Story Behind the Story: Christina Philippou

prfileToday I’m delighted to introduce you to the lovely Christina Philippou. Christina’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Lost in Static is her first novel.

Welcome, Christina. Can you please tell us about your story behind you story?

Hello Alli, and thank you so much for having me on your blog today to talk about the story behind Lost in Static.

Based in a university, Lost in Static tells the same story of first year betrayal, lust, and violence through four students’ (sometimes very) different perspectives. Rather than the story, I’m going to talk about what the book’s focus really is about: the writing structure.

For years, I have hunted down multi-point of view stories, as people’s different perspectives have fascinated me. I loved The Alexandria Quartet by Alexandre Dumas, mainly because it does what few other multi-POV stories actually do: retell the story from a different perspective rather than ‘pass the baton’.

And then came my own history. Every time my (long-suffering) husband and I reminisce about how we got together, our versions of events are markedly different, and not all of that is to do with the passage of time – they always were completely different. Every one views events through their own likes, dislikes, ‘tinted glasses’, culture, and personal history, amongst other things, and I’ve always been intrigued by that and it’s lack of exploration in fiction.

When I sat down to write a piece of fiction (that subsequently became my debut novel), I started thinking about perspective. To add to the husband’s version-of-events disagreement, a friend and I had been to a party the previous evening and our recollections were not aligned.

“Right,” I thought, “let’s get this human predisposition for spinning the truth depending on narrator into a story.”

And so Lost in Static was born, along with its four protagonists, which required a lot of thought to enable me to tell the story the way wanted to: from a variety of viewpoints. This is why, for example, the protagonists are not polar opposites to each other. I didn’t want culture to play too large a part in the differences in the narrative, so I gave them all English middle-class (albeit with disparities in income and county of origin) backgrounds. With similarish cultural background, one of the variables in reasons for altering perspectives was ‘stable’.

For similar reasons, I didn’t include disability or obvious racial differences (of the protagonists). I made them similar in those ways and then hit them with differences in schooling, intelligence, character (part nature, part nurture) and money. I then rendered my characters raw by giving them secrets they would go to great lengths to ensure remained so, and then put them in situations that would bring prejudices (or lack of) to the fore.

Writing the same events from four different perspectives was very stretching, as I kept having to put myself in (sometimes very dislikeable) shoes and see how the event in question would appear to them. But it was also very rewarding.

One of the things I have loved most about reading reviews of Lost in Static is how individual readers seem to like or sympathise with different protagonists. And that, to me, has been the most rewarding thing about bringing this multi-perspective seed to life.

coverLost in Static

Sometimes growing up is seeing someone else’s side of the story.

Four stories. One truth. Whom do you believe? 

Callum has a family secret. Yasmine wants to know it. Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself. 

They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding. As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person’s version of events is coloured by their background, beliefs and prejudices. And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence… 

Lost in Static is the gripping debut from author Christina Philippou. Whom will you trust?

Links

 Lost in Static is available from, amongst others, Amazon UK, Amazon US, and direct from the publisher, Urbane Publications.

You can connect with Christina on her websiteTwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+.