Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Em Muslin's favorite escape...plus a special giveaway

Please join us in welcoming Em Muslin to CLC today. She's here to feature her debut novel, Before You Were Mine, and talk about the books that influenced her. And for one lucky reader, she has a $10 Amazon gift card to give away!

Em Muslin has worked in the film and television industry for over 20 years. She first fell in love with reading and writing after experiencing Judith Kerr's When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. She hasn't stopped devouring books ever since.

She loves words that capture an experience or emotion in a singular form: her current favourite, describing herself, is nemophilist.

Em's writing career has included developing a script for a stage musical with Tina Turner, and writing a bitter-sweet comedy screenplay, Last Chance Saloon.

Em's writing focuses on the texture of domestic life, relationships, family and the pressures of social convention. Her characters are often fighting to become the hero of their own story, searching for hope, despite the adversities that life inevitably brings.

You can find Em at her website and on Twitter.


Synopsis:
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. 

Books that Influenced Me 

The love of stories began, like most people at a very early age. I grew up in a home without a television and surrounded by shelves full of books. I would spend many hours in voluntary solitary confinement curled up under my duvet on whatever adventure I had managed to find at the library that day. Books for me were an escape. They were an extension into a different world. They allowed me to disappear from any difficulties I may be having, and safely hide away with the friends I found on the pages. Books helped me begin to understand the world, my world, and find my identity. They were the lungs that breathed air into my world. They helped me make sense of my place in life and they inspired me, not only to write and read more, but to become the hero of my own story. They taught me to laugh and to love and they taught me to fight when the going got tough. They were the parent that placed their arm around my shoulder and told me never to give up. They were the guiding hand that led me safely down the dark passages when I was too fearful to go alone. Quite simply books moulded me and books made me.

As a young child, I will never forget reading Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Set at the beginning of WWII, it is a story about a young girl called Anna coming to terms with her place in a world where Jews don’t belong. As a Jewish girl, it taught me not only the history of the war, but how a young girl can be brave and survive despite the odds. As I grew up, I moved on to Eli Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man/The Truce; harrowing true recollections of the holocaust. These are challenging books, but I believe essential reading to anyone – no matter their identity - as they help you understand what is at the heart of humanity and what drives people to act as they do.

Obviously, not all my reading was as heavy as these books. However, they were a fascinating (and often painful) introduction to human nature. Novels such as Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance, Anne Tyler’s Dinner at The Homesick Restaurant, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, Jeffrey Euginides' Middlesex, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time, Julian Barnes’ Levels of Life, Steinbecks’ Pastures of Heaven, Jasmine Warga’s My Heart and Other Black Holes, Joyce Carol Oates’ We Were The Mulvaneys, Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See, and many many more, all touched me in different ways. They contain characters who can make you laugh, make you cry, make you think, make you angry. All these characters make you feel something. And that for me is key. These simple words on a page help me emote. They wriggle inside my heart and unpick something that already exists there until my heart bursts with it.

Like music, we can often choose books to suit our mood. It could be the cadence and beauty of the prose, the circumstance the hero finds themselves in, the adversities they face, or simply their sense of humour. These books become our friends.

In my debut novel, Before You Were Mine, the process of writing was similar to how I read. I entered into the psyche of the main character; Eli. I listened to her voice. I thought about what she had to say to me and why. I tried to be her friend and understand her. I hope as readers, you feel able to do the same. That like characters that have put their arms around you, and tell you it is going to be OK, you can do that for her. I hope she touches your heart, like she has touched mine and teaches you something about love, determination and the importance of never losing hope. I hope you become her friend and you in turn hers.

Thanks to Em for visiting with us and sharing a gift card with our readers!

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends May 29th at midnight EST.

20 comments:

Janine said...

I can't think of a lot of books about motherhood off the top of my head. The only one that comes up would be Anita Hughes' last book, White Sand, Blue Sea, because part of the story is about a mother and daughter.

April Sutton said...

There's a children's book called The Kissing Hand that my mama read to me and I read to my kids. Makes me cry every time.

susieqlaw said...

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

Lori Frazier said...

Bioks are an outlet for all my inner thoughts

Stephanie said...

My favorite book about motherhood is The Handmaid's Tale. I remember reading this as a young woman then again after I became a mother and it was more disturbing yet.

traveler said...

Bed and breakfast was captivating.

Jessica Meddick said...

I can't remember which one in the series but I love the Shopaholic book by Sophie Kinsella when she has her baby. The whole book isn't about motherhood but it's a part of it.

cpr040304 said...

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

And

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Rita Wray said...

The only one that I have read recently is The Tumbling Turner Sisters. The mother in the book was quite a character.

Dianne Casey said...

I really recall a book about motherhood that left an impression on me.

Mary Preston said...

It would be a picture book actually KOALA LOU by Mem Fox.

Melanie Backus said...

There are so many great books...too hard to choose.

Grandma Cootie said...

The Orphan's Tale

LauraJJ said...

One of my favorites was Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis!!! Was so good and funny...and romantic! :)

bn100 said...

none; haven't read any

Leslie Waters said...

I can't really think of one because usually the books aren't about the mother.

Linda May said...

I can't think of any motherhood books right now. I do love your blog & Thanks for this generous giveaway.

Tatum Rangel said...

"The Guest Cottage," by Nancy Thayer. :)

Kimberly S said...

"The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

tarafarah7 said...

Room by Emma Donoghue...wow, just wow!