Comparisons to Liane are inevitable but Nic isn’t just holding her own with her absolutely fantastic new release, THE FIFTH LETTER, she’s completely dominating all the Aussie charts. And deservedly so with her incredibly original, quirky, addictive book that I was obsessed with when I read it. And just for the record, I preferred to Queen Liane’s Big Little Lies that I raved like a lunatic about last year, so that tells you how much I loved THE FIFTH LETTER.
I hope you enjoy my feature on this brilliant book and its equally brilliantly author, my gorgeous girlfriend Nicola Moriarty.
A fun vacation game turns destructive, exposing dark secrets, deeply buried grudges, and a shocking betrayal in Nicola Moriarty’s intriguing debut.
Four friends . . .
Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina have been best friends since high school, sharing a bond that has seen them through their teenage years and into adulthood. But now, time and circumstance is starting to pull them apart as careers, husbands, and babies get in the way. As their yearly vacation becomes less of a priority—at least for three of the women—how can Joni find a way to draw the four of them back together?
Four secrets . . .
During a laughter and wine-filled night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. But the fun game turns devastating, exposing cracks in their lives and the friendships they share. Each letter is a dark confession revealing shocking information. A troubled marriage? A substance abuse problem? A secret pregnancy? A heartbreaking diagnosis?
Five letters . . .
Late on one of their last nights together, after the other three have gone to bed, Joni notices something in the fireplace—a burnt, crumpled, nearly destroyed, sheet of paper that holds the most shattering revelation of all. It is a fifth letter—a hate-filled rant that exposes a vicious, deeply hidden grudge that has festered for decades. But who wrote it? Which one of them has seethed with resentment all these years? What should Joni do?
Best friends are supposed to keep your darkest secrets. But the revelations Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina have shared will ripple through their lives with unforeseen consequences . . . and things will never be the same.
The Fifth Letter is the kind of book that's so clever it makes me, as an author of this genre, think damn it - why didn’t I think of that? The torn scraps of letter that will leave you itching for more, the scattered scenes in a confessional that will tease you with what it is that’s actually being confessed, the poignant throwbacks to the adolescent years of the characters and the way the story plays out as four old school friends, now in their mid- thirties, have a week together that gradually gets darker and darker is all brilliant. The four women are believable and relatable and at different times each one of them will break your heart, make you laugh and make terrible decisions that will have you turning the pages with equal parts fascination and dread at what’s coming next. What I love most about Nicola Moriarty’s writing is how real and accessible it is, with no pretence whatsoever, but how it manages to be incredibly touching and beautiful at the same time. A vibrant Australian voice, a compelling story of friendship, love and honesty and a gripping mystery about that fifth letter with twists and turns that begin on the first page and continue until literally the last line make this a six-star read. Bravo!
You can find Nicola at her website: http://www.nicolamoriarty.com.au/
Hello there people in the world of books,
I Would love to hear from you either on Goodreads or perhaps at Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/NicolaMoriart..
An Interview with Nicola Moriarty:
Can you tell us briefly about your book?
The Fifth Letter is about four women in their mid-thirties, Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina, who have been friends since the first day of high school. Told mostly from Joni’s point of view, the story is interspersed with Joni’s conversations with a priest at Confession, where Joni is explaining to the priest everything that has gone wrong, both with her friends and with her marriage. The main reason everything has gone so wrong is because Joni and her three best friends have recently taken a girl’s holiday away together.
On the first night of the holiday, after a few too many drinks, the women decide to each share a secret in anonymous letters to one another – in an attempt to reconnect after drifting apart through the years. The secrets reveal everything from parenting fears, to marriage problems, strange hobbies and forbidden crushes. Instead of bringing them closer together though, the secrets begin to drive them apart. And then Joni discovers an extra letter. A fifth letter, which one of her friends has written and then tried to destroy. The letter includes a frightening revelation about the way this woman feels about someone else within their circle. The problem is though, Joni has no idea who wrote it or even who the letter is about. But she can’t take it to one of her friends, for fear that she might ask the wrong person.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I have a great group of friends that have been with me since high school (we’ve been in each other’s lives for more than 20 years now!) Obviously, our friendships have had their ups and downs, but despite this, we’re all still very close and we have girls’ holidays away together every now and then (when we can find the time to escape work, study and family!)
These holidays often result in lots of drinking and chatting way into the night and during these late night, wine-fuelled conversations, all sorts of revelations from our past often come up.
So, I found myself wondering what would happen if something really serious, something really dark or sinister come up in one of these chats with my friends? What if it turned out that they were hiding secrets? That I didn’t actually know them as well as I thought I did?
From there, I came up with the idea of a group of women deciding to share secrets in anonymous letters to one another – and one of those women using it as an opportunity to reveal a frightening admission, before changing her mind and attempting to destroy the letter. But then another woman finds the evidence and has to figure out who wrote such a shocking letter.
Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There is a scene where the four women participate in a mud run. During the race, two of the characters suddenly find themselves competing against one another – the both of them unexpectedly feeling the need to prove a point. This scene is my favourite because I hadn’t actually planned for it to turn out that way – but as I wrote the scene, the characters seemed to take over!
What are you working on at the moment?
A novel about the divide between mothers and non-mothers and about the judgement between parents and about the sometimes toxic influence of social media groups on women… and that’s all I can say at this stage without giving too much away!
What tricks do you have to beat writer’s block?
- Do some free writing that has absolutely nothing at all to do with your current work in progress.
- Eat a large amount of chocolate.
- Skip ahead or jump back to a different section in your book.
- Eat a salted caramel macaroon.
- Take a walk.
- Write a poem.
- Eat a large tub of choc-chip cookie dough ice cream.
- Do a boxing class. Or a Zumba class (unless, like me, you have no rhythm).
- Drink a glass of red wine.
- Have another glass of wine.
How many other books have you had published? Which one is your favourite?
I’ve published two other novels (Free-Falling and Paper Chains) and one novella (Captivation). I think Paper Chains is my favourite because it’s the book that has the most of me within it. Writing that book was my chance to let go of a lot of fear, anger, uncertainties and depression. It was a way for me to explore the path my life might have taken had I let my depression consume me at a dark time during my life.
Where is your favourite place to write?
At a local café where the staff always know my coffee order and they give me character names and free Wifi and they have the best chocolate brownies in the world.
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
Feedback from a reader telling you that your book reached them in some way. One of my all-time favourite reviews was from a book blogger named Inkcrush. She was so kind in her review and the best part was when she said the following: “Paper Chains went above and beyond and I felt so liberated, so affirmed after finishing. From things I didn't even realize I was holding onto. Failures or perceived failures. Secret thoughts and pressures. Doubts and expectations. I just felt like everything is okay, is going to be okay, and life is good.” Her review meant the absolute world to me.
What was the first grown up novel you ever read and how did it shape you?
Flowers in the attic. I’m pretty sure I was too young to read it, I stole it off my sister’s book shelf and it both terrified and disturbed me. But I think it opened me up to a new world of books. After having read and adored books like The Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair – reading Flowers in the Attic was my discovery that not all books had Enid Blyton style happy endings.
The best birthday/Christmas present you ever received?
The Christmas present I received from my now husband (then boyfriend) for our first Christmas together: Tickets to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the moonlight cinema on the following Valentine’s Day.