Words of inspiration: Author Emma Cooper celebrates the release of her new book
For best-selling author Emma Cooper, this thought-provoking question inspired her new novel, It Was Always You.
“I was washing the dishes and looked out the window and saw a magpie in the garden. I thought it was such a beautiful color, almost a midnight blue rather than black. I could imagine my teenage girl rolling her eyes at me and saying ‘you’re so boring’ and I thought – what if I could go back and tell her what I know now?” she told Weekend.
The book opening is set for the night the clocks go back to 1999, says Emma, who lives in Telford. And the setting was inspired by Donington Bonfire, Lilleshall Abbey and Apley Woods.
The story begins with a teenage Ella sitting around a bonfire drinking with her future husband, Will, and her oldest friend Cole.
As Ella walks away from the group, she finds herself leaning against an abandoned archway before passing out.
The next day, Ella recalls fractured footage of a conversation with a woman wearing a green coat and red scarf, but dismisses it as a drunken dream.
Twenty-three years later, with her marriage to Will in trouble and Cole spinning out of control, Ella opens a life-changing gift: a green coat and a red scarf.
When she looks in the mirror, the woman in the ark reflects on her.
A mother of four, Emma began writing the book, which features a lot of 2000s nostalgia, during the third lockdown.
Placing it in a Covid-free world meant it had become his much-needed escape from the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“I started the book on January 1, 2021 during the worst time of the lockdown because we spent Christmas away from family and friends and no one knew how it was all going to turn out.
“Putting it in a world with Covid meant my characters could visit each other and go to the pub without masks. It was my escape,” she explains.
“It was a great experience writing the book. I think out of all my characters, this group of characters is my favorite.
“My first book will always be very special because it was my debut and the one that changed my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so close to Ella, Will and Cole.”
Before becoming an author, Emma worked as a teaching assistant at a local elementary school for 11 years.
In her spare time, she began writing her first book, The Songs of Us, described as a funny and heartbreaking novel about love, loss and what it means to be a family.
After submitting the finished book to literary agents and publishers, she received over 30 rejection letters. She was contacted by agent Amanda Preston who is full of praise for her writing.
Within two months, she secured a UK publishing deal with Headline and the book was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelist Association’s Contemporary Novel Prize. Her second novel The First Time I Saw You was first released as an e-book in 2019 and paperback in January 2020.
And that was followed by If I Could Say Goodbye in September 2020. It Was Always You, which is available to buy in ebook and audiobook format now and will be released in paperback on September 1, is her fourth novel and Emma has already started work on the fifth.
When not working on her own novels, Emma works as an editor and creative writing tutor for Jericho Writers, a company providing writers with expert editorial assistance.
“I share my day. I do my own writing in the morning, on the couch with my laptop, and do 2,000 words when I’m in my feed. Then I’ll move on to editorial work on the computer at my desk. ” she explains.
“I think I would come back and tell my teenager to believe in me a little more. I think when I started having rejections, it was easy to believe it was because I wasn’t enough. good for being a writer,” Emma says.
She has been delighted with the response to It Was Always You so far and is looking forward to the paperback edition being published.
Emma doesn’t hesitate to read her reviews because she says it helps her know what people like or dislike about her books.
“I always read my reviews, a lot of authors don’t. I think people are very busy, so if they’ve taken the time to write a review, read it.”
“I made a lot of people cry. It’s always nice to make people cry and laugh, I brought out their emotions. I hope people fall in love with it as much as I do.
Emma enjoys interacting with readers and will be attending Chase Bookfest, Cannock Chase’s book festival for popular women’s fiction and thrillers, later this year.
“I love hearing from my readers and I hope to go to book clubs, so if you’re interested please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
For more information, visit emmacooperauthor.wordpress.com