Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Blitz : Misplaced

Misplaced by Lee Murray
Publication date: December 1st 2013
Genres: Mystery, New Adult
Purchase: Amazon
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Dream cars have no registration plate…

One evening, Adam’s mum pops out for the milk and doesn’t come back, launching a frantic nationwide search. Yet after weeks with no leads, the television crews drift away, the police start asking hairy questions, and Adam’s dad starts seeing someone else. Adam’s life is falling apart. But then he meets Skye, who it seems has misplaced a parent too, and things start to look up. That is, until a body is found…
“Misplaced is a gripping, poignant narrative of family loss and teenage discovery. The characterisation is outstanding. An exceptionally well-conceived and executed young adult novel.” Graeme Lay


What concept or situation about Misplaced makes it unique?

Death is final. It’s terribly sad, but the person is gone. But when someone goes missing, there’s always a chance they might come back. That perennial spark of hope is perhaps the thing that makes loss through disappearance the most difficult. In Misplaced, Adam’s grandpa has Alzheimer’s, an incurable disease in which a person loses their memory over time. I felt this was an important parallel to Adam’s story of loss as a person suffering from Alzheimer’s can have occasional periods of lucidity, providing family members with the cruel hope that the person might one day come back.

What inspired you to write Misplaced?

I’m not sure inspiration is the right word. This story was written for my dear friend, Florence Bloise. One evening in 2003, Florence went missing in France. No trace of her has ever been found. Sadly, this situation is more common than you might think: all over the world people go missing every day. Most turn up after a few days but some, like my friend Florence, are never found. An artist, Florence has three children, now in their teens. In writing Misplaced, I wanted to examine how those left behind might cope, or not cope, under those uncertain circumstances. How does one move on? Is it even possible? Perhaps in my own way, I’m still searching for Florence, and for closure.

What is your favourite scene from Misplaced and why?

I particularly like the scenes in which Adam and his friends seek answers from a medium. From the outset the teens are sceptical, something the medium doesn’t know, which made it fun to write.

The book cover is lovely. Haunting. Who designed it?

Thank you! The book cover was designed by Gisborne artist Romilly Brown, and is based on a photograph of one of my daughter’s school friends. I particularly liked the Mona Lisa character of the image: the way the boy looks as if he’s incredibly sad, but about to break into a smile, too. Romilly used that image, and gave it an interminable sense of waiting in keeping with the theme of the book.  

What are five things we don’t know about you.
  1. I’m short. I only squeak through the height restriction at amusement parks. Quite often, I have to ask my children to get things off the shelves in the pantry. 
  2. I’m also scared of heights, so you won’t see me on any of those big rides at amusement parks.
  3. Unlike poor Adam, who struggles with the subjunctive tense, I speak fluent French.
  4. Like Adam, I enjoy running. I’ve run 22 marathons. Fallen flat on my face a few times, too. 
  5.  I make a mean Moroccan Lamb. 
I lie in the dark. 

It’s quiet, except for the faint churn of the dishwasher downstairs, but I can’t sleep. When I was little, if I woke up from a bad dream, I’d hop into Mum’s side of the bed and snuggle into her. 

‘Just a bad dream,’ she would murmur, half-asleep, wrapping an arm around me. ‘It’s not real. Go back to sleep.’ 

But this dream is real.

In the darkness, I reach out my mind to Mum, closing my eyes and sending my thoughts swirling into the universe like tendrils of smoke pouring into the farthest corners, searching for her. If I concentrate hard, I feel I can almost reach her. I can hear her breathe, smell the scent of her, feel the pulsing of her heart, the warmth of her skin. Intuitively, I know that breathing will break the connection, tenuous like a spider web weighed down after rain. I take a deep breath and hold it... holding... holding... holding us together for as long as I can so she knows I’m here and I’m thinking about her, missing her. My head pounds from the strain. I screw my eyes up, feel the tension between my eyebrows. Holding. My heart races. My cheeks scream. 

Chest bursting. Still, I hold on. Eventually, I can’t help it: I have to breathe. 

I lose her in a whoosh. 

Lee Murray is a full-time writer and editor with masters degrees in science and management. Lee wrote Misplaced after a friend, Florence, went missing from her home in France in 2003. Sadly, Florence is still missing. Lee lives in Tauranga, New Zealand with her husband and their two teenaged children. 

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