Why I decided to write a book “backwards”
BEHIND THE WRITING OF IN THE COMPANY OF LIARS
Why did I decide to write a book “backwards?” Why show the “ending” first and then go back in time, day by day, until the “beginning” on the final chapter?
For the same reason that I’ve always been fascinated with magic tricks. With a magic trick, you see a result—a rabbit appearing from a hat—and you’re left wondering, not what will happen next, but what already happened to create this result?
With the right plot and a deft touch, the same concept can apply even more appropriately to a mystery. As the author, I can backpedal through time to show how something you’ve already read came about, and also show you, on occasion, that what you think you saw wasn’t truly what happened. In other words, you will learn not only how the rabbit found its way into the hat, but also that it may not have been a rabbit at all!
Every author wants to write something truly original. Yet every kind of murder-mystery has been written. Some use a first-person narrative, others the third. Some use a single viewpoint, others use multiple. But no book that I have ever read, or heard of, has gone completely backwards. Why not?
Because it’s very hard to write, probably. But in the end, the principles are the same. You are processing facts and trying to guess the outcome—only this time, the outcome is how the story began, and how each new fact will change what you thought you already knew. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to challenge the reader. I wanted to challenge convention. I wanted to give readers something that they have never seen before. How many mystery writers, these days, can say that?