Today, I am so excited to be a part of the Letters to Eloise blog tour! Author interviews are so interesting to do. I love learning about the author and what makes them tick. It seems to really enhance the story they’ve written for me. Check out the blurb for Letters to Eloise and the author interview below to learn more about Emily before diving into her book!
Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams
Letters to Eloise Blurb:
‘Receiving a hand written letter is something that always puts a smile on my face, no matter who the sender is.’ Flora Tierney.
When post-graduate student Flora falls unexpectedly pregnant during her final year studies she hits a huge predicament; continue a recent affair with her handsome but mysterious lecturer who dazzles her with love letters taken from the ancient tale of ‘Abelard and Heloise’, or chase after the past with her estranged first love?
But will either man be there to support her during the turmoil ahead?
‘Banish me, therefore, for ever from your heart’ – Abelard to Heloise.
Letters to Eloise is the heart wrenching debut epistolary novel by Emily Williams; a love story of misunderstandings, loss, and betrayal but ultimately the incredible bond between mother and child.
Amazon buy links:
What was your inspiration for Letters to Eloise?
I was lucky; the idea came to me suddenly, like a lightening strike. I had been writing plot notes in a notebook for a while, but none of the stories really grabbed me. Then suddenly, this one came to mind and I jotted down a rough timeline and plot. Looking back at those notes, most of the ideas for ‘Letters to Eloise’ came from those initial jottings.
As for why I chose them or they came to me, I am not sure. I guess I was just in a time of my life where I wanted to settle down and start a family. The novel must have kicked started something as I fell pregnant with my first child a couple of months after finishing the first draft!
Did you base the character of Flora off anyone?
I think she has many similarities to me. However, she is probably is a stronger person that I am! She has similar hobbies too, and I some I would have liked to of had!
What is your writing process like?
It has been different for each book, but for ‘Letters to Eloise’ I was very disciplined. I wrote detailed notes on each character, plotted the timeline with dates and did a guideline for every letter Flora wrote. I spent time just post-it noting any ideas then gathering it all together into one big chapter’s grid.
Then I wrote the book letter by letter, but not in any particular order. I found that this was the best way to overcome writers block; I just picked which letter I felt like writing. It did mean that I had to change the initial overview plan several times as the story took me ‘off grid’! Several characters developed further, as the story unfolded, which changed the plot outline a little, and added new elements. I also had to go through with a fine toothcomb to check I had not slipped up and made plot holes due to the chopping and changing. I really enjoyed the process.
I think it depends on my mood. I like a good romance in the summer and when on holiday. I also like a thriller and more psychological stories with twists and turns. It depends on how much time I have. I like to finish a novel within a couple days so if I am busy and the story will take some concentration I wait until I have more time.
I used to belong to a local book club and read a range of genres that I would never have considered before. They opened my eyes and have broadened the breadth of books I chose now.
How long did it take you to finish Letters to Eloise?
A long time! I started it over four years ago. I set myself a deadline and stuck to it, booking myself into a writer’s workshop at Regents College in London as the motivation to finish. It took three months from the initial plot ideas to complete the first draft. Then I fell pregnant …
As Flora was also pregnant, I couldn’t bring myself to edit the novel. You will understand why when you read it! So the book was put on hold (in the meantime it was beta and proof read) until I returned to all the editing notes after having my second child last July. Therefore, it has been a long process but I have learnt a massive amount along the way.
What is the first book that made you cry? The last?
I’m not a big crier. Since having children (maybe it’s all the hormone disruption) I have more of a tendency to be a bit weepy! ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls made me cry; the relationship with Dexter and his mother was especially raw at one point. The last, probably being the end of ‘The Gift’ by Cecelia Ahern. I sobbed at some parts when re-reading ‘Letters to Eloise’. The time away from the novel enabled me to read it with fresh eyes and be caught in the emotion of the story.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Commas! I am utterly, useless at using commas! Luckily, I have lovely editors and proof readers that can help with all of that. I don’t run in fright from punctuation marks anymore!
How do you balance your work and free time?
It’s a juggling act. Made harder now I have children. I used to finish the day job, run the dog along the beach and then start writing. Now, my days are taken up by either the children, or my day job of teaching. Then I am getting the packed lunches ready, feeding the animals and housework before settling down for late night editing. It’s much harder! Fitting in a social life … well that’s another story!
What do you plan to write in the future? Will there be a book 2 in store for us?
Yes – it’s currently in the initial ideas/plot process. Many post-it notes are flying everywhere! It’s more of a dark psychological thriller than a tearjerker!
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
For my publishing imprint, ‘Lutino Publications’, I have chosen a yellow cockatiel (Lutino) as the logo. I have several pet cockatiels at home. I have a breeding pair in an aviary and hand feed the babies from a certain age so they are really friendly and tame. Cockatiels are quite cheeky birds. When editing my novel, often the baby cockatiels would sit along the top of my laptop or trot along and try to prise up the keys! So I chose a cockatiel as my logo. I have two Lutino babies at the moment which I will miss when they leave for their new homes.
Tell us something about Flora that is not in the book. Does she have any favourite foods or bad habits, etc.?
Flora doesn’t really like tea or coffee, though will drink it if offered as doesn’t want to offend. She will heap the sugar in to disguise the taste. She prefers hot chocolate but feels it would be too childish to ask for it. When she is nervous, she chews the end of her hair and often still bites her fingernails.
How can we follow you on social media?
I am on twitter @EmilyRMWilliams and you can follow my new releases at amazon.com/author/emilywilliams
Also please come and visit my author blog: emilywilliamsauthor.blogspot.co.uk
Thank you so much, I have really enjoyed joining your blog today!
Emily Williams is a debut novelist, with ‘Letters to Eloise’, being her first novel for adults. As a primary school teacher, Emily is passionate about using stories to engage children to learn such as with phonics and mathematics. She lives and works within West Sussex, England, with her partner, two children, and a menagerie of animals.