Sometimes hope has a way of changing everything…
Just hours after giving birth, Eli Bell is forced to give up her newborn baby daughter for adoption. Devastated, she tries desperately to rebuild her shattered life.
Then, over thirty years later, Eli catches sight of her daughter. And she knows that she must do everything to find a way back into her life. Even if it means lying…
While her husband Tommy must grow to accept his own part in the events of her early life, he can only try to save her before her obsession with the young woman ruins them both.
Don’t miss the breathtaking debut Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin! Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Alice Peterson and Lucy Dillon.
Before You Where Mine is available here:
Barnes & Noble: bit.ly/2qiCVdW
What inspired you to write your book?
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of how it must feel to be reunited with your child or mother after being adopted/having given up your child for adoption. I once saw a documentary many, many years ago, about this very thing. About having an ‘idea’ or ‘fantasy’ in your head about who this person is, who they have become – and the reality of that situation. The documentary was heartbreaking, as not only did you find out the stories behind why women from all walks of life were placed in a position to give up their baby for adoption, but also when they finally met, sometimes the mothers or children didn’t meet up to their expectations.
I also drew on my own feelings of grief. How, despite someone not being in your life, you desperately hold on to the feeling that somehow, one day you will be re-united and that no matter what there is a bond between you both that cannot be separated. There’s a Hebrew word; Mizpah which can be interpreted as ‘the deep emotional bond between people, especially those separated by distance, or death.’ And I felt this was very much the underlying theme that drove the characters in Before You Were Mine.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m not sure I do. I guess over time, as books get published (wishful thinking) then perhaps I’ll be able to answer that a little easier, and readers will be able to answer it too!
How did you come up with the title?
Actually, a dear friend of mine came up with the title. She had read an early draft of the book and it was originally called ‘Regret’ – but there was this sense of a line drawn – Before and After – in the book and so, the title fitted the prose perfectly.
What books have most influenced your life most?
There are way too many to mention. I think it is probably easier to mention a few (and I mean a few!) of my favourites; First of course was the book I read when I was a very little girl: Judith Kerr’s ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’. Utterly beautiful book which never leaves you. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry has got to be up in the top 3 for me. I will never forget reading it, crying, and weeks later literally wondering how the characters were – they had become so embedded in my heart that I had forgotten they were ‘characters’ in a book. Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler – stunning book and in fact there’s nothing she writes that I don’t utterly love. Her characters and dialogue are second to none. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult was utterly beautiful. Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge was an incredible read. To be able to write a character who is curmudgeonly but utterly compelling and someone I absolutely loved spending time with, is a work of genius. Always at the top of my pile is Primo Levi’s If This is a Man/The Truce. I read this the first time when I was a young girl. It has never left me. It gets to the heart of humanity like no other book.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m not sure I am in the position to give advice!
What books/authors have influenced your writing?
See above re books that have influenced my life most!
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
Ha. I am careful about answering this. I don’t think it helps placing a book in a genre as it can often put off readers who may well enjoy it. Let’s leave it to readers to place it in whichever box they choose!
Do you ever experience writer's block?
I wouldn’t say I experience ‘Writer’s Block’ as such, but I can certainly testify to times where I fall foul to having a lack of confidence in my writing. There are days when words on the page seem like lead weights clunking along as I re-read them and finally halt to a stop. They are the worst days. Once your mind is set to that dial, there is nothing you read of your own that seems to flow in any way.
Confidence from others (people close to you that you respect) are essential in these times. They are the ones that drive you forward, sit you back on your saddle and tell you to get back to it. Without those people, it is hard. You feel as if you are heading towards a black hole. Always have a ‘dear reader’ friend close by. You never know when those days are going to come! Mine have saved me from despair on many an occasion!
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Yes, see above!
What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?
I think there is definitely a common theme of family, love, and grief within all of my writing. Even in the comedy work I have written, these themes come up. They are for me what are at the heart of all of us, no matter of our experiences in life.
Where did your love of writing come from?
Reading, reading, reading.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Sending it out to reviewers and bloggers. To become so closely attached to the characters you love and care for and tried to present in the best way possible for the possibility of someone telling the world ‘Em’s baby is ugly’ is a terrifying notion!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Spending time with Eli. I like her. Despite what she has gone through in life, how she is treated by some people, she has tenacity about her. She’s not weak. She drives forward despite the odds. My friends are the same and I respect and love that in people. No matter what life throws at you, just drive forward with your head held high.
Do you write every single day?
I wouldn’t say I tap on my keyboard every day, but I can hand on heart say I ‘write’ every day because I spend a lot of time (a scary amount of time) with imaginary characters in my head – where I am working through a story, playing with their ‘tongue’, their dialogue, jotting down random thoughts etc. A lot of that happens before I actually sit down at my keyboard and let my fingers do the talking. So yes, is the short answer.
Which writers inspire you?
In no particular order .... Anne Tyler, Rohinton Mistry, Joyce Carol Oates, Jodi Picoult, Primo Levi, Khaled Hosseini, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche Elizabeth Strout,Franz Kafka, Jeffrey Eugenides,Judith Kerr, Eli Wiesel, John Steinbeck, Diana Athill, Fanny Flagg ... the list could go on and on and on ...
What are you working on at the minute?
My second novel: A Song For the Last Act.