'Today is my death anniversary. A year ago today I was still alive.'
Rachel, Max and their daughter Ellie had the perfect life - until the night Rachel's heart stopped beating.
Now Max and Ellie are doing their best to adapt to life without Rachel, and just as her family can't forget her, Rachel can't quite let go of them either. Caught in a place between worlds, Rachel watches helplessly as she begins to fade from their lives. And when Max is persuaded by family and friends to start dating again, Rachel starts to understand that dying was just the beginning of her problems.
As Rachel grieves for the life she's lost and the life she'll never lead, she learns that sometimes the thing that breaks your heart might be the very thing you hope for.
Can you tell us a little bit about your debut book The Dead Wife’s Handbook?
The Dead Wife’s Handbook is the story of 36-year old Rachel, who’s died unexpectedly and is now watching the lives of her loved ones as they come to terms with her death. It’s a story about love, loss and how you measure a life well-lived.
Where did the inspiration come from to create a central character who is dead as opposed to living?
Good question! A friend had been talking about being borderline-obsessed with what her ex-husband was telling his new girlfriend about her and it got me thinking about how that’s such a common anxiety: what secrets exes might betray. And it got me thinking about the most extreme version of that: where you haven’t just broken up, but you’re dead and there’s no way of ever intervening.
Have you ever felt that someone is watching over you?
I’m not sure I’ve ever felt someone’s watching over me, but I do feel that the loved ones you lose stay alive in some way through your memories of them or the things they taught you.
Have you got anything exciting planned for publication day?
I expect I’ll be spending it much like any other day - with my little girl at home or in the park or at playgroup! And I suspect I might be on Twitter quite a lot...
Are you going to treat yourself to something nice to celebrate?
The weekend of publication, my mum and step-dad are very kindly babysitting while my husband takes me to lunch at my favourite restaurant. I suspect we may have a glass or two of bubbles!
Are you currently working on a new book? If so, are you able to tell us anything about it?
I’ve finished the first draft of book two and am currently in the torturous process of edits and revisions (which can go on for a very long time!) The subject is under wraps at the moment, but it’s another story that I hope will pack an emotional punch.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I always knew I loved writing. But I loved other things too, especially classical music, and very nearly went to music college instead of university. There’s definitely always been a secret (although now not-so-secret!) desire to write a publishable book one day.
Where would be you idyllic location for a writing retreat?
As long as I have peace and quiet I can write pretty much everywhere and I’m actually quite a girl of habit, so I rather like being in my study at home. But if I had a fantasy, it would probably be a very warm and toasty room with a huge window looking out onto snow-capped mountains and cloudless blue skies. With maybe a lake below for good measure!
Hannah asked bloggers to record a short message asking us what we would like to be remembered for, here's the fab result of those who were brave enough to film themselves (don't bother looking for me as I wasn't brave enough!).
Hannah Beckerman studied English Literature at King's College, London and Queen Mary and Westfield College. She spent twelve years as a television producer of arts and history documentaries before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in London with her husband and daughter, The Dead Wife's Handbook is her first novel.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Wifes-Handbook-Hannah-Beckerman/dp/0718178149