Sunday, 22 October 2017

Fab Firsts - Q&A with Emily Elgar

Fab Firsts is my regular Sunday feature, that is going to be highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives. When reviewing books for this feature, there will be a mix of debuts, first books in a series, the first time I read an author, and possibly other firsts depending on what I can think of!

If you are an author wanting to take part in Fab Firsts then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you.

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts, while making some sort of dent in my review and paperback TBRs which are my current main focus!

Hello! I’m Emily Elgar, a debut novelist. My book If You Knew Her is being published in the UK on August 24th 2017 by Little, Brown and in 10 other countries – god, it still feels amazing and completely surreal to write those words! 

1) Can you tell us a bit about your first book? 

If You Knew Her is a suspense novel. It’s about a woman called Cassie who is in a coma. Frank, the patient in the bed opposite Cassie, finds out a secret about her, a secret that is still threatening her life. Frank is the only one who can save her but Frank has locked in syndrome and can’t move or speak…

2) What was your original inspiration to become a writer, and to write your debut? 

I’m not sure there are any writers who aren’t devoted readers. I have always adored books but for a long time it felt too audacious to write one! I was at a turning point in my life, I felt restricted and perhaps a bit bored. I needed something to shake things up so I booked myself on a writing course, and then I booked another, and another until I ran out of money and only then did I start writing If You Knew Her.

3) How long did it take you to write your first book? 

Three years – two while working part time and one year as a full time writer. 

4) If you could do anything differently in retrospect, what would you change about your debut, or how you went about writing it? 

I would try and plan more! I’m the kind of writer who loves to chase after ideas even when they disappear down rabbit holes. That’s fine, but sometimes I find the rabbit hole is a dead end and I’m totally lost. 

5) Was your first book self or traditionally published, and how did you go about making that decision? 

My book is traditionally published and I suppose my brilliant agent made that decision for me!

6) Do you have any tips for other first time authors? 


Tell us about your first…

7) Memory – Running head first smack into a glass door

8) Person you fell in love with – Shane from Neighbours

9) Prize you won – The Keep Trying prize in primary school.

10) Album you purchased – Radiohead The Bends. 

11) Sport you enjoyed participating in – I’m terrible at sports but for a while I loved Rounders

12) Embarrassing moment you can remember – My mum turning up at a sports day at school dressed as a clown. All the mums were supposed to be dressing up, but they changed their minds at the last minute and my mum hadn’t got the message. MORTIFYING.

13) Pet – Henry a white duck

14) ..choice of alternative career if you weren’t an author – Helicopter pilot

15) … time you felt like an adult – Pending.

16) Dish you cooked – oven fish and chips when I was about 10. My sister and I cooked for my parents and we made ourselves chef hats and drew moustaches on our faces.

17) … time you were really scared – I still can’t look at a sink plug without seeing the clown from IT 

Thank you so much for answering my questions. It was a pleasure to meet you at Jane Corry's launch party, and I really hope you mean the original Shane from Neighbours, as the latest Shane (different character) is really quite new and not as good looking!


Originally from the Cotswolds, Emily Elgar studied at Edinburgh University and went on to complete the novel writing course at the Faber Academy in 2014. She currently lives in East Sussex with her husband. If You Knew Her is her first novel.

Social media: Twitter: @emily_elgar

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