A few weeks ago, I received a request to review THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU by Eleanor Moran. Enjoying stories with drama and best friend themes- I immediately said “YES!” Then….an interview and a giveaway?!!! Well, if you’ve spent any time at Traveling With T- you know that just sent me to “singing into my hairbrush” levels of excitement! So, lovely folks, today is the interview with Eleanor Moran and the giveaway of THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU!
My review will post later this week- but, trust ole T on this- you want this book. You really want this book. T will not steer you wrong on this!
And now… Interview time!
Q&A with Eleanor Moran
1. The Last Time I Saw You was partly inspired by a hypnotic and seductive friendship I had at college. Amy was a wonderful person to be around when things were going well – a brilliant listener, incredibly good fun – but like Sally, the best friend of my heroine Livvy, her moods could swing from high to low. Our relationship was a roller coaster, but it went catastrophically wrong in our mid twenties when i drew a line in the sand. I’d hoped it would be a chance for us to re-invent our friendship in a more mature way, but instead it came to a brutal and bloody end. It took me a long time to process the viciousness of the ‘break up’ . When a love relationship breaks down we know the rules; we grieve and rage and eventually move on. When a friendship ends, there are no rules to follow, no simple answers. And the intimacy that women have with one another means that if it goes wrong they know exactly how to twist the knife.
The other thing I wanted to write about was the ‘haunting’ that can happen in the relationships we start in our 30s and 40s. I like to call this ‘Rebecca Syndrome’ in tribute to Daphne Du Maurier’s wonderful novel about a young wife haunted by the spectre of her distant husband’s dead wife. I ended a long relationship in my early 30s, only for my ex to quickly re-couple and have a family. I thought a lot about the person who had slipped into my one time future. Similarly, I’ve had partners who seem haunted by the ex they profess to loathe. How thin a line is it between love and hate?
Interestingly my grandmother knew Daphne Du Maurier’s family when she was a girl.
Do you have a favorite character from the book? One who was a pleasure to right? Difficult?
2. I love – or at least I’m intrigued by – all my characters. They have to feel three dimensional for me in order to be able to write them, which means I need to know what they would do in most situations. A writer I know calls this the ‘kick the dog’ test – do you know what they’d do if they walked past a stranger kicking a dog?!
I always fall a little in love with my male leads – the great romantic novelist Barbara Cartland used to say you have to – and this was certainly true for William. He’s a pompous stuffed shirt at the beginning of the book, defended and badly bruised. I enjoyed peeling back the layers, and when I finished writing it I slightly pined for him! I’m quite a believer in the law of attraction, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence I started seeing a man with the same name shortly afterwards.
Livvy has a lot of me in her, as all my heroines do, and I desperately wanted the best for her. I wanted her to learn to be less of a doormat, and I looked for interesting ways to challenge her and make her grow. James her flatmate, who she secretly loves, is a composite of a lot of boys I’ve known. The kind of man for whom life looks effortless. I wanted to write about male/female friendship too – when I was younger I certainly experienced how confusing that can be. I’ve secretly loved and been loved too.
If you could give just one piece of advice to fellow writers what would it be?
3) – Gosh, I wouldn’t presume to advise other writers at my stage, but to newbies I would say…Do you know, I don’t know! Understand the market, but don’t be handcuffed by it, as you need to find your own voice. There are wonderful books about writing, I’m a huge fan of Alexandra Sokoloff, who draws brilliantly on film structure. I also love Christopher Vogler’s work, which again crosses between film and books. I work between TV drama and my novel writing, and I find the storytelling techniques, particularly in terms of creating vivid characters, really cross fertilises. Why do you love the characters you love? What is it that you want to express? Some people say that writers are always playing with one concern, dramatising it in different ways. I suppose for me I write a lot about how our early life – childhood and youth – influences our adulthood, and how we unknot the ties that bind us to our past.
Who are your favorite authors? Who has inspired your writing?
4) – As I said above, I adore Rebecca. Daphne Du Maurier found something universal, and then wrote a deeply specific story. I grew up with a very distant father who I adored (this is what my new book is about), and when I read it, as a 13 year old, I fell madly in love with Maxim De Winter! When I reread it for a talk I gave at the Shoreditch House literary salon, I realized how deeply camp he is, quite apart from being a cold blooded murderer. The only thing that man loves is his house.
I love Melissa Bank’s two novels, The Wonder Spot and Girls Guide. She writes so exquisitely about the small things in life, with enormous warmth, humour and perceptiveness. I’m not surprised they were such hits. She’s an inspiration for me. She makes the ordinary extraordinary.
I recently loved The Husband’s Secret. Very well observed.
I love Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m currently reading her new novel, which is wonderful, but I thought her second memoir, Committed, was a wonderful exploration of love, and how it hopefully matures and deepens as we get older. How infatuation starts to feel like a curse rather than something desirable!
She’s not a novelist, but I love Brene Brown’s incredible work on shame and vulnerability (her TED talk got about a zillion hits!) She writes brilliantly on how women undermine each other, particularly in the ‘mommy wars’ both between mothers and between mothers and non-mothers.
Beautiful Ruins. Loved that. The Fault In Our Stars. The Help. Heartburn. The Time Traveller’s Wife. For me it’s the books about rounded, flawed characters doing their very best in believable ways. Plot that comes from character. If you look at my website – eleanormoran.co.uk – i wrote about my 10 favourite love stories. And romantic films.
What’s next? Are you working on your next book?
5) I recently delivered my 5th novel to my UK publisher.
*Special thanks to Eleanor Moran and Danielle C for the interview!
And now… for the giveaway! (Happy Dance, Happy Dance- Happy Music!! So have had this song in my head for days!)
Details: 1 copy of THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU by Eleanor Moran (US only!) Check the Rafflecopter link for details on how to win!
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T