I thoroughly enjoyed Paula Vince’s novel ‘Best Forgotten’. The concept of waking up with no idea who you are; where you belong; or even an awareness of your own personality traits, is a captivating concept. Paula combines a character suffering with amnesia with a multitude of twists and turns in storyline and theme. The story kept me reading and left me looking forward to her next book.
A young accident victim wakes up in hospital and can’t remember who he is. Why does he have nothing in common with his family? Why does he despise the person he was supposed to be? Why has his best friend disappeared without a trace? Is somebody after him?
His family can offer no solutions. His girlfriend is strangely aloof and he cannot shake off a feeling that the answers will prove more unpleasant than his amnesia. Somehow he must find out as it seems time is running out.
Paula Vince has woven elements of secrecy and suspense with her trademark warmth and compassion. Best Forgotten is an inspirational masterpiece you won’t forget.
1) Amnesia fascinates me. What kind of research did you embark upon in order to bring the main character’s disorder to life?
I searched for amnesia on the internet. My hero’s amnesia is the most extensive type in which he has forgotten all he ever knew about himself, including his identity. It was interesting to learn that this is most often caused by severe emotional stress, in which a person’s mind temporarily shuts down memories rather than cope with the pain they involve. Sudden accidents are responsible to a lesser degree. As he suffered both a horrific ordeal (which the plot reveals later) and a head injury, it fitted in well with my story.
I also needed to do some police research. I phoned a friend in the force to ask him, “How would you go about finding the identity of a young amnesia patient who’d been taken to hospital with no form of ID?” Writing novels has broadened my education.
2) “Best Forgotten” won the CALEB prize for literature last year. How has this (well deserved) acknowledgement impacted your writing life?
It was extremely timely. Earlier in the year, I’d contemplated giving up writing. Ten years on the job coupled with financial difficulties, as my husband was studying full-time, almost convinced me that it was a futile pursuit. During that stage, while I was having withdrawal symptoms from not writing and missing the work on my stories, I won an award for an earlier novel, Picking up the Pieces, which had first been published ten years ago. Later, as you said, I won the CALEB prize for Best Forgotten. Two awards in one year after never receiving any recognition for a decade of work has convinced me that it is ALWAYS too soon to pull the plug on what you love doing.
3) I believe both readers and writers alike learn lessons from a story. What did you learn from writing “Best Forgotten”?
I’m sure I learned some lessons from being in my characters’ heads. When my hero regains his memory, the realization dawns on him that although amnesia was scary, he was happier in many important ways than the person he used to be before his accident. When he remembers the thoughts he used to think, he realizes they were doing him no good. He chooses to purposely discard some of the memories and thoughts that were making him bitter and obnoxious. It occurred to me that we don’t need a week with no memories to learn the same lesson.
4) Can you share what you are working on at present?
It’s a contemporary novel tentatively called Along for the Ride. The hero is a young computer programmer who has been given a medical diagnosis that rocks his world. As his friends and family sink into grief and begin to regard him in past tense while he’s still with them, he uncovers some biblical principles of healing and divine health which he’s never considered before. Meanwhile, the female interest is a young woman who has traveled halfway round the world to correct a wrong she committed in her childhood. Neither of them realise that their paths will entwine and how awesome the road they’re embarking on will be. I feel as if I’m along for a ride myself.
5) Who stocks “Best Forgotten”
As well as Christian bookstores across Australia, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Book Depository stock both paperbacks and kindle versions.
Thank you, Paula. We would love for you to leave a comment.