The Next Chapter

Laurie Petrou talks about publishing her award-winning manuscript Sister of Mine

Laurie Petrou won the Half the World Global Literati Prize her manuscript Sister of Mine. It's now a published novel.
Sister of Mine is a psychological thriller by Ryerson University professor Laurie Petrou. (Submitted by Laurie Petrou)

Laurie Petrou won the Half the World Global Literati Award in 2017, a $50,000 U.S. ($64,820.00 Cdn) prize for unpublished work, for her manuscript Sister of Mine. It's now a published thriller that tells the story of two sisters bound by a dark secret that becomes heavier and heavier as the years go by.

Asking the unthinkable

"It's not a 'whodunnit' but a 'what comes next.' There is a murder in my book, but it's on the very first page, so it's not a spoiler. The book is about what happens to these sisters afterward. We all feel like we have someone that we could call in the middle of the night and ask the unthinkable of. Sister of Mine is about what would that do that relationship, what would it do to the person you asked and what would that do to you."

A debt between sisters

"I love family dramas. I don't have a sister, which many people are surprised about, but I feel like I have to say, I'm also not a murderer. There's a lot of invention that goes around a story. I was interested in starting with the relationship between those two sisters and just raising the stakes.

"The sisters are very close but there's a thread of competition running between them and a thread of debt owed between them. Penny is the older sister and Hattie is the younger. Their father left them when they were very young and Penny has always made Hattie feel that it's because of something that she did. Their mother died on Hattie's watch, so once again Hattie feels at fault. The younger sister spends her life feeling like she has to atone for these sins that she may or may not have committed. There's this idea throughout the book of owing the other sister."

Laurie Petrou's comments have been edited and condensed.