Today Emma Fraser stops by to talk all things bookish.
Greyfriars House by Emma Fraser
Once a home full of love, all that remains in Greyfriars House are secrets and lies . . .
On a remote Scottish island sits Greyfriars House, a house haunted by unspoken words and family mysteries. But once it was a happy and comforting place and in the summer of 1939, family and friends gather to forget their fears about the impending war. Nine-year-old Olivia watches the grown-ups with fascination particularly her mother and her two aunts, the three daughters of the family who own the island. Then Olivia she sees something she isn’t meant to and when the truth comes out it reverberates through the generations.
Almost fifty years later, Olivia has fallen ill and urges her own daughter, Charlotte, to visit Greyfriars to reconnect the existing branches of the family. Charlotte is hesitant to get to know her great-aunts, women who have always shunned her mother, but curiosity and a desire to run from her own life get the better of her and she goes to the island.
But Greyfriars House is a shadow of its former self and Charlotte finds her great-aunts tense and cautious. There is something they want to share with Charlotte, but in order to truly understand their secret Charlotte must first understand what happened to them before and during the war . . .
Interview with Emma Fraser
Emma’s Gaelic speaking parents emigrated to Africa when she was nine years old. She remembers lying in bed, listening to her father playing the bagpipes in the garden, the sound carrying for miles across the veld.
When she was a teenager, Emma returned to the Western Isles of Scotland and worked in a variety of jobs from putting up signposts on archaeological sites in mid winter, to being a waitress in Skye. She qualified as a nurse and worked in Edinburgh and Glasgow before going on to study English literature at Aberdeen University.
Emma began writing when her daughters started school and has published two historical novels which were both shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Her third book ‘The Shipbuilders Daughter’ was inspired by, as always, true events – this time by the Glasgow shipyards where her grandfather once worked.
Her fourth book, Greyfriars House was published last year and is available across all formats.
Currently working on her fifth book, Emma loves to immerse herself in research. As Emma says “In these times of celebrity culture, it’s ordinary women doing extraordinary things that inspire my writing.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Greyfriars House is a book set across three different time frames from just before the outbreak of WW2 up to the 1980s. It is a story of secrets, betrayal, love and restitution.
Who would your book be perfect for?
Readers who enjoy Lucinda Riley, Rachel Hore, Kate Morton or readers who love reading about different time periods.
Did you have a favourite character to write?
Georgina who is really the central character. I loved her naughtiness – and her strength.
What inspired you to the write the book?
A good friend’s father had been a prisoner of war in Singapore during WW2. It wasn’t a time in history I knew much about and I love learning when I write.
Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?
What has been your proudest bookish moment?
The first time I saw my first novel on a bookshelf in Waterstones. I felt like a real writer then!
Do you have any questions for your readers?
Given that three of my four books are set in WW1 and WW2, and that I feel I responsibility not to shy away from the horror of war, is there a level of grittiness, explicitness that would make readers stop reading?
What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
This is really difficult. I have had favourite books at various times in my life. I think I would opt for The Coral Island by R.M Ballantyne. It was the first book that scared the socks off me as a child and made me feel as if I was taking part in the adventure. It really catapulted me into a life of reading.
What are you working on now?
Another dual time frame novel, also partly set during WW2 – this time in Tuscany, Italy. Once again I didn’t really know very much about what happened in Italy during the war and while visiting a friend who lives in a castello in Tuscany I stumbled across my story and its setting!
Thank you to Emma Fraser for stopping by today, please come back soon.
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