Brought up in Germany, Rhiannon moved to New York, when the advertising agency she worked for in Düsseldorf sent her there for four months.
“I met my husband the first week I was there, and I never moved back. We married in 2003.”
Rhiannon gave up advertising work when her twins were born, eight years ago. When they went to Kindergarten, at 5, she was trying to decide what to do. And that’s when the idea for her debut was triggered.
“A week after they started, there was a ‘lockdown drill.’ The school went through the procedure of locking the doors and shutting the children into the closet. Later that day, I found Garrett hiding under the table. He was petrified. He said, ‘I’m hiding from the bad guy.’ I thought of the Sandy Hook shooting, and what that experience must be like. I sat down, started writing in a notebook, and I couldn’t stop.”
An America citizen since 2016, and staunchly opposed to Donald Trump, Rhiannon leads her local branch of the Invisible Movement.
“We’re self-organised, but incredibly effective.”
Only Child has sold to 19 countries.
Who is Rhiannon Navin
Date of birth: 1978 in Bremen, Germany.
Education: Secondary School in Bremen. Walter-Eucken-Berufskolleg in Düsseldorf; a combined university and work programme.
Home: New Rochelle, New York.
Family: Husband, Brad. Children Samuel 11, and 8-year-old twins, Garrett and Frankie.
The Day Job: Fulltime mum and writer.
In Another Life: “I always joke that I was born to be a famous singer, because I can’t sing.”
Favourite Writers: John Irving; Henning Mankell; Lara Dearman; Anne Lamont.
Second Novel: “I started many before I found one that excited me.”
Top Tip: “Try not to think about the end game, and of how it will be received. Focus on telling the story you want to tell.”
Web: www.Rhiannonnavin.com Twitter: @rhiannonnavin
The Debut: Only Child. Mantle: €13.99. Kindle: €4.47.
Zach is 6 years old when he survives a school shooting which kills his brother. In the devastating aftermath, he finds ways to cope whilst his family disintegrates around him.
“My intention was to show a regular family, and how hard it was even before this horrible tragedy happens.”
The Verdict: An extraordinary voice. Emotional, heart-breaking, and beautifully sustained.
Published in The Irish Examiner on 17th March, 2018
© Sue Leonard 2018