Friday, July 10, 2020

Lia Louis Author Interview


Photo Content from Lia Louis

Lia Louis lives in the United Kingdom with her partner and three young children. Before raising a family, she worked as a freelance copywriter and proofreader. She was the 2015 winner of Elle magazine’s annual writing competition and has been a contributor for Bloomsbury’s Writers and Artist’s blog for aspiring writers. She is the author of Somewhere Close to Happy and Dear Emmie Blue.
      
  


What inspired you to pen your first novel?
I have always written. Diaries, letters to friends, to crushes when I was a teen, to myself to open at a later date, notes, essays on whatever I needed to get off my chest. I wrote everything. Writing got me through so many times growing up, that it’s hard to understand how and why it took me so long to finally sit down and write a novel. But it was having children that inspired me to finally do it. I had my first child in 2011, and then twins in 2016. It was then that I really learned how precious my time was (and how little time I had!) and suddenly, I wanted to make the most of those small blinks of free-time I had for myself. And writing was the perfect escapism, away from the wonderful chaos of parenthood and being a grown-up.

Tell us your latest news.
I’m currently working on my next novel which begins in a blizzard and the book features some of my favorite tropes (including opposites attract and the trope of my heart: two people, only one bed!). I’m having such fun writing it, and I’m super excited to finish it!

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
It may sound cheesy, but I find such romance in normal, everyday people and their stories. Everyone has a story, and there’s that old saying: truth is stranger than fiction, and I really believe that. I love talking to people, or people-watching in cafes. For as long as I can remember, my mum, brother and I have picked people out in crowds and made up stories about them. ‘This guy sitting all alone nursing his breakfast, I wonder who he’s waiting for. I wonder if he’s lonely. Oh! He could be meeting his first love for the first time in fifty years and that’s why he can’t finish his toast!’ For me, the best stories are not those told about kings or queens or world-changing inventors (although those stories are of course, important in their own right). The best stories are those little secrets and truths held by normal people. Like the boy next door, the waiter serving you, the old lady at a bus stop.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
There are so many wonderful things about being published but nothing beats hearing from readers who have loved your book! It still feels like a dream come true.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope readers will be feeling a sense of escapism, and also hopefulness. Dear Emmie Blue isn’t a wholly light book, but I think there is hope throughout it, even in the darkest moments, and the feeling that you can overcome anything that’s been holding you back.

Can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about DEAR EMMIE BLUE?
Dear Emmie Blue is a story about a girl called Emmie Blue, who when she was sixteen, let go of a balloon with a secret attached. That balloon was found miles and an ocean away on a beach in France, by Lucas Moreau, a boy of the same age, and a friendship was born. The book begins fourteen years later and finds Emmie at dinner with now best friend Lucas, who she is secretly in love with, and he has something to say. She hopes he is about to tell her he feels it too, that he’s in love with her. But what he actually says is that he’s engaged and getting married, and he wants Emmie to be his best woman. Dear Emmie Blue is a story about friendship, being brave, overcoming our past, and how sometimes we don’t see what’s right in front of us.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Having three kids, the easy answer is hearing ‘Muuuuum’ every five seconds and being asked for fifteen snacks a minute, but actually, if I’m being truthful, my kids are pretty good when I’m working (I say this very tentatively because they might hear me and decide to prove me wrong!) and my biggest distraction is probably myself. Self-doubt is a big obstacle for me and I find the loud voice of ‘you can’t do this’ overwhelming sometimes. Of course you ignore it and write through it, but sometimes, I admit, my self-confidence is my biggest distraction!

What part of Emmie did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing Emmie’s emotional growth. When she starts to recognize her own power, and realize that what she feels and wants matters. There is a text message she sends to her Dad with a sort of ultimatum and I loved writing that. It just sort of happened – my fingertips had a mind of their own – and as I wrote it, I thought ‘Yes! This is when she starts to stand tall on her own!’

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Rosie. In a heartbeat. I have loved writing all of my characters, but I think I enjoyed writing Rosie the most. Her voice was and is so strong in my head, and she is so herself. I found writing her empowering (and also, very amusing!).

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
Recently my 8 year old son told me that chickens are gyroscopic, meaning you can hold them and move them around but their head will stay in the same position!

What, according to you, is your most treasured possession?

Is it twee to say my family? I’d be lost without them. But if I had to choose something non-twee, it would be my bath tub! We got a new one last year (we live in a renovation) and it is the place I go to every night to relax and unwind with a book and a cup of tea when everyone is in bed!

Best date you've ever had?

Last year, we were on a family holiday and my boyfriend and I left the kids with my mum to just take a walk and get some down-time. We took a walk down to the beach and found this rickety old picnic table up on a rock by the sea. It was totally unplanned, the beach was deserted, and we just sat there on that wooden table watching the waves and this beautiful purple sky as the sun went down. It was absolutely perfect and one of those moments that just happened.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I think I’m happier now than I’ve ever been so I can’t think of a specific time I’d want to go back to, but it would be nice to turn back the clock just so I could hug my Grandad and tell him all about my kids and my books. He died a few years ago and he was one of my favorite people in the world. I sometimes feel sad he missed so much.

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today?

Having my children, I think changed me forever. I don’t sweat the small stuff so much. And I also think that comes with just getting older and realizing what really matters.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
I’m not sure if this is unique, but I am very claustrophobic, and I absolutely hate elevators!

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
Getting that first email from my now literary agent saying, ‘I’d like to offer you representation, are you free to meet Monday?’ I get butterflies even now when I think about it.

Where can readers find you?
I love social media, so come and say hi on Twitter at @LisforLia or on Instagram @LiaLouisAuthor

TEN REASONS TO READ DEAR EMMIE BLUE
  • 1. A lot of is set in France which means you get total escapism!
  • 2. It features a huge crush on Jon Bon Jovi
  • 3. There are home-made romantic mix tapes (and their track listings, but written in the way of love letters) Who doesn’t love mix tapes?
  • 4. It features the enemies-to-lovers trope!
  • 5. Emmie has a secret (and so do other characters)
  • 6. It has a hot book boyfriend
  • 7. It will make you laugh
  • 8. And it might make you cry (I’m always sorry-but-not-sorry about this)
  • 9. It has an epilogue readers seem to love
  • 10. It has a happy ending

In this charming and poignant novel, teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it; now, fourteen years later, the one thing Emmie has been counting on is gone for good, and everything she planned is up in the air.

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over.


You can purchase Dear Emmie Blue at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LIA LOUIS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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9 comments:

  1. I would love to see Antarctica-in the summer, of course!

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  2. I would go to the Islands.. Any.. I love the Carribean.

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  3. If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would travel to Venezuela. Although this is currently not the best place to go, due to political uprisings, Venezuela has always fascinated me. It’s one of those South American countries that you really don't hear about on a day-to-day basis.

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  4. I would go to Israel. I have always wanted to go there!

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  5. I've always wanted to visit Tahiti.

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