Hello Emma Louise, thank you so much for the kind invite to drop by your blog. You know how I always enjoy our natters!
Since I last stopped by, I’ve been quite busy! My second book, The Life You Left is now on sale as an eBook and goes on sale in paperback on 3rd July. Can you hear my squeals all the way over the Irish sea to you? Writing The Life You Left was very different to that of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. I wrote BGR with an innocence I suppose, that you only really have with first books I think. The future of Grace’s story was unsure, as I had no idea if I would get that much coveted book deal, if it would ever be read.
So when I started TLYL, it was with a slightly different outlook. This time I knew I had a book deal and TLYL would be read most definitely. I also had a deadline to meet with my lovely editor and publisher, but more than that, I now had a readership, a BGR fan base, that I desperately didn’t want to let down.
Having said that, I still wrote TLYL with the same technique I used with BGR. At great speed!
Once I have an idea or concept of a story, I like to get started and just write and see where the characters take me. I will know the beginning and the end, but often exactly how the protagonists will get there! Quite often, as I’m in the middle of a scene, inspiration will hit me for the next part and the high I get from those ‘eureka’moments is incredible!
The inspiration for TLYL actually came from two places. One of the central themes in the novel is that of a murder that happens on a beach. I actually wrote a short story around this, long before I wrote the book! I was walking on our local beach early one morning, and the wind was making funny noises, putting my imagination into overdrive! When I got home, I fired up my laptop and started to write and eventually, this 2000 word story, became a chapter in TLYL.
Another theme in the story is that of the friendship between Sarah and her childhood friend Edward, who is an angel, but only she can see him. The idea to look at a protagonist who could see angels, came from an encounter I had in a shopping centre a few years ago. I was actually going through a rough time and this woman approached me outside M&S of all places, and told me that I was surrounded by the love of an angel, who was there for me and looking after me.
It was a surreal moment, because once she had finished speaking to me, she walked away, not even giving me a chance to respond. I sometimes wonder did I imagine it. I began to think about that woman, someone who offered solace without looking for anything in return. Sarah’s character began to form from that and before I knew it, so did The Life You Left.
The story is a little darker than BGR, with several baddies, that were a joy to write. In BGR, cancer was really the baddie, but in TLYL there are a couple of humdingers, that I know are already evoking strong emotions in the readers. In particular, I loved writing Michelle. She was great fun to get inside!
I can remember the day that I sent TLYL to my editor to read. It was scary and exciting in equal parts. It was wonderful working with my editor on the edits, because she really ‘got’the story and pushed me to work on the parts that needed to shine. I’m very grateful for Charlotte Ledger’s help, lucky to have her on my side. For me, three seems to be the lucky number! I have done three re-writes on BGR and also on TLYL!
So Emma, thank you once again for having me and thank you to you and to all your lovely followers who have read my books. Means the world, truly does.