Emma Davies joins me for a chat on the blog today, talking about her latest novel Letting In Light. This is a book I have read recently and absolutely adored, she has a certain way with characterisation that I really like, all of the characters pulled on my emotions whether I liked or loathed them.
Rowan Hill means many things to many people, but to Ellie Hesketh it represents new beginnings. Putting her life back together after a break-up is going to take time, but the crumbling country estate—as much in need of TLC as she is—seems the perfect place to do it.
But Ellie is not the only person for whom Rowan Hill is a refuge. There’s Will, damaged and complicated, whose secrets almost nobody knows. And Finn, his brother, who’s finally decided to stop running from his own past. As Ellie is drawn further into saving the estate, she can’t help but try saving the brothers too—and she’s sure she knows just how to go about it. The trouble is, she’s been accused of meddling before.
By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this story of friendship, forgiveness and unexpected romance reveals the lies we tell to hide dark secrets—and what can happen when we let in a little light.
Could you condense Letting in light into a sentence?
It’s a story about dreams and hope, love and friendship, and what can happen when you look at life from a different point of view and start letting in a little light.
I’ve recently read Letting in light and I have to be honest I laughed and cried in equal measure. I have a favourite character in the book (obviously). Do you have a favourite? If so why?
This is so hard, because I actually have two! (Apart from the fact that I love them all of course…) It’s quite often the case that more minor characters end up being your favourites and I’m not really sure why this is, but I loved writing about Patience. I think because she has such a liberated attitude to life, and as a woman of a certain age myself, I like the idea of growing old disgracefully, which Patience definitely intends to!
Creativity and art is something that is featured throughout letting in light. Are you creative person (aside from writing of course) and if so what is your creative passion?
I’ve always been a creative person and over the years it’s manifested itself in many ways! I have a cupboard full of random things; materials, paper, beads, you name it for those ‘just in case’ moments, but I also made cards for many years too. I don’t get much time to pursue these things now, but am in constant awe of people who can make such amazing things.
I think the key to my personal enjoyment of Letting in light was the depth of the relationships in the novel. Was there one relationship or friendship that was a stand out for you?
I’m going to cheat slightly here, because in answering this question I get to tell you about my other favourite character too, and that’s Finn. Sorry Will, I know you’re my leading man, but I’m a little bit in love with Finn myself. He made me laugh a lot while I was writing about him, and I love the purely platonic relationship he has with Ellie; right from the start he’s a true friend, and although he has problems of his own (big ones) he never forgets to support Ellie. Of course this has as much to do with his relationship with his brother of course, complex, but ultimately heart-warming too… but that’s another story.
I loved the countryside setting for this novel. Were you a country girl growing up? Where do you live now?
As a child I lived in small villages with easy access to open spaces, and although I have lived in towns, I much prefer the country setting. We live about ten minutes from Shrewsbury now, in a small village, but we are surrounded by country lanes and woodland, and the very dramatic hills of The Long Mynd. I also have a real love of water (I’m a Cancerian, so maybe that’s why) and I love the canals and the seaside too. I owned a narrowboat once upon a time, and would love to again one day, that’s my idea of bliss.
All authors seem to have writing essentials to survive the writing process, whether it’s copious amounts of coffee or a pile of chocolate big enough to rival the Eiffel tower. What is the essential or essentials for you?
Tea… and time (why are there never enough hours in the day?) Pringles and shortbread biscuits come a close third and fourth!
I’ve heard all manner of ways that writers work over the years but I still seem to find new rituals or ways of working that interest me. Would you say that you have a typical day as a writer? Or is there any ritual involved in your writing process like a special outfit or a writing mascot? (I have decided that if I ever get around to writing a book I am going to do it in Wizard’s robes – just because!)
I always think I should be one of those authors that writes wearing their jim jams, but as yet it hasn’t happened. I like the idea of that though! I really like the idea of a typical writing day too, but I don’t always get those either. My day often turns into something else entirely, which I suspect may have something to do with having three children and keeping an eye on my elderly mother in law who lives with us, but that’s life! When I’m writing (as opposed to editing etc) I make it a rule to write at least 2000 words a day, so that’s what I do, in between the bits of real life of course!
Do you have any advice for any budding writers out there?
This is going to sound really daft, but if you want to write… you have to write, and keep going! It doesn’t matter how much, even if it’s only for ten minutes each day. That might be 200 words, which in a week might be 1400 words, which in a year is pretty much a book written, all from ten minutes a day. Don’t put it off because you haven’t the time. Only when you actually start getting the words down can you start to dream, and dream big, because you never know…
A few just for fun…
Are you a starter or a dessert person?
This is a bit weird because generally I prefer savoury over sweet, but when it comes to starters or deserts, I will usually go for the desert (and then of course wish I’d had the starter!)
Tea or coffee?
Tea, no question. I hate coffee with a passion (or anything coffee flavoured) Yey a woman after my own heart, I also despise coffee!
Cats or Dogs?
Dogs – the bigger the better.
Would you rather wear boots in the summer or flip flops in the snow?
Boots in the summer, because I’d much rather be hot than cold!
Would you rather be stuck in month long game of the crystal maze or spend a week stuck in the big brother house with people you hate?
Crystal maze definitely, I’m really not a fan of Big Brother (or other reality TV shows)
Emma Davies once applied for her dream job in the following manner;
‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well she’s now a forty something mother of three, and is working on the rest.
By day she’s a finance manager and looks at numbers a lot of the time, but by night she gets to use actual words and practices putting them together into sentences. Her twitter bio says she loves her family, her job, reading, writing, singing loudly in the car, and Pringles, so that must be true then.
If you want to know more about Emma then give her a follow on Twitter you won’t regret it, she’s lovely!