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.
Many thanks Beth for having me join your blog ‘Words from a Reader’ today. I am very excited to be joining you, sharing my debut novel Letters to Eloise, and talking more about the novel writing process.
1. Tell me about Letters to Eloise.
Letters to Eloise has become a very special novel to me. I started the novel over four years ago when I had the initial idea, which I jotted down into a notebook and then onto post it notes. These post it notes then formed the timeline of the letters for the whole novel. The protagonist ‘Flora’ and her situation were always very strong in my mind. Flora falls pregnant whilst completing her postgraduate studies. She is still in love with her ex boyfriend River, however has tried to move on with a handsome and mysterious lecturer at the university. Later on during the plot drafting process, other characters developed their own voices and some even tried to take over!
I choose the epistolary element for Letters to Eloise as I have always enjoyed reading books that contain diary entries or letters so felt this would fit Flora’s situation perfectly. I liked that she had someone real to write to, someone to pour out her emotions. I loved writing every single letter and making sure that the plot linked up through Flora’s narrative.
I was at a time in my life where I desperately wanted a family but wasn’t in a situation where this was possible, so I think I wrote Letters to Eloise as an outlet to that. The novel took so long to write as, unexpectedly, I also fell pregnant like protagonist Flora. I had just finished the first draft, and when dealing with all things pregnancy related, I found that I couldn’t read or even look at the book so it was put aside! I think this gave the novel time to breathe. I had several beta readers at that time, which read the novel whilst I dealt with having my first child and shortly after, my second!
When I returned to the novel last summer, and piles of proofreader’s notes, I felt rejuvenated and really enjoyed the re-reading and editing process.
2. What do you love about writing?
I love the escapism. Being able to completely take myself away into another world or time and be in charge of what happens. Maybe it’s a control thing, which I didn’t have in my own life! I found the writing process quite therapeutic, and loved spending the evenings writing Letters to Eloise. The story unfolded almost by itself. I have, in the past, been frustrated as the story progressed, but with Letters to Eloise, this didn’t happen. Maybe because I had the outline so firmly in my mind, and written down, so I couldn’t stray too far from the plan! Several characters, namely ‘Brooke’ butted their way in though and changed things!
3. Who are some of your favourite authors and do they inspire you?
Favourite authors would include Cecelia Ahern, who creates amazingly imaginative worlds for her characters that I can picture myself in. Her stories have strong characters with a magical element of fantasy to them. She has inspired me to think outside the box! I have read many Virginia Andrews and Josephine Cox, I love a good saga. Sheila O’Flanagan writes very clearly about the families in her stories and her characters emotions. There are many, many authors who inspire me and all the books I have read as a child have made me the writer and reader I am today. I was, and still am sometimes, a massive pony book fan and still have all my childhood pony stories, especially Patricia Leitch novels. I am hoping my son and daughter will love reading them too!
4. What are some of your favourite books?
I have always loved One Day by David Nicholls. Dexter is the kind of character, and man, I can fall in love with. He is human and flawed but also has wit and charm. I am an all round reader, and don’t usually stick to a particular genre. My summer reads are probably romantic novels. I have read many novels by Cecelia Ahern, The Gift being a particular favourite. I love the cover and prose of The Children’s Book, by AS Byatt, but this is more of a heavy read for when I have time to dedicate. Having two children, I usually need to find novels now that I can read in parts without spoiling the flow of the plot, as usually I like to sit down and read a whole book in one go!
5. Are you working on anything at the moment?
I am currently working on my second novel, with several other children’s books on the go! I always have a children’s books on the go as I get so excited about ideas! My second adult novel is a little different from my debut Letters to Eloise. It probably fits the psychological thriller genre rather than a romance! However, Letters to Eloise isn’t your typical romance. Again, the idea came to me suddenly and I scrambled to write down the whole plot. I am looking forward to seeing how the characters develop by themselves as the story progresses.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, I do hope you enjoyed reading more about me and I hope you enjoy Letters to Eloise.
Letter to Eloise is available to buy on kindle and paperback from the 17th February.
‘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.