There’s a running joke in Skin Deep where its Korean-American narrator Siobhan O’Brien, who was adopted by a Norwegian mother and an Irish father, has to explain her Irish name to almost everyone she meets. It’s not really funny, of course, but Siobhan deals with it in the same droll fashion she does almost everything. As the novel opens, the owner of the private investigation company where Siobhan is training dies leaving the agency to Siobhan. There isn’t a lot of money or much in the way of assets, but an old friend soon hires Siobhan to search for her missing daughter, a student at the exclusive Llewellyn College. The college recently admitted its first male students, a move which has not been well received by all parties, and the more Siobhan investigates, the clearer it becomes that there is something rotten in the state of Llewellyn — and plenty of very strange characters. At times, the bonkersness of it all did get out of hand, but the mystery is complex and well-plotted, and Siobhan is a great character: funny, smart and independent. This is the first in a series of Siobhan O’Brien novels, so if you like her, stay tuned!
There’s a file on my computer with the title MYSTIDEA.TXT. It’s dated 4/27/1993. If someone were to ask me the exact date when I started this book, that’s the date.
There’s another file on my computer titled CH1 — no extension. Not sure how that happened, but the file loads just fine. At the top of that file is another date: 7/16/93. If someone were to ask me the exact date when I wrote the first words of Skin Deep, that’s the date.
Granted, the end product bears little resemblance to my initial notions, but that’s how long it took.
Happy birthday, Skin Deep. That was a very long labor.
To celebrate your entry into the literary world, here’s one of your godparents:
Look for more godparents to drop by as the week progresses, until we celebrate you properly with your book launch.
The ad appears about 2 minutes in (around -52:25 if you are using the player above), but I suggest you listen to the whole episode, as it’s excellent. I wasn’t aware of Jasper Fforde before this interview, but I surely do now and am better for it.