The Best Man

I am very proud to announce that my ninth novel, The Best Man, is officially out! A few bookshops were early stacking it on their shelves, so some of 9781742611945you have already read it; some had it magically appear on their e-readers after pre-ordering earlier; others had it delivered to their door from online booksellers. Books come in a variety of ways these days, but in the end, it’s the story that counts. So I guess I should tell you what this one is about. It opens as Henry and Madeleine are waiting at the airport to meet the best man for their wedding, Henry’s old college friend, Aiden. And then … you see, here’s where I get stuck. Allow me to explain.

This is the first time I have started with the title. For some authors, that’s their preferred method. (Am I right, Jenn McLeod?) But on more than one occasion, my publisher and I have still been scratching around for a title just before the manuscript was due at the typesetter. This is not an ideal situation. So it was very handy to come up with a title first. The Best Man. Three little words that had the potential to mean a whole lot. They did to me, anyway, which is why I was eventually able to write an entire novel around them. I started dropping the title here and there, and it seemed to get the desired response:

‘The Best Man, eh? Who is the best man?’

‘Hmm,’ I would reply, cryptically. ‘Who indeed?’ That is the question.

I wondered if I’d finally attained the holy grail – of fiction and non-fiction writers alike – and managed to create a ‘hook’. A hook is that irresistible idea, or a question you can pose that creates a buzz, has everyone talking, and sucks you straight into the story, dying to find out the answer. My friend and fellow author, Liane Moriarty, is a master of the hook. Every time I hear the idea for her next novel, I want to read it immediately (after wishing I’d had the idea first!). So I was very proud of myself for coming up with a catchy, hopefully intriguing title.

But as I progressed further and further, I realised the rest of the story wasn’t going to be so easy to encapsulate. This seems to be the way it goes with my books. My focus is all on the characters, so the first thing I did after the title popped into my head was create them – their names, backgrounds, what they did for a living. Then I threw them together at a particular, significant point in their lives, and watched what happened next. That may be all well and good, but it does not make for a must-read blurb on the back of the cover! And it also makes it very hard for me to post an interesting blog (Are you still there? Hello? Anyone?).

So what I thought I’d do this time is hand the Comments over to outright spoilers. It’s safe to keep reading the rest of this post, but – ALERT! – don’t scroll down that-a-way if you haven’t read The Best Man first. If you have, and you want to make a comment, or ask a question, start a discussion, whatever – then fire away. The idea occurred to me the other day when someone posted on Facebook, after reading The Best Man, that they couldn’t say much so as not to spoil it for others. That was absolutely the correct thing to do in a public forum, but I would genuinely love to hear your feedback, what you think of the characters, and what they (or I) did right or wrong, good or bad. Please do NOT feel that you have to say something nice, this is not a fishing expedition. The only time I get to have such conversations is when I’m invited to book clubs, where (mostly) the attendees will have read the book. The rest of the time – at events, in interviews – I have to tread carefully and not give away too much. 

So go nuts in the Comments. Speak freely! Here’s a question to start you off, and to help me out at the same time – How would you describe The Best Man, in a nutshell? What would you say it’s about? I might just glean some pithy answers for the next time I’m asked. 🙂

And don’t forget – if you haven’t read The Best Man, SPOILER ALERT ahead!

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21 thoughts on “The Best Man

      • Ive just finished reading this book and enjoyed it very much, even though the ending was a bit fluffy. I have to say that your insight into womens feelings and inner thoughts is exceptional. I’ve read all your books and thoroughly enjoyed them.

  1. Bron C on September 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm said:
    Hi Di,
    I read The Best Man over the weekend and whilst I am still digesting it all, I would really love to know if you plan a follow up novel with Liv/David/Rick – seems to me to be a whole story waiting to be written there 🙂

    Hi Bron

    Great question! Yes, I realise I only touched lightly on Liv’s story, and there could be a whole lot more there. The only problem is, to write an entire novel around Liv, I’d have to give her some conflict, maybe even some heartache, and as we know through Liv’s back story, she’s had a pretty rough time of it already (as has David). I’m kinda hoping that she and David have a smooth run from here on in. But they are interesting characters – I loved writing about Liv – so you never know …

    • I see your point about heartache Di – I felt like I was looking for a few more chapters about Liv and David, just as I long to know what happened to Liam and Georgie (my favourites of all of your characters) once they reunited in Almost Perfect. Oh well – I shall have to leave it to my imagination. Thanks for giving me many happy hours with my nose in your lovely books.

      • Well, I did give you a little epilogue with Liam and Georgie at least 🙂 (By the way, I love that they’re your favourites – a lot of people loved Georgie, but many were still cross with Liam and thought he didn’t deserve to be happy. Which made me sad! I thought he’d made mistakes, but he’d suffered enough!)

        Anyhow, it is really hard to know when to finish. Most readers want more – which I take as a compliment – but I think you do have to leave some things to the imagination. In my imagination Liv and David do all right 🙂

  2. Hi Di
    I loved the Best Man except that it finished too soon. I wanted to read more. Most of all I wanted the story to at least jump ahead to the wedding day and also hear a bit more about Liv & Davids budding relationship. I loved all the characters but perhaps would have liked to see Aiden get his just deserts for his less than honourable behaviour. I always read a new book quickly because I want to know what happens. I then come back a couple of weeks later and read it much slower taking everything in and savouring it. I look forward to reading it again soon and digesting it more fully. Congratulations on another great book.
    Ange

    • Two comments in a row wanting more! I will take that as a compliment! Like I said to Bron above, it really is hard to know when to stop. I could have written the wedding, but to be honest, it probably wouldn’t have been very interesting – all the conflict is over, so it would just be people being happy! It’s so much easier to show something like that in a film – I’m thinking particularly of that gorgeous montage at the end of Notting Hill. I have a similar montage in my head, and guess what – Henry does dance with Madeleine, and it’s very romantic. And David is a hit!

      As for Aiden, yes, I wouldn’t have minded seeing him get more of a comeuppance, but it was too difficult without him taking over more of the ending. I did play with some ideas, but in the end, it was Madeleine’s journey, and she had to sort herself out. And as Bron suggests below, I don’t think he’s going to be a very happy camper.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Ange! I love hearing this stuff!

  3. Hey Ange I do exactly the same and then take some time to digest everything. Having a think about it now, I too would’ve liked to “see” the wedding. Regarding Aiden, I feel he got exactly what he deserved with Henry and Maddie being happy. I was a little frustrated that Maddie was so blind to Aiden’s obvious plotting to undermine his “best friend” – thank goodness I don’t have any such best friends. I love how Di brings her characters and all of their flaws to life, I love that I can’t put the book down until I have finished it!

    • Hi again, Bron. Perhaps my reply to Ange above will help about the wedding – use your imagination 😉 It’s probably better than anything I could put on the page!

      And I couldn’t agree more about Maddie – she is so frustrating, and damned stupid at times. But she has issues, and she really has to deal with them to be able to see straight.

      Thank you for the lovely compliments – so thrilled you enjoyed it, and couldn’t put it down.

  4. The Best Man is definitely the next book on my reading list. Have just finished Michael Rowbotham’s Watching You, another of my favourite Aussie authors but really need a different kind of read. Love your books.
    Tricia

  5. You never cease to amaze me, Di. I fall in love with your characters in every book (even Aiden – although he was a bit of a ratbag). I totally agree that I would love to see a sequel with Liv and David and could totally see Rick as being the complication you need.

    As for the wedding, I would’ve loved to have been a guest and see the amazing gown that Lucy created (great name btw) and to taste the cake (especially if she left it to the red velvet and the coconut cake). Di, did you go to a cake tasting as part of the research for this one?

    Can’t wait to have more talks about this book soon. Xx

    • Wow, you even fell for Aiden – do you like the bad boys, Kelly? 🙂

      And if I keep getting votes for David and Liv, I might just have to think seriously about giving them their own story!

      As I said above, if I had the resources, I’d film a lovely montage of the wedding for you all to salivate over 🙂 Then again, wouldn’t it be lovely if I was rich enough to hold some kind of competition and all the winners could come to the wedding? Ah well, a girl can dream …

      And no, I only went to a virtual cake tasting via Google, more’s the pity!

      • Not the bad boys so much but I would just be stupid enough to fall for the charm (like everyone else lol). Now I see Charlie Hunnam playing him in the movie (oh and if this happens, I want to SEE Charlie Hunnam playing him in the movie. Lol).

        Wonder if we could do a cake tasting as research while you’re up. Lol.

    • If you check out all the comments above, you’re definitely not alone, Helen – everyone wanted more Liv and David! But I guess sometimes it’s good to leave ’em wanting 🙂

      Though I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t write a little novella about the pair …

      Thank you for the kind praise (a triumph!), and I’m not surprised that Hal has not been usurped. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen 🙂

      • Well Hal was my ‘first’ if you remember 😉 and it is hard to beat your first love ❤
        but you seem to have an affection for american men..something you need to tell us Di?? 🙂

  6. Hi Dianne
    Loved your latest book. I have read them all and I look forward to your new ones. You have a great way with writing your dialogue, very sharp, to the point and witty at the right places. Loved all the characters, I did notice that in your previous books your characters all seemed to want to drink wine to relax and I did think with the issue that alcohol plays in some families is not always so positive. I was pleased to see that Maddie’s negative consequences of alcohol abuse formed part of your story and that although it caused issues for her it also brought out the positive wish to change that. Keep writing. It is inspiring me to try and finish a novel I started 25 years ago.

    Cheers
    Anne

    • Thanks Anne! So glad you got some inspiration from The Best Man. And I couldn’t agree with you more about the alcohol consumption. I think it’s such an ingrained part of our lives – which is obviously why it featured so frequently in my other books – that it needed to be held up to a bit of scrutiny.

      Thanks for taking the trouble to write X

  7. Hi Dianne
    Just finished reading The Best Man and loved it. I could not put it down until I finished it. I loved the way you developed the characters and the way the story unfolded. kept me glued. This is the first of your books that I have read only recently discovering you as an author.

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