It gives me very great pleasure to be part of the launch celebrations for Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist and to stay in with Heleen to hear more about the book. My thanks to Dylan at Red Dog Press for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.
I last stayed in with Heleen Kist to chat about her novel In Servitude in a post you can see here so I’m delighted to welcome her back again today.
Staying in with Heleen Kist
Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag, Heleen. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me once again.
Hi Linda, thanks for having me. What a lovely fire you’ve got on – it’s freezing outside!
It is! Pull your chair nearer and tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I brought my second novel Stay Mad, Sweetheart. I see you’ve still got In Servitude on your bookshelf from when I was last here. I’m honoured.
Indeed I have and blog readers can find out more about In Servitude here from when we last stayed in together. So tell me, what can we expect from an evening in with Stay Mad, Sweetheart.
You might feel “both engaged and enraged” like one early reader said.
Oh. Sounds intriguing. Explain a bit more…
The book explores the grey areas of consent, insidious harassment and discrimination at work; and what happens when the women have had enough. It’s pacy, with short chapters and I’m told it’s hard to put down until the very end — when you’re left punching the air!
Jo Spain called it ‘a terrific new read’ and ‘on point topical and beautifully written’, which really made my day.
I imagine it did (and if you look along the shelf there you’ll see one of Jo’s books still waiting to be read next to In Servitude!)
It’s an intentionally thought-provoking book a bout everyday sexism and how easy it is to get carried away. I’m hoping it will leave you mulling over where the line is between right and wrong for some time.
I love a book that makes me think Heleen. I imagine a certain interview broadcast over the weekend will make readers even more interested in Stay Mad, Sweetheart! What else have you brought along and why?
Hold on, while I unlock the carrier. Say hello to Scout, the ferret.
Wow! I think Scout must be the most unusual item an author has brought along. She’s very cute isn’t she? But why bring a ferret?
She’s owned by Craig, a photographer, one of my characters. Last year, a friend of mine dared me to include a ferret in this book and whilst at first I had no idea what to do with her, I ended up growing very fond of this pink-nosed creature.
My main character Laura has a cat named Atticus. You might recognise the literary reference: Scout & Atticus. It’s one of a few in the novel. Laura is a real book worm and her love of words is critical to the plot.
Now cats have come along before when authors have stayed in with me and if you look around you’ll see I’m a real cat lover Heleen, but the way Scout is curling up in front of the fire I think she might be converting me! To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourite all time novels so thank you for reminding me of it as we’ve chatted about Stay Mad, Sweetheart.
You’ve really whetted my appetite for Stay Mad, Sweetheart, Heleen and thank you for being here. Let’s find out more about it:
Stay Mad, Sweetheart
THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.
Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.
Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.
Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.
As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.
But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?
About Heleen Kist
Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote Stay Mad, Sweetheart, a feminist tale of revenge. Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of harassment and workplace discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.
Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, In Servitude won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.
A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.
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