Q&A With Eleanor Barker-White

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Q&A With Eleanor Barker-White 

This week I have the honor of doing this Q&A with author Eleanor Barker-White. Her debut mystery novel My Name Was Eden will be released this month on February 27th 2024! 

Q: Eleanor, would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I a little bit about your debut My Name Was Eden? Where did the idea for the novel come from?

A: In 2007, following successful IVF treatment, I was diagnosed with Vanishing Twin Syndrome. At a previous scan, I’d seen two beating hearts and was overjoyed at the prospect of having twins. Yet six weeks later, I was told that one of my twins had literally vanished in the womb and become absorbed by its sibling. I kept wondering what had happened to the other twin and how it could simply disappear. It made me question everything I knew about life – and death.  

I thought how interesting it would be to write a thriller where the surviving twin was ‘controlled’ by the absorbed twin. And what would happen if the malignant vanished twin were somehow to reappear…

Q: I love reading mysteries whether they are thrillers, who done it, historical mysteries etc. What do you enjoy most about writing mysteries?

A: I love writing mysteries for the same reason I love reading them – they take you on an adventure and a good, twisty one really makes you work! Usually, it starts with a gem of an idea that you can see sparkling, just inside a clod of dirt. The fun is in the digging, and if it’s a good one, it starts taking on its own energy. I trained in solution focused practice in my previous job as a family support worker, and I think this has helped me in writing a mystery: you have various parts of a puzzle and work with the characters to reach their desired goal. However, there is often conflict. Not everyone wants the same things; not everyone agrees with the resolution. When writing a mystery, this is great because it heightens the tension, adds to the suspense and occasionally, takes you on a different journey to the one you’d envisaged. 

Q: How long did it take for you to write My Name Was Eden?

A: I started writing My Name Was Eden on and off during 2021, when I was working part time in the library at the Royal Agricultural University. I’d always wanted to write a novel (and had started a different manuscript during my MA in Creative Writing) but it was only in January 2022, finally free from the long shadow of Covid, that I decided it was now or never. I loosely plotted the story, set myself a minimum word target of 1000 words a day and pinned myself to the chair every morning from 9am sharp. I even made a packed lunch and flask of tea to keep by my side. By the end of March 2022, I had a first draft of 86000 words, an overwhelming sense of pride…and a stiff neck!   

Q: Are you currently writing your next novel now? If it’s not too early can you reveal any details?

A: Yes! I’ve been thinking a lot about chance vs fate, and this fascination we have with the idea of the universe having some kind of control over our destiny. The decisions we make – are they really our own? I can’t give too much away, but this is the premise behind my second novel. It’s a very different story to My Name Was Eden, yet with the same psychological intrigue and suspense. I’m hugely excited about it.

Q: If Hollywood were to get the rights to My Name Was Eden, (if they haven’t already) who would be your dream cast to play the characters you created?

A: That’s an interesting question! It would have to be Rosamund Pike as Lucy, with Sienna Miller a close second. For James, I’m torn between Tobias Menzies and Jude Law. 

I’m not sure about Eden/Eli – possibly Edie Whitehead or Florence Keen. Both are fantastic teen actresses with the right “look”.

Lake Bell would be great as Bex.

Watch this space…!