Going on holiday With Other Families by Sue Wallman
Today I am pleased to welcome Sue Wallamn on to the blog with a fantastic guest post!
Going on Holiday With Other Families
In my thriller Your Turn to Die, three families stay in the same holiday house for a week every year. The teenagers, two cousins and a family friend, love hanging out, but this year they’re joined by a girl who’s had to tag along. It upsets the vibe, but there’s something bigger to worry about. The families discover that a few weeks previously, the body of a long-dead teenage girl was found buried in the garden. Not the best start to a holiday.
When I was young, my family didn’t go on holiday with other families. We went on our own or stayed at my grandparents’ or cousins’ houses, but renting somewhere with another family wasn’t something we did.
I liked other people’s families. I loved blending in and imagining what it would be like to belong to them. I wanted to know what it was like to eat food that wasn’t relentlessly homemade and to live in a house where you didn’t have to get dressed under the covers because it was so cold. I felt sure other people had more fun on holiday than we did.
The opportunity to observe other families on holiday came when I was an au pair over two consecutive summers. I went to Scotland and Suffolk with one family, and Nantucket with another. It was enjoyable – and fascinating – but at the end of the day, it was a job, and nothing beat going away with friends.
Then I had children of my own and it turned out that I wasn’t the sort of person who enjoyed staying in a rental property with other families. It was hard work. You had to bring so much with you. You had to negotiate a way through other people’s parenting rules, and make advance plans about who was going to cook what. You couldn’t slope off. It didn’t suit my introvert tendencies.
I did some research into the fictional family people would most like to go on holiday with and the Weasley family came out on top. The exuberance, kind-heartedness, and the chance that Harry and Hermione might drop in were some of the factors. Even I would be tempted, especially since the washing-up would sort itself out. Most fictional families in young-adult fiction have too much conflict going on that holidaying with them would be exhausting or nerve-wracking. Would I accept an invitation to join my three families at Roeshot House in Your Turn to Die? No. Definitely not.