We are back again, with another exclusive interview and cover reveal.
Born in Scotland, Emma-Claire travelled the world as the child of military parents. After almost 20 years in Spain, she returned to the UK with her husband, two daughters, and rescue dog, Pip. Emma-Claire worked as a journalist for English language magazines and newspapers in Spain and in 2015 launched The Glass House Online Magazine. When not writing emotional fiction, you can find her dreaming up new book ideas or wrapped in a blanket with a book in her hand.
Before we delight you with the cover reveal for this emotional debut, we wanted to have a chat with the author herself and find out a little more about the inspiration behind this novel and the author who wrote it.
When Stephanie is told she’s pregnant and that she is sick on the same day, she faces an impossible choice…
After trying for a baby for so long, finding out I was pregnant was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. But in the same breath as the news I had been waiting years to hear, the doctor told me I was seriously ill.
If I carry my baby to term, I will almost certainly die.
If I proceed with treatment, my baby will not live.
My husband – the father of this child – is telling me to save myself. But with all the secrets I know he is keeping from me, I can’t trust him anymore.
What would you do?
An emotional yet uplifting tear-jerker that will have you reaching for the tissues – perfect for fans of EMMA ROBINSON and JODI PICOULT
Well, this is a little exciting, isn’t it? An article in your own magazine about your debut novel. How does it feel to be the person being interviewed rather than the person doing the interviewing?
I have to admit, this is the strangest part of the process, so far. When I launched The Glass House, I was determined to make sure this platform was a place we could help people have their words heard. Be it articles about situations that affect real life people, or authors who so richly deserved to have their books shouted about. To be on the other side of the fence now feels a little odd.
Can you tell us a little about what it was that inspired you to step off the journalism road to write this book?
I have always wanted to write fiction. I think even as a child I was determined to spend more of my time in the worlds I created in my head rather than the real world. I wrote to escape. When I was younger, I never in a million years believed someone like me could write books that would sell in shops – but I knew I had a passion for language and the written word. Journalism was the most obvious path for me. It wasn’t until after I had my children that I toyed with the idea of writing fiction again. I had to get very drunk one night to admit my desire to my husband, but he was so incredibly supportive. For the first time in my life, I was going to write all the words that I wanted to write, rather than all the words I was asked to write by others.
I wont pretend that this book was the ‘first’ one I wrote – I wrote 140,000 words of another novel first, just to prove to myself that I could get to ‘…the end.’ but that novel will never see the light of day. Like most first novels, I know now that it is truly awful. This Child of Mine was the second book I wrote. It came from such a personal place that I think I needed to really learn how to write a book before I tried to tackle it.
You say this book came from a personal place, can you tell us a little more about that?
I can, but I can only say so much without giving away spoilers.
Stephanies story is not an unusual one, so very often, far too often, pregnancy does not go as smoothly as we dream it will. I was told quite young that I would likely never have children. I was diagnosed with PCOS in my late teen years, but at a time where so little was understood about the condition. I was warned that miscarriages would be likely (and they were, I suffered multiple unfortunately) and complications would mean that having my own child would be incredibly difficult. To add more complications, cancer is something that has never been far from my mind. Cancer has plagued my family, having lost far too many of the women in my family to female cancers. It’s not a topic I have shied away from over the years, in fact I have written about it at length. PCOS and a dangerous history of female cancers meant I never expected to be able to have a family of my own.
I am so incredibly fortunate, I have two wonderful miracle babies, but neither came into this world easily. One day, my youngest daughter said something that stopped me in my tracks. I won’t say what it was, you will have to read the book to find out, but something she said made me re-think everything.
Many women have such a strict idea of what they think their family will one day look like, and how it will come to them. The truth is, we never know what is around the corner, what decisions we will have to make and the impact they will have on the shape of our family.
So, is your debut novel more of an autobiography then?
Not quite. Stephanie’s story is not my story, but it takes aspects of my own story and merges it with the fears that have dominated my life and affected the lives of so many people I know.
It sounds like quite an emotional read, was it emotional to write?
I won’t deny it, this book felt more like therapy than anything else I have written. It was incredibly emotional to write, but that’s why I write. I read to escape, but I write to make sense of the world. I had such feelings of guilt and regret, writing Stephanies story helped me work through all of that. I have been told by those who have read it so far that it’s quite emotional to read. In fact, my agent admitted that she shed a tear or two when she read the submission, which I am told is quite a feat. So yes, you may want to invest in a packet of tissues before you pick it up – but I promise, by the end of the book, you will be healed – I hope!
The commercial women’s fiction market has been described as somewhat saturated at the moment – so a really great cover is essential. How do you feel about the cover for This Child of Mine?
I love the cover, I really do. It’s so bright and full of hope, which is what I wanted. With such an emotional book, it’s easy to go with muted darker colours and draw on the sadness of the story, but this story may sound sad, but it’s so full of love and hope. The bright colours show a light at the end of the tunnel for Stephanie, and I love that. The woman on the cover looks strikingly like Stephanie so I think the design department got the cover spot on.
The writing process for authors varies wildly, and we are always interested to hear a little about what makes our favourite writers tick – tell us a little about your process, do you listen to mood music when writing?
There is not a moment of my life that is ever silent, so writing in silence would terrify me. Yes, I love writing to music. I create a soundtrack for each of my novels. Each of my characters have their own music taste and certain songs that have influenced sections of the novel. I write my drafts to these playlists, but I edit solely to contemporary piano music. Writing with lyrics in the background is normal for me, but when I edit, I need the focus – so when the red pen comes out, so does Yiruma!
An authors journey to publication is often described as a blind rollercoaster ride, how have you found your journey to publication?
A rollercaoster ride would be an understatement. Without going into too many boring details, I signed my agent at the start of the Covid Pandemic, and went out on submission during lockdown – with a book that was about medical issues and questioning treatment – to say it was bad timing would be laughable. For me, this journey was about holding my nerve and knowing that finding the right publisher was more important than finding any publisher. I am so very glad we held out, Avon and the whole Harper Collins team have been fabulous champions and it was well worth the wait.
It’s creeping closer to your publishing date, highlighted even more by today’s cover reveal, how excited are you to have this book out in the wider world finally?
Honestly, I am a mixture of excited and terrified. In fact, the fabulous Susie Dent recently introduced me to a new word that describes it perfectly. It’s a Norwegian word, “Gruglede” – which essentially means “happy dread” – something you are really looking forward to, but dreading at the same time. It’s such a strange feeling. Ten year old me would never believe it if I told her she was going to be published one day, but the fear, the fear is strong. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying!
So – without further ado – we can now show you, in all it’s glory, the fabulous cover for Emma-Claire Wilsons debut novel, This Child of Mine.
This Child of Mine will be published in paperback, ebook and audio on August 3rd 2023 – but you can click the link below now to pre-order.
If you would like to know more about Emma-Claire – you can check out her website here: www.emmaclairewilson.com or follow her on Twitter @ECWilsonWriter