“…a darkly atmospheric work examining the lasting power of love, loyalty, and family secrets. Readers who enjoy Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf will find similar themes in Lundrigan’s work. A pitch-perfect novel… a triumph.”
The Substitute (House of Anansi, Spiderline) Coming June 2017!
Whenever I’m working with a character, the question I always want answered is Why? No matter how ugly an action might appear on the surface, I want to understand my character’s reasons or motivation. If I had to boil down my drive to write (and sometimes, it’s a slog!), it is this never-ending need to slip into someone else’s consciousness and to grasp their perspective.
After The Widow Tree was published in 2013, I took a short break from writing. I felt drained of ideas. The sensation reminded me of that head-struck feeling after sitting for an intense exam. Only it refused to fade. Gradually, though, I began developing ideas about a particular person. This individual did something with such precision and apparent callousness, I started to listen more carefully and make notes. Why did you do that? How did you become that way? I began writing in first person, as I wanted to move through that troubling world and explore. This person is, I feel, the most complicated individual I have ever tacked down to paper.
People have asked me: Where do your ideas come from? In the past, I used to attempt a sensible response, but now I admit, it’s difficult to explain. I genuinely feel these characters are completely distinct from my thoughts and my experiences. They come from my imagination, of course, but they are also disconnected from me. I never impose judgment. Instead I strive to remain a passive, but very curious observer. I ask a question, and I see what happens.
The name of my latest manuscript is The Substitute. The title came to me when I was describing a standard party game where someone hides a button inside another’s fist, and children take turns guessing who has the button. In this novel, there is so much hidden, both among characters, and in terms of themselves. Do we ever really know each other? Do we ever really know ourselves?
If you would like to read an excerpt from the first chapter of Button Button, please click here. And feel free to read samples of my previous novels: Unraveling Arva, Thaw, The Seary Line, Glass Boys, and The Widow Tree.