One of the best parts of this writing gig is getting to meet so many fabulous authors. Today, I'm sharing virtual coffee and fun talk with agency-mate Emily Cavanagh. Not only do we share an agent, but we were both debut authors last year and are anxiously awaiting the "birth" of book baby number 2. Emily's sophomore book comes out March 1 but I'm not spoiling anything so keep reading. :-)
If we were at a coffee shop, what would you order?
A large Sumatra with cream. Followed by another one. And then one more.
At home, do you have one go-to mug or do you pick by drink or mood or what’s clean?
I’m a true coffee addict, and in the morning I drink the biggest mug I have, which was given to me as a gift from my daughters, ages 5 and 9, last Mother’s Day. It’s big enough to get me going and out the door.
I have a fascination with the writing process. What’s your process like?
I write very similarly to the way I read. Every time I sit down at the computer, I’m not sure what’s going to happen next and that discovery is my favorite part about writing. My characters surprise me by doing things I don’t expect. Needless to say, I’ve never been very good about writing outlines. When I’m in the middle of a manuscript, I set myself a word count goal of 350 words a day. I’m not allowed to turn off the computer until I’ve written at least this many words.
Tell me about your upcoming release, The Bright Beauty?
This Bright Beauty is about twin sisters, Franci and Lottie, who haven’t spoken in almost a year. Lottie has bipolar disorder and Franci has often fallen into the uncomfortable role of caretaker. The story opens when Franci receives a phone call that her sister has been in an accident. When Franci flies to California, she finds that her sister has a baby, a child that didn’t exist when the sisters last spoke. Franci is again thrust into the role of protector, yet this time the well-being of the child is also at stake. When a decades old secret comes to light, Franci is forced to question her relationship with Lottie.
This is your second book. Was writing it different from writing your debut?
Actually, This Bright Beauty was written several years before The Bloom Girls. When I was looking for a publisher for The Bloom Girls, an editor at Lake Union read the synopsis I had on my website for This Bright Beauty and then asked to read the manuscript. They ended up offering me a two book contract. I was then in the position of having to revise the novel after having not looked at it in close to eight years. That process was a cross between reading a book written by someone else and reading my diary from when I was younger (the cringe factor).
Where did the seed (or coffee bean?) for this story come from?
The seed came from an article I read about years ago in the newspaper. Without going into the specifics in the interest of privacy for the people involved, it was a tragedy that dealt with twins, children, and mental illness. I found myself fascinated by the dynamic of the relationship between twin sisters and how that is impacted when one (or both) of them become mothers. Though the details of the novel are nothing like the reality of the article I read, that question is at the heart of the book.
Back to the coffee shop. Do you eavesdrop to folks at neighboring tables or tune everyone out?
I tune everyone out —assuming I’m trying to write, that is. I have a white noise app on my phone that lets me write anywhere. If I’m just hanging out though, I might be inclined to listen to an interesting conversation. It’s one of the downsides of living in such a small community. I live on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts, and in the winter, it’s a small town in many ways. You have to be very careful what you say in a coffee shop (or anywhere else), because it just may come back to haunt you.
Now, tell me something about yourself that will make the people at the next table scoot their chairs closer to hear better. :-)
Though writing is my first love, I’m a middle and high school English teacher by day. I also come from a family of teachers. I’m married to a teacher, both of my brothers are teachers, my mother was a teacher, and both my father and mother-in-law were school principals. Growing up I had no interest in the education profession, however, I realized I wanted a job that was related to my love of reading and writing but that would also allow me to pay my rent and not live in my parents’ house forever. I’ve been teaching for thirteen years and writing on the side. Both professions are inspiring, rewarding, and exhausting!
More about Emily
Emily Cavanagh is a writer, teacher, and mother. Her work has been published in Grain Magazine, Transfer, The Vineyard Gazette, and Martha's Vineyard Arts and Ideas among other online and print publications. Emily lives on the island of Martha's Vineyard with her husband and their two daughters. Her first novel, THE BLOOM GIRLS released in March 2017 (Lake Union Publishing). Her next book, THIS BRIGHT BEAUTY, will release in March of 2018. She's currently at work on a novel that takes place on a fictional island very similar to Martha's Vineyard.
Find Emily at ...
What question would you ask Emily if you were having coffee with us?
It was a long, but exciting weekend in Salt Lake City for the Youth Bouldering National Championships and we're all still dragging. This morning was particularly brutal for some reason and I desperately need more coffee and the comfiest chair in the coffee shop.
If we were having coffee together, I'd, of course, first have to tell you about the competition because I'm so stinking proud of my young guy. He climbed hard and handled the pressure with poise.
If we were having coffee together, I'd then break into the where-did-the-time-go wail. Because my little boy is no longer a little boy. It was amazing watching him handle the pressure of the competition, the ups and downs that came with it. Not to mention hearing climbing community friends who have't seen him in months exclaim how big he's gotten (I still have an inch on him though so nahnahnah).
If we were having coffee together, I'd confess to having stock-piled gummy bears in preparation for diving back into the writing cave. Okay, okay, I had a stash with me during the competition because the 12-year old wasn't the only one who was stressed!
If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?
I've been a fan of the The Phantom of the Opera for a very long time and was beyond excited to get my hands on this lovely book by Heather Webb.
Heather and I are fellow Tall Poppy authors, which means I had the distinct pleasure of reading an advance copy. I started it over the Christmas break but two days in, we were back on the road traveling home. I don't do motion well so road trips for me are one of the few times I can sit and stare at the passing trees and think (or not) without feeling guilty (assuming I'm not driving, of course). But this book had me so hooked, that I HAD to read during the drive.
Here's the official blurb about the book:
In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine Daae you’ve never seen before…
Christine faces an impossible choice: be a star at the Paris opera as Papa always wanted, or follow her dream —to become a master of illusions. First, she must steal the secrets of the enigmatic master who haunts her, survive a world of treachery and murder, and embrace the uncertain promise of love. To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.
This book is like no other Phantom story. Webb's writing is beautiful and her story telling transports the reader into a world that’s full of lush details and intrigue. Her characters are inspired and believable. It's a story that captures your heart and imagination all over again!
Get your copy here.
And read more about Heather here.
My drink of choice with this book:
Chai Tea Latte because it's comforting and surprising, smooth and spicy.
It's a gloomy day here, the perfect kind of day to spend time catching up with a friend over coffee.
If we were having coffee, I'd gush about my newly redesigned website. After a year (or more) of wanting to update my look and content, I finally made the move. With help from my talented friend Jennie Jariel at Piquant Creative, my site has an elegant new look that inspires me.
If we where having coffee, I'd tell you about my Word bracelet. I'd explain how every year I pick one word to be my guide. How this year, it took a lot of trial and error before I finally discovered -- somewhat by accident, actually -- the word that jumped out as "it."
If we were having coffee, I'd tell you about this fabulous recipe for garlic shrimp in coconut milk and how excited I am to try it but need to finally have a weekend at home to do anything beyond survival laundry. And oh my god, how can three people generate so. much. laundry!
If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?