Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Q&A with Rachel Greenlaw




Rachel Greenlaw is the author of the new novel One Christmas Morning. She lives on an island in the Atlantic Ocean off the UK's south coast.


Q: What inspired you to write One Christmas Morning?


A: The story arrived like a lightning bolt in my head one October morning, and I immediately began writing. I've never had an experience like it, but I vividly knew who the characters were, the setting and what would happen to Eva when she arrived at Penhallow.


In hindsight, this story was written during one of the lockdowns of 2021, and it's a reflection of what I was experiencing at the time - it's set in an isolated manor house which Eva can't leave, she's stuck in a time loop, which is how many days in lockdown felt!, and she's grappling with work-life balance, which I believe many of us experienced at the time.


Q: How did you create your character Eva, and how did you come up with the idea of her living the lives of those around her?


A: Eva walked into my head fully formed, a woman who was struggling greatly with work-life balance, who was desperate to get ahead but neglecting the relationships that were absolutely integral in her life.


I wanted to examine that from different angles, and waking up in someone else’s shoes, seeing yourself through their eyes, seemed like a hooky, exciting vehicle for that kind of self-examination and change Eva needed to experience to grow. It was also incredibly fun to write and play with this narrative structure!


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I knew where Eva would end up, and I had the main plot points sketched out as I was writing the story. But there is one perspective that nearly didn't make it into the book, Sarah's, but I am SO glad that it did, because I think it examines work-life balance from the perspectives of women at very different stages in their lives, namely Sarah and Naomi, the owner of Penhallow.


Sarah's cosy, chaotic existence was also my very favourite to write; those chapters flowed so easily.


Q: Why did you decide to set the story around Christmastime?


A: The holiday season can be a time for great joy, but also heightened emotions. I believe it lends itself well to the drama and upheaval of Eva's time at Penhallow, but equally it could have also been set over another holiday period, one in the summer for instance when family and friends gather.


However, Eva needed to get stuck at Penhallow and be completely isolated, and a snowy moorland is perfect for that.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am currently working on my second novel for adults, which for now I am calling Frost until the title is officially announced. It's a book about stories, and how they influence a small mountain town, it's a romance threaded with a mystery, set over a frosty winter and I cannot wait to share it with readers!


I am also getting ready for the launch of the first book in the Compass and Blade series, my YA fantasy romance which follows Mira, a wrecker from a small island who sets off on an adventure, uncovering secrets about herself and the world around her.


It's full of magic, betrayals, swoony romance and it's the first glimpse of a vast world for readers to explore. It's out in 2024, on March 5 in the US and Canada and Feb. 29 in the UK from HarperCollins.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: You can find me online via my website www.rachelgreenlaw.com and sign up for my newsletter for updates, as well as on instagram, twitter and tiktok with the handle @rachelgreenlaw_ 


Thank you so much for your insightful questions!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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