Two voices

Ambika Shaligram
Saturday, 10 June 2017

Chatting up Annabel Kantaria about her third novel, The One That Got Away, released by HQ, UK

The story of Stella and George begins on a predictable note — the two exes get in touch and establish a torrid relationship, changing the course of their life. What comes next is a web of deceit, lies and questioning loyalty. Annabel Kantaria’s romance novel, The One That Got Away, is quite nail-biting and you keep turning pages excitedly to find out what happens next.

The Dubai-based author explains the story behind the novel. Excerpts from an email chat:  

You somehow don’t expect a combination of romance and a thriller. Did the story write out on its own?
This was my third novel and, so far, the easiest to write. It almost fell out of my fingertips. I really enjoyed getting into the dysfunctional relationship that George and Stella had.

The book is written in both George’s and Stella’s voice, allowing the reader to get a glimpse of what’s ticking in their brain. Whose grey matter fascinated you the most?
It started off being only Stella’s voice — her head fascinated me the most as she’s such a complex character. I planned to add George’s perspective only later in the book so we could see through his eyes the effect Stella’s behaviour was having on him. 

But he kept jumping up and down in my head, asking to have his say, so I decided it was only fair to give him a voice from the beginning. I hope that, through this method, you see how both characters change and develop as the story unfolds. I suspect your loyalties as a reader might also change as you progress through the book.

Did you also write in a similar fashion — first, Stella, then George? Was it taxing to toggle between the two?
No, it was really easy. I’d write a scene, say, from Stella’s point of view, then continue the story from George’s point of view, rather than seeing the same scene from both perspectives. It was like handing over the baton in a relay race and, for me as a writer, it kept it fresh and exciting. I hope the reader enjoys it as much as I did!

How did you visualise Ness?
I saw Ness as a supportive, loyal and loving wife. She was downtrodden and then wronged. But. like a butterfly, she emerges into her own sunlight and, by the end —well, I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m happy with the way things turn out for her. I think George has a lot of regrets — and quite rightly.

The book has elements of drama and intrigue. Would you prefer it being picked by TV/film production?
I agree! And I’d be overjoyed if that happened. Any offers?

Follow the writer on Twitter @riceandpickle

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