I delighted to be sharing my interview with Natalie Hart today. My post is a wee bitty late so sincere apologies to the Legend team and of course Ms Hart.
Really hope to review the book soon on Love Books Group, the cover is divine and the story sounds like our cup of tea.
♥ Blurb ♥
Emma did not go to war looking for love, but Adam is unlike any other.
Under the secret shadow of trauma, Emma decides to leave Iraq and joins Adam to settle in Colorado. But isolation and fear find her, once again, when Adam is re-deployed. Torn between a deep fear for Adam’s safety and a desire to be back there herself, Emma copes by throwing herself into a new role mentoring an Iraqi refugee family.
But when Adam comes home, he brings the conflict back with him. Emma had considered the possibility that her husband might not come home from war. She had not considered that he might return a stranger.
♥ Interview ♥
- Where did the inspiration come from for your current book?
The inspiration for my book came from my own experiences working in Iraq and the many different types of people I met during that period. Everyone was affected by conflict in a different way. I became particularly interested in portraying how the impacts of war go beyond the boundaries of space and time. The damage caused does not end because a person has changed country (whether that means going home or fleeing abroad) or because the war has been declared ‘over’. I was also interested in depicting how people live the experience of conflict from afar and through a rapidly evolving communications environment, while constantly wondering whether their loved ones are in danger.
- Do you have a special ritual that you do when you finish writing a book?
I was in Tunisia working when I finished this novel. I celebrated with tea, read a couple of great books and then started planning the next writing project.
- What has been your favourite read of 2018, so far?
For non-fiction, my favourite has been When the Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú, which is the memoir of a US border patrol agent. It resonated with me as a book that gives a real human experience to an international political issue, as I have tried to do myself. Cantú’s writing is a delight and his descriptions of the vast, beautiful and treacherous landscape of the desert on the US Mexico border evoked feelings that have lingered long since I finished the book.
For fiction, my favourite has been Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater, which is the story of a young Nigerian woman. It explores how we experience our identity, our sexuality, our spirituality and our senses of self, especially if those selves are fragmented. I found it a challenging read, but I think challenging reads make me grow as both a reader and a writer. I adored Emezi’s strong lyrical style. The intensity and ferocity of her writing hit me from the first sentence.
- Could you, please share with us a photograph that tells a story?
This is a photo from my book launch at Stanfords, which is also the first time my friends and family heard me read from the book. It was a wonderful evening and I was so moved by all of the people who came to share and celebrate the success of my novel being published.
- If you could pick three books that have influenced your life, what would they be and why?
Dick King-Smith’s Sophie series was my favourite as a child. The series follows a young girl who spends lots of time in the countryside and constantly works towards her ambition of being a ‘Lady Farmer’, which was also my goal at the time. I remember having an intense feeling of familiarity and being understood while reading those books. I think it’s the first time I experienced how writing can reflect and make sense of people’s realities, which is a major motivator for me in my writing today.
A Mad World My Masters: Tales from a Traveller’s Life by journalist John Simpson was fundamental in my decision to study Arabic and to travel to more unusual locations for work. The book lit a fire of excitement inside me about how wild and exciting and beautiful the world can be.
Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris was one of my favourite books as a teenager and definitely encouraged me to write. I love the magic she brings to everyday life. When I started writing myself, it was the writing of Joanne Harris that really made me understand what ‘voice’ means. Even today I can open up a Joanne Harris book and her familiar and unmistakable style takes me back to winter weekends in East Sussex, rushing to finish my homework so I could curl up on the sofa with one of her books.
If your book had its own theme song, what would it be?
Interesting question! I can’t listen to music while I am writing so there isn’t a song that I naturally associate with the book already. I would probably say the country song ‘Dirt Road Anthem’ by Jason Aldean because so many US soldiers listened to it in Iraq. There is a real nostalgia for the song and it’s about enjoying simple things like a truck, a dirt road and a cold beer. It always reminded me just how far many of the young soldiers were from the world understood. Some of them had never travelled outside of the US before and Iraq was like a different planet to them.
- If your book was made into a movie who would you like to play the main characters?
I get asked this a lot by my family and friends, but I honestly have no idea! I’ll say Emily Blunt for Emma, my protagonist because I know someone who is a big fan of hers.
- Do you have any questions for your readers?
Does anyone have tips on how to read in bed without falling asleep? I used to love reading at bedtime but now I can’t keep my eyes open for more than five pages.
- Lastly, if you could say something to your reader before they start your book what would it be?
Firstly, thank you for deciding to read my book and I really hope you enjoy it! Secondly, I know that for some people this book will bring up difficult issues. If this is the case for you and you feel like you need support, then please reach out for help. I know it is easier to say this than do it, but you are not alone in your experiences and there is always a way forward.
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