Guest Post and Giveaway: #TheOtherChild by @lucyatkins

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the other child lucy atkins





Guest Post:

Inspiration for The Other Child 



In 2010 my husband was offered a job in the States, so we relocated, with our three children, then aged 12,10 and 7, and the family dog, to a rental house in an affluent Boston suburb. Unlike our cramped Victorian terraced house here in the UK, this was a big mock Tudor American style home, set on a corner plot of a leafy suburban street, with a generous lawn that stretched round to a backyard, complete with basketball hoop. It was spacious and airy. The perfect place for a growing family.




I had not bargained for what it would take to ‘settle’ a family of five into a new life. I’d lived abroad before, but the last time we relocated we only had a baby and toddler. I had no idea about the reality of yanking three older children away from their friends, family, schools, routines. At any given point during that first sweltering Boston summer, one or other of my children – often all three - would be yelling or sobbing. They were wracked with insecurities, homesickness, regrets, accusations. They turned on each other: bickered, fought, drew blood more than once. It didn’t help that my husband was working a 40 minute drive away in a demanding role, and seemed almost completely absent. And when the children did start school, I found myself alone during the day in a silent street, friendless, and spookily isolated.




We eventually settled, I made wonderful friends, and (two of) my children now see our two years in Boston as the highlight of their childhood. But the early feelings of displacement, isolation and anxiety - the eeriness of those empty suburban days – stayed with me, long after we came home to the UK. When I began to write The Other Child, I didn’t have a plot. I didn’t even really have characters. All I knew was that I had my location: the Mock Tudor house, the silent leafy suburb, where a displaced ex-pat, would live, with her an unhappy child. And so the story of Tess and Greg and Joe and the baby took shape….and all those unsettling things started happening.



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