Monday 19 July 2021

 Guest Post with Eva Glyn

This week on the blog, I am delighted to welcome friend and author, Eva Glyn, to talk about her novel, The Missing Pieces of Us, which will be published by One More Chapter on July 21st.

Eva, welcome. Please tell us a little about yourself and your writing.
Although Welsh by birth, and having grown up in Cardiff, not a million miles from where you live, Jan, I moved to Cornwall four years ago. The idea was to downsize to a place my husband and I could lock up and leave to travel, although of course there hasn’t been a great deal of that going on in the last fifteen months. There has been a lot of writing though.

The Missing Pieces of Us is your debut novel writing as Eva Glyn. Can you tell us a little about the story behind the story?
The story was inspired by a tree. A very special tree in the woods above the River Hamble, exactly as it is described in the book. I was taken there by a friend back in 2009 and instantly knew it had stories to tell:
‘The oak stood on the rise above the path, not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, a daisy chain, a shell necklace…’
Children also leave letters for the fairies who look after the tree and guess what? The fairies reply. 

Before I’d even read a word of your novel, I knew it would be a book for me because of the wonderful cover design. Can you tell us about that and the intriguing title?
The book was originally indie published as The Faerie Tree in 2015 with quite a dark cover, because I didn’t want it to look like a children’s book. Over time, I realised the title wasn’t doing it any favours so I dreamt up one that would say more about the story, and felt quite modern. The cover is all down to the wonderful design team at One More Chapter – I can take no credit. 

the fairy tree
Your characters, Izzie and Robin, are very credible and you explore a whole range of human emotions through them. Can you say which came first, the characters or the story you wanted to tell?
Robin came first. It was some months after I’d first seen the fairy tree and I was sitting in Caffe Nero in Winchester watching homeless men gather at the Buttercross outside, and I started to wonder what it would be like to recognise one of them. A friend had suffered a pretty cataclysmic breakdown the year before and I wanted to write a story to show that recovery and happiness were possible. 

How much planning did you do for The Missing Pieces of Us?
Absolutely none. I just started to write and kept writing. These days I need to be more organised, because I have an outline agreed by my publisher beforehand so I need to have the whole story laid out in my head, as well as character sketches and settings. It’s better that way because everyone knows what they’re working towards. As readers, we all recognise that sinking feeling when we pick up a book that just isn’t how it’s described in the blurb. 

How much research did you have to do? How did you set about it? 
I wrote what I knew, set in places I knew. But I had one major problem and I didn’t know the answer until the book was almost finished; how on earth could Robin and Izzie’s memories of the past be so different? In the indie book it was left a little ambiguous, although there were strong pointers, but in the new version it’s far clearer, and that’s the one change my editor at One More Chapter wanted me to make. 

How would you like your readers to feel when they’ve finished reading your book?
Optimistic and hopeful. Because if Robin and Izzie, who in their own ways have suffered so much, can move beyond that, then perhaps most people can. 

On a more general note, do you have a particular writing routine?
When I’m writing a first draft I do, and it’s first thing in the morning, with a latte at my side. I read through what I wrote the day before and make corrections, then it’s at least a thousand new words. Sometimes more if it’s really flowing. Once I’ve finished we’ll go for a walk – often quite a long one – and then I’ll get on with the rest of the business of the day; often social media and marketing, or research. 

What, for you, is the very hardest part of writing? And what is the most rewarding?
Writing endings is both the hardest and the most rewarding. As a writer, you want the readers to be completely satisfied when they close the book and I still find it really hard to say goodbye to the characters in the right way.

I know that 2021 is a very busy year for you. What can readers look forward to next?
At the beginning of August my first dual timeline, written as Jane Cable, will be published. It’s called The Forgotten Maid and it’s a romantic mystery set in Cornwall during the Poldark era and the present day. I’m very excited because I’ve wanted to set a book here since I moved and I loved researching it so much it’s going to be the first of a series of standalone novels going back to the same period. Then in early September, my second Eva Glyn book comes out. I was inspired to write The Olive Grove by an incredibly moving story I heard about growing up during the Balkan war in the 1990s. We were on holiday in Croatia at the time and it was our tour director’s personal experience, and he has helped me no end with the book. 

If you were asked to tell us one thing about ‘the other me’, what would that be? 
I’ve always loved cricket and I was so inspired by the 2005 Ashes win I blagged my way into becoming a freelance cricket writer. I think knowing I was in the media centre at Lord’s covering a test match was my father’s proudest moment!

Thank you, Jane, for giving us a look behind the scenes of The Missing Pieces of Us. Readers are in for a treat. 

Buy links for The Missing Pieces of Us can be found here:

Personal links:

Twitter: @EvaGlyn

Thank you for reading. I'm sure, like me, you will have been fascinated to hear about the inspiration behind Eva's novel. Writers, have you been inspired to write by something you found or witnessed unexpectedly in nature? 

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBaynham and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.