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THE NIGHT IN QUESTION Book Tour GIVEAWAY



I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE NIGHT IN QUESTION by Susan Fletcher Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 

About The Book:

Title: THE NIGHT IN QUESTION

Author: Susan Fletcher

Pub. Date: April 2, 2024

Publisher: Union Square Co.

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 384

 

A lyrical and emotionally engaging novel infused with mystery and wisdom about love, friendship, and the power of forgiveness. Florrie Butterfield—eighty-seven, one-legged, and of cheerful disposition—believes there can't be any more adventures or surprises in life to experience. Yet one midsummer’s evening, there’s an accident at Babbington Hall—the adult residence where she lives—so shocking and strange that Florrie is suspicious; is this really an accident? Or is she being lied to? Is she, in fact, living alongside a potential murderer? In her efforts to learn the truth, Florrie is forced to look back on her own life, with all its passions and regrets; she must confront her own bloody secret—and, at last, forgive herself. Above all, Florrie learns, through the help of her new friend, Stanhope, that you’re never too old to have the life you’ve always dreamed of. When it comes to love, it’s never too late. Readers of moving fiction about late-in-life second chances such as Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove and Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will love this un-putdownable book.


 

SUSAN FLETCHER SUPERINTERVIEW!


COMIC BOOK YETI: For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about your book and the characters?


SUSAN FLETCHER: The Night in Question is, at first glance, a cozy mystery: Florence ‘Florrie’ Butterfield, aged 87 and wheelchair-bound, witnesses a shocking event at her residential care home, Babbington Hall. Everyone claims this was a tragic accident; Florrie, however, suspects it might have been attempted murder …  And thus, she sets out to find out the truth about what happened that night.


But actually, at its heart, the book is much more than that. I wanted to write about a woman’s life. I wanted to look back at Florrie’s life from its very beginning – from birth to childhood and her teenaged years; then into her adult life - with all its loves and losses, its regrets and revelations, all its lonely hours and friendships. I wanted to show all the chaos and sorrow of a human life, all the missed chances – but also, in doing so, to celebrate that life, and the fact that any of us are here at all. Additionally, we learn – very early on - that Florrie has her own terrible secret: something happened to her, aged seventeen, that she’s never spoken of in the ensuing eighty years. There are, therefore, two mysteries in this book. And it’s only by finally speaking of her secret (to her friend, Stanhope, and to the reader) that Florrie is able to solve the riddle of what happened in Babbington Hall.


Florrie herself has been a joy to write about: cheerful, optimistic, smart, the sort of person who’d compliment a rose bush or, after any disappointment, brush herself down and think, Never mind. She’s had an unconventional life, with more than her share of heartbreak, and yet Florrie still manages to see the beauty of life. I have never loved, or rooted for, a character more than this one – and I knew I wanted to take the very best care of her.


CBY: What are you working on now?


SF: My next project – still untitled – is similar to The Night in Question in that it sees a resilient woman – overlooked and underestimated – set out to investigate a strange happening in her community; in order to do so, she must draw on her own resources – and her own past. But whereas Florrie is 87, my new protagonist is only 20. A further difference is its setting: a remote village in the north of England, in the depths of a hard winter. (One of my great passions is landscape – both being in it and writing about it.) As with The Night In Question, I’m loving every part of writing this book.


CBY: Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?


SF: Florrie is her own person - but I don’t think I’d have created her if I hadn’t known my maternal grandmother, who died in 2010. Like Florrie, my grandmother lost part of her leg in later life; like Florrie, she remained determined to make the very most of life, despite her age and circumstances. Also, the character of Pinky – Florrie’s best friend – is an amalgamation of my own best female friends: their mannerism and foibles, their humour and energy, their huge capacity for love. I must confess, too, that coronavirus restrictions in the UK meant that I had to draw on my own life experiences a little more than usual; much of Florrie’s past – her foreign travels, for example, or her years living in the Scottish Highlands – was drawn directly from my own experiences. (I even used my own backpacker diaries from twenty years ago to enrich Florrie’s time in Africa.) So there’s more of me in this character than I think there has been in any of my other books.


CBY: Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?


SF: Florrie! But aside from her, there are so many other characters that I adored spending time with. I love Florrie’s brother, Bobs. Also, her lifelong friend, Pinky, was a joy to write. I grew hugely fond, too, of several of the men she has loved in her life – particularly Victor, Jack and dear old Stanhope. And I rather suspect there’s a whole new novel to write, one day, about Great-Aunt Euphemia …


CBY: What is your favorite passage/scene in your book?


SF: It is hard to pick just one – because I genuinely wrote so much of this book with a huge, full, happy heart. But I have a particular fondness for the whole of Chapter 13 – ‘Jack Luckett and The Sunshine Hotel.’ That chapter is set in Africa, which meant there was a thrilling newness to it for me; it was a chance to write (with the help of my own backpacking diaries) of mosquito nets and translucent frogs, of the sudden arrival of the rainy season – none of which I’d written about before. Finishing the final scene of that chapter – Florrie’s conversation with Jack at night, beside their tents – was a very memorable experience. It is a scene of longing, of mutual attraction – and it left me with a physical ache in my chest.


CBY: What kind of research did you have to do for the story?


SF: I began this story in April 2020 – as the UK went into lockdown due to coronavirus. This meant I couldn’t really go anywhere for research or talk to others - and thus I had to draw, far more, on my own life for this book. I turned to old diaries and letters, old conversations, my own view on life. I turned, too, to my late grandmother’s care home for inspiration for Babbington Hall. In this way, The Night in Question was written very differently to previous novels – and feels more honest and more personal to any that I’ve written before.

 

⚡Lightning Round Questions!⚡

 

CBY: What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?


SF: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. She is an extraordinary, breathtaking writer. Being an avid hiker, I also have Windswept: Why Women Walk by Annabel Abbs by the side of my bed which I dip in an out of. Next up will be The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken, which I have recently had recommended to me.

 

CBY: Favorite social media site?


SF: X (formerly Twitter) – but only because I understand it! Instagram seems to take a little getting used to … For all the complaints about social media, I absolutely love how it allows for interaction between readers and other writers. The sense of community that it fosters is an absolute gift.

 

CBY: Favorite Superhero or Villain?


SF: That feels impossible to answer! Am I allowed to say one of their sidekicks? Robin, say? I tend to be more interested in the more peripheral characters. A shout-out, too, to any redheads: Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Black Widow … We are, apparently, a dying breed – so I will always cheer them on, when I see them, whether they’re heroes or villains!

 

CBY: Favorite TV show?


SF: The Detectorists – a UK series about a group of amateur metal detectorists. That might not sound immediately appealing; but there is so much heart, gentleness and humour in it – and the English countryside has never looked better.

 

CBY: Sweet or Salty?


SF: Salty – but it’s a close call.

 

CBY: Any Phobias?


SF: None! Although nothing could ever make me [want] to eat an anchovy.

 

CBY: Song you can’t get enough of right now?


SF: It’s not modern, I know, but I’m going through a Kate Bush phase, at the moment – and I was humming ‘Cloudbusting’ to myself before sitting down to answer these questions. (I have always loved her completeness; she has always sung, written and performed as she wanted to, without conforming or compromising. That makes her inspirational to me.)

 

CBY: 2024 Movie you’re most looking forward to?


SF: Being a writer who has, at times, believed they’ve seen one of their characters in the street (a sign that I needed a holiday), I am excited by the plot of Argyle. And Gladiator was a huge film in my life, when it was released in 2000; I look forward – with both excitement and slight trepidation – to the sequel, later in the year.

 

CBY: Do you play video games? If so what are some of your favorites?


SF: I don’t play them, I’m afraid!

 

 

 Top 5 Movies!

 

When Harry Met Sally. Sharp, astute, honest and funny dialogue doesn’t come better than that of Norah Ephron – and all the trials of love and friendship are just so beautifully done. Nothing about this film ages or fails to strike a chord. I’ve watched it more than any other.


Portrait of a Lady on Fire. On one hand, everything about this movie feels small – its small cast, its island setting, its spare interactions. But it’s actually a deeply passionate movie, gorgeous to look at, with a realistic and deeply affecting love story at its heart. Its themes are both profound – and, two hundred years on, still relevant. What an ending, too!

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I remember seeing this in the cinema, aged ten, and loving it. I love it still – for many of the same reasons: the wit, the plot, the characterization, the fast-paced action and the set pieces, that fantastic opening scene involving a travelling circus. But above all, I adore the father/son relationship: there is such tenderness and complete believability in how the Joneses ‘brothers’ find each other again.


Thelma and Louise. As a writer, it’s hard not to view this as a structural masterpiece. But also, I love how quickly one loves – and identifies with – these two women. It’s a heartbreaking movie – about the power of female friendship, certainly, but also about wasted life and, in particular, wasted female lives. The short scene in which Thelma and Louise are driving through the Nevada desert at night, with The Ballad of Lucy Jordan playing, has haunted me since I first saw it.


The English Patient. That Ondaatje’s complex, dazzling novel could be captured so faithfully in a movie still amazes me. All the passion, the tragedy and the beauty of the desert makes for a breathtaking two hours. (This movie is so beautiful to watch!) Its soundtrack, too, has accompanied me through twenty years of travel, break-ups and writing.

 

 

Five Favourite Scenes from The Night in Question


One. After an early childhood sadness, Aunt Pip comes to live with the family. She is defiant, headstrong, exotic – and, one evening, takes Florrie down the village pub and offers advice on life. I enjoyed this scene: Pip, with a pint of beer, musing on both her mistakes and good fortune, and considering her reflection in the window. (I could write a whole other novel just about Pip.)


Two. In her early twenties, Florrie travels to Africa to be a secretary for a mineralogist for the British government. She and Jack Luckett stay, once a month, in The Sunshine Hotel in Lusaka – and I loved writing the scene in which Florrie (bathed, scrubbed and in her one good dress) meets Jack for drinks in the hotel bar. They are clearly attracted to each other – attentive, smiling, careful in their words and movements.


Three. Florrie, aged eighty-seven, has a late-night realization that she wants to share, immediately, with her friend Stanhope. So she knocks on his door in her dressing gown. To write about them, face to face and in their dressing gowns, was lovely. By now, they have sensed their feelings for each other so there was a comedy and tenderness, a teenaged awkwardness.


Four. In her lifetime, Florrie travels extensively. In one scene – just a few lines – she watches a dusty game of cricket in India and thinks of her long-dead brother. I found it an emotional scene to write: Florrie, missing her brother, and also missing her lush, quiet childhood garden in which they used to play cricket together – and missing, too, her younger, happier self.


Five. There is a single image that makes me smile: of Florrie’s childhood cat, Gulliver, stretching himself out ‘with all the length and girth of a draught excluder’. It reminds me of all my own childhood cats; also, it’s a line that my UK editor quoted in her letter to me, when pitching to buy the book. (She, too, had seen her childhood cats in this image.) So I will always be fond of that half-sentence (and I will always be fond of Gulliver).

 

  

Extract

‘Florrie has what was known as the Butterfield complexion – that is, she inherited her father’s freckled, rosy appearance, the reddish hair that would (in her younger days) turn, in summer, to the hue of buttermilk. A childhood of blisters and calamine lotion has meant, for Florrie, an adulthood of sensible summer clothing: long, voluminous sleeves, linen dresses, chiffon scarves to protect her decolletage; for a time, she even owned parasols – wandering through spice markets or botanical gardens feeling not unlike a Victorian lady, albeit with a little more girth. She opts, in heat, for the paler colours, too – pinks and mauves, powder-blues; but then, these were always Florrie’s favourite shades, regardless of the season, believing their femininity and grace might compensate for her own personal lack of either of those things. For Florrie has, too, the Butterfield physique – which is a gentle way of saying that she is short and round. She’s always been so. And whilst, in her early days, Florrie had hoped for the adjectives that accompany diminutive women – petite, elfin, dainty – it’s largely been others that have come to her: comely, ample, even matronly. (At Miss Catchpole’s School for Girls she was called oafish – by Miss Catchpole, no less - and who forgets oafish? Or Florrie Butterball?) For a while, Florrie despaired. Oh, to be a great beauty! To not have thighs that clapped, as she ran!


            Never mind. What could be done? Other than try to soften this dumpy appearance with sweet-pea colours and a favourable neckline? The sort of skirts that fill, bell-like, when one tries to pirouette? Thus, the teenaged Florrie came to accept both complexion and stature. She made friends with her pendulous bust, with her bottom that stretched fabrics so much that, on bending down, floral prints appeared misshapen, or polka-dots grew wide. I am fortunate. She told herself this and believed it: capable was better than cute or gamine. Hers would, after all, be a body that could withstand all the adventure she was hoping for: crossing deserts on camelback, hacking her way through jungles or summiting the Eiger in winter conditions; a body that might bear children one day. It might not be pretty, as such, nor fast - but it would be enough.’



 

About Susan Fletcher:

Susan Fletcher is a British novelist. She was born in Birmingham and studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia. Her first novel, Eve Green, won the 2004 Whitbread First Novel Award, the Authors' Club award, and the Betty Trask Prize; it was also picked for Channel 4's (UK) Richard and Judy Summer Reading list. Subsequent novels have been shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys award, the Writers’ Guild fiction award, and longlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her novel Witch Light won the Saint-Maur en Poche award 2013 in France. Fletcher is the current Fellow at the University of Worcester as part of the Royal Literary Fund's fellowship scheme.

 


 

Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive a finished copy of THE NIGHT IN QUESTION, US Only.

Ends April 9th, midnight EST.




 

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

3/25/2024

Interview/IG Post

3/26/2024

IG Post

3/27/2024

Review/IG Post

3/28/2024

Review/IG Post

3/29/2024

Review/IG Post

 

Week Two:

4/1/2024

IG Review/LFL Drop Pic/TikTok Post

4/2/2024

Review

4/3/2024

IG Review/TikTok Post

4/4/2024

Review/Guest Post/IG Post

4/5/2024

Review/IG Post

 

 

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