Latest News

Kirsty Logan

Hello! I’m Kirsty Logan, a writer of novels and short stories. My books are Things We Say In The Dark, The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales.

Latest News

Kirsty Logan

Hello! I’m Kirsty Logan, a writer of novels and short stories. My books are Things We Say In The Dark, The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales.

Blog

Thievery: The Cry

24th Apr 2014 in Guest Post, Thievery

Thievery is a series of blog posts about story inspirations.

On Thursdays, I invite my favourite writers to share the inspirations behind their stories. Here’s one from addictive novelist Helen Fitzgerald.

The Story:

The Cry was published by Faber & Faber.

An Extract:

It was the fault of airport security.

At airport security, Joanna’s nine-week-old baby boy was screaming. Her partner was busy taking off his New Rock trainers. A stocky uniformed woman was saying: “Can’t take these.”

“What?” Joanna asked, her newborn gnawing at her t-shirt through his howls.

“These liquids. The bottles are more than 100mls. If you need more for the flight, you’ve got to have proof. Do you have something in writing?”

“No.”

“In that case, I’ll have to dispose of them.”

“But you can’t. It’s Calpol – Paracetemol – for the baby, and antibiotics. I’ve got an ear infection. And, look, they’re not full.”

“Can I help?” a freshly scanned and shoeless Alistair offered.

“We’ll have to throw these out,” the security woman repeated.

“I told you about the 100ml rule, Joanna.”

“Did you?” Probably. She couldn’t remember.

The Inspiration:

Alistair turned from Joanna to security woman, from problem to solution. “Can one of us nip over to Boots and get some smaller bottles?”

“Well, yes, you can do that. But you’d need to go to the back of the queue and come through again.”

“You go on with Noah,” Joanna suggested. “I’ll go back and sort this.”

She handed over her baby and zig-zagged back the way she had come.

 

It was the fault of airport security.

If Joanna hadn’t gone back, if she hadn’t bought two small, clear 100ml bottles from Boots, if she hadn’t poured liquids into each while kneeling on the floor in front of WH Smith, if she hadn’t waited in the queue for another hour while her breasts ached: if she hadn’t done any of these things, then she would still have her baby.

The Inspiration:

Whenever I’ve been asked this, I’ve given one or both of the following answers:

Lindy Chamberlain: the crime story I grew up with. Remember her? The dingo killed her baby. No it didn’t, she did, because she was a monster, a plain, badly dressed, New Zealand, Seventh-day Adventist one who didn’t cry much, which was way weird ‘cause her baby was dead. Australians hated her and talked of little else, even when they found out the dingo did kill her baby.

And/Or…

Long haul flights and weans. Hubby and I did the trip from Glasgow to Oz many times with a crying baby. Friends advised us (including one or two medical ones) how best to help our children snooze – Calpol, Antihistamines. Put this advice in a novel and it can’t end well.

While both these things were essential to the story, the true inspiration for The Cry was an arsehole. One I went out with years and years ago. The book is about a dysfunctional relationship between a manipulative man and a weakened woman. As I wrote I thought back to this past relationship and felt angry at the male character (Just leave her alone for goodness sake) and the female character (Just leave him for goodness sake). Finishing The Cry was almost as much of a relief as finishing with Mr A.

Get ‘The Cry’ from Faber & Faber.

One response to “Thievery: The Cry”

  1. tu says:

    Oh God, I’m going to have to read this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *