Before You Were Mine by Em muslin
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.
Don’t miss the breathtaking debut Before You Were Mine by Em Muslin! Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Alice Peterson and Lucy Dillon.
Praise for Before You Were Mine:
‘A heartbreaking novel about what happens when we don’t have the power to make our own choices. Before You Were Mine is a moving and emotional story that is sure to touch readers’ hearts.’ – Karen Katchur, author of The Sisters of Blue Mountain
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) Before You Were Mine follows a woman on her journey as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her daughter after she has been forced to give her up for adoption many years ago. Eli, now a grown woman has spent her life not only grieving for her, but above all hoping that one day they will be finally reunited. Thirty odd years later, she bumps into a woman and knows that this is her. She ingratiates herself into her life, without revealing she is her mother – knowing she has to find the right time. She is determined, no matter what, to one day be reunited with her.
Meanwhile, her husband Tommy has to come to terms with his part in her story, and the guilt he carries from all those years ago. It’s a story about loss, regret and above all hope.
It partly came from a documentary I watched many years ago. It followed a group of people, whether they were mothers searching for their child they had given up for adoption, or children who were given up for adoption, looking for their mothers. It was a painful journey, as not only did you discover the stories behind the women who were placed in a position where they were either forced to give up their baby for adoption, or they felt it would be best for the child, but also it followed some families reuniting for the first-time. The fantasy they had carried in their head for so many years didn’t always live up to the reality.
I could only imagine how it felt for the mothers to give up the baby and the moment when they realise their child is no longer considered theirs. I wanted to explore the concept of absolute pure love, and the grief that follows once a mother and child are separated.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A) Eli’s voice came to me one day. She was a woman who felt deep regret for the loss of her daughter. She was a young girl and powerless at the time to change the circumstances. I wrote a short story about it called Regret. Many of us have regrets; some more than others and in retrospect there are numerous aspects of our life we would change in an instant. But that is the power of hindsight. If we knew then, what we know now. Often, we forget that either the path is chosen for us and we are powerless to change it, or -and it is an important point to remember, when feeling regret – we did our very best under the circumstances at the time.
I managed to capture Eli’s voice enough that I knew I wanted to develop it further. I had written a number of chapters many years ago, and then placed it in a drawer – not knowing if there was anything in it. I took a break for a few years from writing after I suffered a huge personal loss of my own and I felt unable to write. However, my agent encouraged me to continue with this idea and having experienced such profound grief myself, I touched on those emotions within the book. I felt able to really relate to Eli, despite the circumstances being different. I’ve mentioned in another blog post about the Hebrew word ‘Mizpah’ and how it can be interpreted as ‘an emotional bond between two people despite either distance or death separating them’. This is very much what ties Eli to her daughter, and vice versa. They are both searching for each other. They are both hoping. Hope is such a wonderful thing. It propels us forward, no matter what it is we wish for, regardless what has gone before. As Eli says;‘Without hope, what have you got?’
Once I had finished the book and sent it to my agent, I was of course thrilled to be taken on by HQ Digital! Harper Collins isn’t a publisher to be sniffed at – so it was a huge boost in my wavering confidence! And here we are, ready for my own baby to be introduced to the world!
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
Wow. So many. I can only name a few, but here goes …
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, Fanny Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Daniel Woodrell’s A Winter’s Bone, and I have just read a preview copy of Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing – stunning.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) I loved so many books when I was a kid; but here’s a few – Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree series, Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Charlotte’s Web, all Roald Dahl books, Nancy Drew, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, Robert Louis Stephenson’s Kidnapped ….
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) Seeing how welcoming and lovely book bloggers are. Incredibly encouraging and extraordinarily important in the publication process. I mean that. To take the time out to read, review, offer posts, Q&A’s and promote someone’s book – for free – is incredible, and I cant thank you and them enough.
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) I have been so lucky with the encouragement from first of all my agents Harriet Poland and Maggie Hanbury – they have been fantastic. They have a great sense of humour (which you absolutely need in times of stress!), they are open and honest, they have been incredibly lovely and supportive throughout the whole darn process and I can’t thank them enough.
My friends have been amazing. I know I am very privileged to have the friends I do – they have been there through thick and thin. They all know how important writing is to me and they have encouraged me to continue through all my ups and downs. From that group of friends, I have also had a few trusted readers along the way, who have been incredible – but one in particular; Hilary Durman has been my little feathered friend. She has sat on my shoulder and whispered words of encouragement and advice throughout this whole process.
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Available for just £1.99 on #Kindle 🙂
*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.