WEDNESDAY 18th JUNE 2014
I would like to wish a warm welcome to the lovely Emma Rose Millar, author to Strains from an Aeolian Harp , who is in the process of writing her second novel.
Emma Rose Millar is a single mother who lives with her young son in the Midlands. She works part time as an interpreter. Her first novel Strains from an Aeolian Harp was shortlisted for the Chaucer Award for historical fiction in 2013. She has since written a second novel with American author Kevin Allen. Emma has also had two short stories published in the number one best-selling anthology Sun Kissed by Freya Publications.
1922: Charlie is a chancer, with a taste for gin, ragtime and women. Underneath his veneer of assurance however, is a man with a terrible burden of guilt. Fuelled by his fatal addiction to opium, Charlie’s violent temper soon inflicts devastating consequences on the three women who love him, dragging each of them into a world they could never have imagined. Strains from an Aeolian Harp is the story of one woman’s enduring strength and of the fragile bond between women in a society filled with prejudice and misogyny
Grab that cuppa and get cosy as we catch up with Emma Rose Millar …
Hi Emma and welcome! It’s great to have you here.
Where did you get the inspiration behind Strains from an Aeolian Harp?
Strains from an Aeolian Harp was loosely based on my own experiences of domestic violence. I decided to set it in the 1920’s – a time when women were not allowed to divorce their husbands on the grounds of cruelty alone. I wanted to create a story about a woman who is trapped, both by her husband and by the system at that time.
How would you compare writing this book with anything that you have written previously?
During my lifetime I’ve lost count of how many novels I’ve started and not been able to finish. I think that was because I didn’t have the plot worked out before I started. I used to just start writing and see where it took me. This time I had a clear vision for the whole novel and while I was writing it I could see it all in my head just like a film. Also, I was more passionate about this book, simply because it was a story I felt I had to write.
How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurred you on?
Yes, absolutely. I started writing Strains from an Aeolian Harp when my son was four months old. I had spent most of my pregnancy living in hotels or with friends because I was too afraid to go home. My baby’s father was regularly breaking into my house, threatening me and smashing up my property. After my son was born, things escalated. I could no longer just grab my belongings and go to a hotel and spent most of my time feeling terrified. So as a way of coping I started writing the novel. Nobody was ever meant to read it, it was only ever meant to be a piece of creative writing which I used to express my emotions at the time. Then when I was about half way through writing the manuscript, my son’s father murdered his best friend, which had a profound and devastating effect on me. The novel took a much darker turn, as did Charlie, its male lead. Had I not gone through all those experiences I never would have written my novel.
How do you organise your writing time?
It was easy when I wrote Strains from an Aeolian Harp; I was breastfeeding and I used to write while my baby was asleep. I have recently completed a second novel Five Guns Blazing with American author Kevin Allen. It’s a novel set in 1710 about a girl from the workhouse who is transported to Barbados and is based on the true story of pirates Anne Bonny, Mary Read and John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham. That’s been much more difficult; the novel has taken a massive amount of research, we’ve been working on it for two and a half years. I can only write during lunch breaks at work or for an hour or so after my son goes to bed. Also because of the time difference and the physical distance between America and the UK Kevin and I can’t always communicate with each other at the speed that we’d like. The manuscript has been professionally edited and is finally ready to be submitted to agents. It’s been a long road but we’re both very excited about it.
Where is your best ‘writing space’ the place where you feel comfortably locked away from the world and able to let your creative juices flow?
In my bed propped up against my nursing pillow. I doubt it’s very good for my back though! The only other place I write is in the library, but then I’m always looking over my shoulder in case anyone can see what I’m writing. This probably sounds really strange – I get embarrassed about people reading my work, partly because sometimes the stories are very personal to me, and partly because of the sex scenes. I still haven’t let my mother read my book!
Thank you for being here today Emma.
~Where to find Emma Rose Millar~
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Love Missuswolf xxx