Wednesday 28 September 2022

The Woman In The Library by Sulari Gentill BLOG TOUR @SulariGentill #TheWomanInTheLibrary @ultimopress @RandomTTours #BookExtract


Hannah Tigone, bestselling Australian crime author, is crafting a new novel that begins in the Boston Public Library: four strangers; Winifred, Cain, Marigold and Whit are sitting at the same table when a bloodcurdling scream breaks the silence. A woman has been murdered. They are all suspects, and, as it turns out, each character has their own secrets and motivations – and one of them is a murderer.

While crafting this new thriller, Hannah shares each chapter with her biggest fan and aspirational novelist, Leo. But Leo seems to know a lot about violence, motive, and how exactly to kill someone. Perhaps he is not all that he seems...

The Woman in the Library is an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship – and shows that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill was published on 15 September 2022 by Ultimo Press. I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you here today as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

Extract from The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Writing in the Boston Public Library had been a mistake. It was too magnificent. One could spend hours just staring at the ceiling in the Reading Room. Very few books have been written with the writer’s eyes cast upwards. It judged you, that ceiling, looked down on you in every way. Mocked you with an architectural perfection that couldn’t be achieved by simply placing one word after another until a structure took shape. It made you want to start with grand arcs, to build a magnificent framework into which the artistic detail would be written—a thing of vision and symmetry and cohesion. But that, sadly, isn’t the way I write.

I am a bricklayer without drawings, laying words into sentences, sen- tences into paragraphs, allowing my walls to twist and turn on whim. There is no framework, just bricks interlocked to support each other into a story. I have no idea what I’m actually building, or if it will stand.

Perhaps I should be working on a bus. That would be more consistent with my process such as it is. I’m not totally without direction...there is a route of some sort, but who hops on and who gets off is determined by a balance of habit and timing and random chance. There’s always the possibility that the route will be altered at the last minute for weather or accident, some parade or marathon. There’s no symmetry, no plan, just the chaotic, unplotted bustle of human life.

Still, ceilings have a wonderful lofty perspective that buses do not. These have gazed down on writers before. Do they see one now? Or just a woman in the library with a blank page before her?

Maybe I should stop looking at the ceiling and write something.

I force my gaze from its elevated angle. Green-shaded lamps cast soft ellipses of light that define boundaries of territory at the communal reading tables. Spread out, by all means, but stay within the light of your own lamp. I sit at the end of one of dozens of tables placed in precise rows within the room. My table is close enough to the centre of the hall that I can see green lamps and heads bent over books in all directions. The young woman next to me has divested her jacket to reveal full-sleeve tattoos on both arms. I’ve never been inked myself, but I’m fascinated. The story of her life etched on her skin... She’s like a walking book. Patterns and portraits and words. Mantras of love and power. I wonder how much of it is fiction. What story would I tell if I had to wear it on my body? The woman is reading Freud. It occurs to me that a psychology student would make an excellent protagonist for a thriller. A student, not an expert. Experts are less relatable, removed from the reader by virtue of their status. I write “psychology student” onto the blank page of my notebook and surround it with a box. And so I hop onto the bus. God knows where it’s going—I just grabbed the first one that came along.

Beneath the box I make some notes about her tattoos, being careful not to make it obvious that I am reading her ink.

Across from me sits a young man in a Harvard Law sweatshirt. He cuts a classic figure—broad shoulders, strong jaw, and a cleft chin—like he was drawn as the hero of an old cartoon. He’s been staring at the same page of the tome propped before him for at least ten minutes. Perhaps he’s committing it to memory...or perhaps he’s just trying to keep his eyes down and away from the young woman on my left. I wonder what they are to each other: lovers now estranged, or could it be that he is lovelorn and she indifferent? Or perhaps the other way round—is she stalking him? Watching him over the top of Freud? Might she suspect him of something? He certainly looks tormented... Guilt? He drops his eyes to check his watch—a Rolex, or per-haps a rip-off of the same.

To the left of Heroic Chin is another man, still young but no longer boyish. He wears a sport coat over a collared shirt and jumper. I am more careful about looking at him than I am the others because he is so ludicrously handsome. Dark hair and eyes, strong upswept brows. If he catches my gaze he will assume that is the reason. And it isn’t...well, maybe a little. But mostly I am wondering what he might bring to a story.

He’s working on a laptop, stopping every now and then to stare at the screen, and then he’s off again, typing at speed. 

Good Lord, could he be a writer? 

Photo Credit : Edmund Blenkinsop
After setting out to study astrophysics, graduating in law and then abandoning her legal career to
write books, Sulari now grows French black truffles on her farm in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW. 

Sulari is the author of The Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, historical crime fiction novels (ten in total) set in the 1930s. 

Sulari’s work has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Best First Book), the Davitt Award, the Ned Kelly Award and the ABIA. 

She won the Davitt Award for the A Decline in Prophets, and the Ned Kelly Award for her most recent standalone novel, Crossing the Lines. 

Instagram @sularigentill

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