A Letter to the World! Interview with Author Emily Williams
Not only is Emily Williams a loving mother to two little ones, and a teacher herself, but she’s also one of the most talented debut authors of the year. Her debut novel, Letters to Eloise was released earlier this year, and readers around the world have fallen in love. The beauteous messages the novel sends out to the world, as well as the emotionally raw writing style, it’s no surprise that her success seems to be on the rise.
I had the privilege of getting to chat with the lovely Emily, and ask her about her emotionally charged yet beautiful novel Letters to Eloise, and how she creates such wonderful writing:
Me: Hi Emily! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Emily: Hello! I’m Emily, an author and teacher that lives by the sunny seaside in West Sussex. I am a massive pet lover with a host of different animals at home from horses and birds, to guinea pigs! After a riding accident on my welsh mountain pony, I’ve suffered with wrist and joint problems but am determined to not let this stops me doing what I love best, writing! I have two small children to keep me busy and on my toes. I eat far too many biscuits and have a fondness for gin and tonics and white wine!
I’ve written since a small child and finally, after many abandoned stories, completed my first novel Letters to Eloise.
Me: Such a wonderful description! You’re so inspiring! What is your writing method? How do you stay motivated?
Emily: I have to plan, plan, plan, and keep to a schedule! In the past, I have started many stories but never have been able to finish. I have found that getting all my ideas down before forming a plan was the best way. Although, I do allow some flexibility and certain characters take over and lead the story in different directions!
Me: I love that so much, planning is so important! I know that Letters to Eloise is an emotional book, was it hard to write?
Emily: At the time when I wrote the novel, the emotions flowed from me quite easily. I found myself believing I was Flora and wrote from my heart. Reading it back afterwards was very difficult! It did feel like reading something that I hadn’t wrote and was very emotional.
Me: Oh gosh, I can imagine it was heartbreaking to re-read, but definitely worth it! What actually inspired the narrative behind the novel?
Emily: I’m not sure what initially inspired the story. It suddenly hit me and I knew I needed to pour it out. I jotted the plot ideas into a notebook and looking back, I followed my initial ideas completely. Other characters and sub plots where developed as I was writing.
Me: Such an amazing idea to come out of the blue, now I know you’re a mother yourself, so was it hard to write about going through such hard times whilst being pregnant?
Emily: At the time of writing the first draft of the novel, I did want to settle down with a family, however I had been told that conceiving a baby would be almost impossible naturally. I think this is why the book was written so emotionally. I fell pregnant not long after the draft was finished and found I couldn’t even look at the novel whilst pregnant. (I’ve warned other pregnant friends to wait to read the book until after birth is it’s difficult to read!).
When I came to edit the first draft, I had just had my son so I added elements to the story that I’d learnt due to my pregnancy.
Me: This is so inspiring wow! I’m so happy that you had the happy ending you wanted, that’s so brilliant. I can imagine it was very emotional to read whilst pregnant! Your book is an inspiration for many, so who are your inspirations in life?
Emily: I have many inspirations. My sister gave me Stephen King’s autobiography ‘On Writing,’ as a birthday present. His determination to succeed definitely influenced me and kept me writing; determined to succeed too. Many other authors have inspired me along my own journey. I love the vivid worlds that Cecelia Ahern creates and how she sucks you into the story.
Me: I’m so happy to hear you love Stephen King, and he inspired you! I love him too, he’s a very brilliant author! I love this answer! You gained such helpful messages from those authors, so what message do you hope readers get out of Letters to Eloise?
Emily: I hope they take away the message that life is there to be lived and to not be shy in fighting for what you believe in. Don’t let it slip away.
Me: Absolutely beautiful! What advice would you give to university students (as Flora is one herself!)?
Emily: Flora found university very challenging whilst being pregnant and I admire her for continue to pursue her career despite everything that was happening around her. As a graduate myself, I would say to fully immerse yourself in both the social and academic side of life, as it is the best time you will have!
Me: That’s such amazing advice! I really love how dedicated Flora was for her future too! I know that there are quotes from Abelard and Heloise in the novel, where did the decision to use these quotes come from?
Emily: I hadn’t heard of Abelard and Heloise and their love story before writing Letters to Eloise. The inspiration came when I looked up the meaning behind the name Eloise and stumbled across the tragic love story. I thought it fitted perfectly and used the quotes as they helped capture emotions during poignant parts of the story. Some of the quotes were incredibly emotional. I read many of the letters that they sent between them over the years.
Me: What a perfectly timed coincidence that you found them! They fit so perfectly in the book, and add such emotion. What made you decide to write the book in letter format?
Emily: Ever since primary school, I have always written letters and hoped for a reply! There’s nothing more personal than receiving a handwritten letter and Flora needed to express her feelings in a way a diary or emails just didn’t work. By writing letters, with a purpose, it helped express some of the feeling she couldn’t talk about to the people around her.
Me: I’ve always loved writing letters too, I absolutely loved this aspect of the book, I agree it made it feel so personal. You created such wonderful characters within this novel, but which character do you feel you identify as most? Who did you love writing the most?
Emily: I imagined myself as Flora when I wrote the book but I really enjoyed writing Brooke the most. She is spontaneous and fun but deep down had a heart of gold. I just loved the inappropriate comments that she would butt in with! She’s certainly a character that forced herself into having a bigger role in the novel!
Me: I love that, she’s so brilliant! You’re a reader yourself, so what books do you normally read?
Emily: I read a wide variety of books and don’t usually keep to one genre. I have different genres I dip into for my different moods. I usually love reading a good romance or chick lit book whilst on holiday relaxing but at home would opt for a thriller or more literary read.
One Day by David Nicholls would be a firm favourite as it ticks many boxes of mine and I love the relationships between the characters.
Me: I adore One Day, I read it so long ago but it’s still stuck with me ever since. I know writing books can be hard, especially ones as emotionally demanding as yours, so if the topics get hard, or the writing itself gets tough, how do you overcome it?
Emily: I wrote Letters to Eloise in an odd order, choosing letters to write out of sequence, which helped overcome writers block. I have found that I’ve done exactly the same with my next novel. It keeps me writing without being frustrated. Although it makes it a nightmare at the end making sure the story all flows and things aren’t missed out!
Me: Well it definitely paid off with your wonderful book! Finally, what can we expect for the future?
Emily: I am currently working on a YA book called ‘Rafferty Lincoln loves…’ I am donating all the proceeds from the novel to two horse charities, one being the Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. The story follows four teenagers as they form a close friendship after finding and secretly keeping the missing Racehorse Profits Red Ridge. Rafferty, the central character, doesn’t like horses particularly, but he’s willing to do anything to get the girl of his dreams to fall for him. He just hasn’t realised the consequences that will follow the decision to keep a horse that isn’t theirs.
The adult book I’m working on is called ‘10 Ways’ and is a more psychological emotional thriller about how a mother fights to gain back her life after her child goes missing.
I am very much enjoying writing both of these novels and hope you will too when they are released later this year.
Me: I’m so excited! I can’t wait to read all of your new books when they’re out! Thank you so much for talking to me, and for letting me ask you these questions!
Emily: Thank you for interviewing me!
There we go! My interview with the wonderfully talented Emily Williams, it was an absolute pleasure to talk to her and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us later this year! It sounds like she is definitely an author to watch out for and add to your auto-buy list!
For more information about her book, future plans and to read her own book reviews and other related blog posts, don’t forget to check out her blog at: http://emilywilliamsauthor.blogspot.co.uk/
You can also find her on Twitter @EmilyRMWilliams!
Letters to Eloise is completely FREE on ebook from Amazon today & tomorrow (19th & 20th July), so don’t miss this chance to get the book! Thank you to Emily for creating this deal for us, I hope you all love it!
Click here to go straight to the Amazon page to download your free eBook!
Emily loves reading reviews and loves hearing your thoughts about the book too, so don’t forget to give it a review on Amazon if you’ve already read it, to show her some love!