Monday, April 21, 2014
Interview with Emily Sue Harvey, Author of Cocoon
New York Times bestselling author Jill Marie Landis called Song of Renewal “An uplifting, heartwarming story of forgiveness, commitment, and love, and Kay Allenbaugh, bestselling author of Chocolate for a Woman’s Soul says “Emily Sue Harvey’s work will linger in the memory long after readers put it aside.” National bestselling author Harvey, who has written numerous inspiring works of nonfiction, writes intensely romantic novels that thrill the heart as they inspire the soul. Her stories have something to say to every family.
Visit the author at http://emilysueharvey.com
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a mill village in South Carolina named Tucapau, which is the setting for my National Bestseller, UNTO THESE HILLS. The name was later changed to Startex, over which I grieve till this day.. I loved the old Indian name better.
When did you begin writing
I began writing in college, where I majored in English Education and discovered I had a gift for it. I planned to teach but when my eleven-year-old daughter, Angie, died in a tragic accident, my plans changed. My goals evolved into writing to make a difference in lives.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
All of the above.
What is this book about?
COCOON is about a widowed woman, Seana, who, against her family’s wishes, elopes with Barth, a man with a mystifying past. She’s happier than she’s been in years. Then her happiness shatters when a mysterious illness suddenly befalls her, exiling her once brilliant mind to a dark nightmare from which she may never return. The eclipse is startling and complete. Will Barth, with such a short history with Seana, love her enough to endure the trials of caring for someone under such dire circumstances? Can her family get past their suspicions and trust his motives and love for their mother? Will Seana ever escape her dark cocoon and reclaim her very purpose for living? Will life give her a second chance to spread her wings, like a beautiful butterfly? Cocoon is a life-affirming story of travail, obstacles, and the extraordinary lengths undying love will travel.
What inspired you to write it?
Everybody has a story. I look for stories all about me in everyday life. Occasionally, I find exceptional ones to build upon. COCOON is one of those. I saw two old high school classmates, Kay and Gerald Turner, at a restaurant one day and knew something was terribly wrong with Kay. She was not the person I’d known in school. I went over to speak to them and Kay avoided me like the plague, refusing to make eye contact or acknowledge me as Gerald and I chatted. I later learned from another classmate, Kay’s sister-in-law, that Kay was experiencing a psychosis, one from which she would,never, according to doctors, return. Years later, I saw Kay again at another restaurant, laughing and engaging with others and it smote me, the difference. I went to her and asked, “what happened?” She laughed and said, “it was a miracle. A true miracle.” I said, “I want to hear your story.” We met later and spent time together and when I asked to base a book on her medical history, she agreed. “If my story will help one person, it will be worth it,” she said. So, the inspiration came from those two wonderful people who are willing to be transparent and generous. They, along with Billie McGregor, another real life muse for the character Billie Jean, in COCOON, who, like the character, battles bone cancer, are my heroes!
Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?
Let’s just put it this way: I paid my dues. After several years of submissions and rejections, I began publishing in short stories, I was ecstatic and soon, I’d accumulated dozens of credits. But I decided to add fiction to my repertoire because I love happy endings and that was a way to ensure them. Getting published in novel was a whole different story. I received more than my share of rejections and bad critiques and then, one day, I found my voice! It was first person and the story was HOMEFIRES, which I submitted to the Peter Miller Literary and Film Agency in NY. Lo and behold, Peter and his entire staff loved the story and now, years later, it is a National Bestseller.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Readers may purchase a copy of COCOON from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or any online bookstore. They may even order it through their local bookstores.
What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
The best investment is using social media. Social networking is a wonderful venue to get your name and books out there.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Keep on writing! Don’t let the first bad critiques get you down. Learn from them and keep sharpening your writing tools. Get in a good writers workshop, like Southeastern Writers Association. That’s where I learned the ins and outs of writing and marketing. And in the words of my mentor, bestselling author Cec Murphey, “Look in the mirror everyday and say to yourself, ‘I AM A WRITER!’” It works!!
What is up next for you?
I’m doing final formatting to my latest book, TWILIGHT TIME, as you read this. The story chronicles the odyssey of a couple simultaneously battling near-death trauma (the wife) and early stage Alzheimer’s (the husband). It captures the tragic, the funny, the heartwarming, the gut-wrenching ups and downs of a couple over which Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling. It’s their Twilight Time. Where, in the afterglow of day, they keep their rendezvous beneath the blue…and in the sweet and same old way, they fall in love again as they did then. Amid the most chaotic time of their lives, they still hear each other’s voices calling from the mist. They struggle through betrayal, forgiveness and on to redemption, where deepening shadows gather splendor as day is done, and know that they can conquer anything as long as they’re together.