Sarah Duguid talks to Foyles about her debut novel LOOK AT ME

February 23, 2016

Writing exclusively for Foyles, Sarah Duguid is a featured author for February with her debut novel LOOK AT ME.

Some people assume after reading LOOK AT ME, that I grew up in a bohemian household where my dad smoked pot and my mum scattered rose petals across the dining table in a deranged, high-on-life kind of way. In fact, my dad’s not a hippy; my mum’s not a junkie. We’ve never shared a joint together after lunch. Sex on LSD wasn’t discussed ad infinitum at the dinner table. I grew up on a farm a long way from the kind of life lived by the Knight family. But, like most first novels, there are elements of autobiography. My parents divorced when I was in my early teens. My mother left home and my father’s new partner moved into the house I’d grown up in. Among other things, the novel is about loss and longing (each of the characters is, in their own way, yearning for something lost) and, inevitably, my feelings about the abrupt ending of my childhood have made it into the story.

Elizabeth, the narrator, was a struggle to get right. She only really appeared as a fully-formed character with the final edits of the book. The character that came most easily was Julian Knight – idealistic, narcissistic, former hippy. He arrived almost fully-formed into my head after I saw a photograph of Tony Blair as a member of the band Ugly Rumours, playing the guitar with long hair and crooked teeth. By the time I saw the photograph, the apparently nice, idealistic, young guy in it had been accused of being a war criminal.

Read the full article and start reading an extract here on Foyles.co.uk.

LOOK AT ME is published in hardback and ebook on 25th February 2016. See what readers are already saying at #LookAtMe.

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