Thursday, October 27, 2016

Interview with Harper Collins Novelist Katherine Reay

A Portrait of Emily Price
What inspired you to write your book? The idea for my new novel, A Portrait of Emily Price, came to me while reading C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces. There is a powerful scene near the end of the story when the main character, Orual, brings her case to the gods and justifies all she has done. Yet, within the very act of articulating her case, she realizes she hasn’t got one. It falls at her feet as she sees everything differently.  I wondered, in our world and in our time, what might it look like for a young woman to be challenged by another way of thinking, believing, living? What could be so enticing, and joy-filled, as to make her yearn for something new and perhaps something better? What might compel her to drop her guard, surrender control, and let in love? … And there began A Portrait of Emily Price.

What is it about?  The one-liner I created for A Portrait of Emily Price reads: After a whirlwind romance and marriage, Emily Price heads home to Italy with her new husband to find that life at its richest is found only when she accepts its chaotic beauty. And that’s what I wanted to create, a whirlwind that would knock this young woman off her feet and entice her to experience something new before reason or fear scared her away from the adventure. And, of course, I made it more alluring for her by offering up Italy. It’s such a sensory country – and holds that promise of beauty, the unknown, and a rich artistic history that I knew would appeal to Emily, and to all of us.

What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?  Hope and joy. My wish is that the story brought them an journey outside their own lives and their own towns – to come away, as if from a lovely vacation, fully believing that one such as Emily exists and that Italy is all they dreamed it could be.

What advice do you have for writers? Keep writing. It sounds so simple, but it’s true. Craft, voice, every aspect of writing is honed through the process of writing… and writing… and more writing. I’d also add – don’t give up. The world didn’t give your passion/desire to write so don’t let it take it away with discouragement. It can be a very long journey – but that’s the important part, the journey, so enjoy it!

Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?  I think it will continue to crack open and more good stories will reach readers. That’s what we’re seeing now – an explosion of avenues to publication, distribution, format, and medium.

What challenges did you have in writing your book?  The challenges faced writing each and every story are different. This was my first novel set in a town or country in which I haven’t lived. I’ve traveled to Italy extensively, especially when we lived in London for a few years, but I wasn’t “on the ground” during writing. I look forward to returning, though – now more than ever.

If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?  As winter comes, it’s a lovely time for an escape – an escape into a beautiful story, set abroad, and populated with beloved books and relatable characters that show you that you aren’t alone. Life is complex and often messy, but joy exists… It seems that would be a good way to spend one month’s book money.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.
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