yet!) but it’s a story about family, relationships and identity with a few dark secrets thrown in for good measure!

Thank you So much to Hannah for taking part in this Q&A!

 

The Dead Wife’s Handbook – Hannah Beckerman

The Dead Wife's Handbook

The Dead Wife’s Handbook

Hannah Beckerman

What’s on the back of the book:

The Dead Wife’s Handbook is the stunning emotional debut from author Hannah Beckerman. ‘Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.’ Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life – until the night Rachel’s heart stopped beating. Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can’t forget her, Rachel can’t quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems. As Rachel grieves for the life she’s lost and the life she’ll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for. Hannah Beckerman gives an unforgettable exploration of love and loss in her first novel, The Dead Wife’s Handbook. Praise for The Dead Wife’s Handbook: “Beautifully written and full of love”. (Fern Britton). “A moving and intriguing debut novel”. (Fabulous Magazine). Hannah Beckerman is a former TV and film producer living in London. The Dead Wife’s Handbook is her first novel.

My Review:

Get your tissues and your heart ready before you even open this book.

I heard about this book through other bloggers on twitter so knew I just had to read it.

The book follows Rachel, who has been dead for a year. Her unexpected death not only shocked her family but it also shocked Rachel as she watches her family and friends deal with life without her. Rachel has access to watch down on her husband Max and daughter Ellie as they deal with the tragedy and try with best to move on with their lives. Rachel narrates the story and the reader follows her witnessing the often frustrating moments and the realisation that life for Rachel was far too short and that she had so much more to do with her life.

I have read many debut novels, but this one was different. I could tell a lot of time effort and tears were shed during the process of writing this book. I do not know how Hannah wrote this book! The emotions and frustrations of Rachel were clear to see, the heartbreak of a mother and wife were sometimes very difficult to read, but it was written in such a way I had to read on. I felt the anger with Rachel that she was taken away from her life far to early. Reading how Rachel watched Max bring up Ellie without her was so moving, I wanted to grab Rachel and run so it didn’t break her heart even more.

As a member of a book club I was very impressed that at the back of the book there was questions targeted to book clubs. I cannot wait to discuss some of the questions at my next book club meeting.

Every review I have read about this book as ran true. Heart breaking, moving and emotional were often included in other reviews and I totally agree.

I can honestly say this book has made me look at my own life. I  lost someone close to me a few years ago, I miss him to this day. This book has made me think from his perspective, how frustrated he must be for me sometimes, his heart breaking for me, especially over the recent months . It has made me follow my dreams and stop worrying!

Hannah you have no idea what you have done to me, I’m in tears just writing this review!

Congratulations on a truly wonderful book. you should be very proud!

Frances.

p.s come back to my blog on the 11th March for a Q and A with Hannah Beckerman!