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Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Part of Me and You by Emma Heatherington - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Juliette is losing her battle against cancer. She gets the devastating news that she doesn't have long to live, it's only a matter of weeks. Juliette doesn't know how to tell her fifteen-year-old daughter Rosie. There's so much she still wants to share with her daughter and now she has to leave her before she's even grown up. To make some last memories with Rosie, Juliette decides to travel to Killara, the place in Ireland where she spent such a happy times many years ago. Will this holiday bring Rosie and Juliette what they need?

Shelley doesn't know how to keep going. She lost her little girl and every day is a struggle. Being a mother was all she ever wanted and now she's completely lost. She isn't ready to be social, she can't love her husband the way she should and she doesn't let anyone come close to her. Shelley's grief is all-consuming. Her daily routine filled with misery changes when she meets Rosie and Juliette. They know what tragedy feels like and this bond makes it possible for Shelley to communicate with them. However, becoming friends with a dying woman might bring her even more grief. Will Shelley dare to take a chance and what will happen if she does?

A Part of Me and You is a beautiful heartbreaking story. Juliette knows she will have to leave her loved ones behind, while she isn't done living yet. Juliette loves Rosie with all her heart and there's so much she still wants to share with her daughter. Shelley is alive, but she's done living. She's given up and doesn't want to keep going. Juliette doesn't know how to say goodbye and Shelley isn't interested in being part of the world any longer. Shelley forms a deep and meaningful connection with Juliette and Rosie that helps them all through difficult times and makes the transition easier for them. I shed quite a few tears while reading their fantastic compelling story, it's sad, but also hopeful.

Emma Heatherington has written an impressive poignant story about loss, grief, love and fate. A Part of Me and You is emotional and thought-provoking. It's impactful and I love when I feel many different things when I'm reading a story, A Part of Me and You is a rollercoaster in that area. Emma Heatherington knows how to build tension, she skillfully explores every aspect of each layer of her main characters' personalities and she accurately describes all parts of the process they're going through. I absolutely love how gorgeous, detailed and captivating her writing is. A Part of Me and You is a mind-blowing story.

Advice

If you love emotional stories about beautiful friendships you should definitely read A Part of Me and You.

About Emma Heatherington


Emma Heatherington is from Donaghmore, Co Tyrone where she lives with her children - Jordyn (21), Jade (16), Dualta (16) Adam (15) and Sonny James (2). She has penned more than fifty short educational films, plays and musicals as well as six novels for Poolbeg Press, two of which were written under the pseudonym Emma Louise Jordan.

Her latest signing with Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) saw the re-release of her first book Crazy For You (originally Dodder Books) in 2013 and The Legacy of Lucy Harte (Jan 2017). A Part of Me and You will be released in January 2018. She also worked with country legend Philomena Begley on her official autobiography (The O'Brien Press) which is available from November 6th 2017.

Emma loves spending time with her partner (the international artist and singer/songwriter Jim McKee - jimmckeeart.com) all things Nashville, romantic comedy movies, singalong nights with friends and family, red wine, musical theatre, new pyjamas, fresh clean bedclothes, long bubble baths and cosy nights in by the fire.

Links

Facebook // Twitter // Amazon // Goodreads

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m a 41 year old writer from Ireland, a mum of five (ranging from almost 22 years old to a lively 3year old) and a lover of live music, theatre, travel, food and red wine. I live in a little village in County Tyrone with my partner Jim McKee who is a singer/songwriter and visual artist and our home is very relaxed, very creative and with so many of us living there, usually very messy!


2) Can you describe the main characters of A Part of Me and You in
seven words each?


Juliette (who is terminally ill) is brave, strong, maternal, positive, determined, hopeful and spiritual – Shelley (who Juliette meets when in Ireland) is sad, lonely, lost, nurturing, grief-stricken, broken and creative. Rosie (Juliette’s 15 yr old daughter) is frightened, longing, angry, loving, warm, gentle and courageous.

3) Death plays an important part in your novel, how do you prepare for
the many emotional scenes that come with it?


I write very much from the heart and from my own personal experiences which I use to try and convey the emotion in my books. I cry when I’m writing the big emotional scenes which I always feel is a good sign, and I cry again when I read them later! We all have our own experiences of good times and bad times in life and I have mine and I suppose I tap into those feelings when I need to. Plus I have a fabulous editor who squeezes every drop of emotion out of me until I have no more, ha!

I lost my own mother when she was just 36 years old and I’m the eldest of six children (I was 15, the baby was 8mths old at the time) so I took a lot of how I felt at that time and put it into the character of Rosie who faces the same fate as she watches her young mother in her final stage of life. We had no warning when we lost our own mother, but I tried to imagine what a teenager might feel if she knew what was around the corner.

4) Your story is moving, but also positive, how do you combine these
two at first sight extremes?


I try and give some sort of life lessons in my stories. Unfortunately we all have to go through some shades of darkness in our lives but there will always be light if we look for it in the right places and the right people. Kindness, human touch and love can get us through the toughest of times and we should always try and reach out for others in need. I believe that true happiness doesn’t always come from helping ourselves, but rather in helping others and that’s the theme of my work at present.

My previous books (before The Legacy of Lucy Harte which was released in 2017) were romantic comedy, so maybe the comedy and lighter side of life still creeps in subtly in places too helping me balance the positive and negative aspects of my stories.

5) You write about family connections, what does family mean to you?

I have a very close knit family and we all look out for each other, even into my extended family. There are 40 cousins in total on my mum’s side alone and we are all great friends. Maybe it’s an Irish thing to have such big families, but I absolutely love the feeling that someone will always have your back. I remember arguing with my sister when we were very young and my mother telling us that when we were older we would be best friends and we turned up our nose at the idea, but of course she was right. I love making memories now with my own children, visiting places and doing nice things together when we can.

We have been to France for the past two years on holiday and this year we are off to Italy to my baby sister’s wedding which we are really looking forward to. Every Christmas we all gather in my dad’s house after dinner and have a bit of a sing song. It’s bittersweet as we always know there’s a big hole in our lives since we don’t have our mother anymore, and maybe that’s why we are all so close. I suppose I don’t know any different, it’s just how we are and always have been.

I love to travel but I’m also very content at home. We bought a slow cooker recently and Jim and I joke that it’s a big moment for us to put the Sunday roast on the night before – I think that’s a nice sign of contentment that comes from having a happy, healthy family.

6) How did your writing adventure start?

I think I’ve always been a creative writer of sorts from a very young age. In primary schools I made up new versions of school yard rhyming games. At the age of 12 I was writing songs in my bedroom and dreaming of being on Top of The Pops (my singing voice is as Simon Cowell would say ‘distinctively average’ so that was never going to happen!).

I carved out a career in PR and Event Management after university but it wasn’t until I was almost 30 that I entered a short story competition in a magazine and won it that writing became a more serious part of my life. Several book deals with Irish publishers followed and I penned 5 rom coms and 2 romantic suspense books under the pseudonym Emma Louise Jordan before I signed with HarperImpulse (HarperCollins).

The Legacy of Lucy Harte is a special book for me and it was the first new work with Impulse. It took me a long time to write it as I had a baby in the middle of putting it together. A Part of Me and You was written last summer (a lot quicker than Lucy Harte!) and I enjoyed every moment of it.

7) You write novels, plays, films and musicals, what's the best part
about tackling so many different forms of writing?


I am very privileged to have had so many cross genre opportunities come my way and I’ve learned my craft by writing for very diverse clients and subject matters through scriptwriting for short film and stage (these topics could be anything from teenage issues such as drug and alcohol awareness, suicide awareness, night crime, mindfulness and wellbeing to family health topics such as blind cord safety awareness, road safety issues, mental health awareness etc).

I owe a lot of this experience to my local theatre ‘Bardic’ with whom I penned my first musical and to Beam Creative Network, a local agency who employ freelance artists to delve into these areas for public sector clients. I always love the challenge of tackling a new subject matter for a new audience.

I also write scripts which aren’t to commission but which come from my own imagination of course, and my partner Jim and I penned a children’s musical called Scarecrow Fred which we had great fun producing and directing – we still take it around schools in a workshop format and it’s a real labour of love.

I love writing song lyrics – it’s what I started out doing and I’m delighted to again have been given opportunities by singers and theatre practitioners to explore that side of my work too. The best part of writing in so many fields I think is how all that experience combined makes me a better writer overall.

I think writing is like any craft – the more you practice, the better you get at it. Plus, it gives you confidence as writing can be a lonely old job – I still remember the first time I heard a live audience laugh at my scripts. It really was a ‘pinch me’ moment.

8) How do you combine your writing career with having a large family?

Aha, the million dollar question! I don’t have any magic formula or secrets to how I juggle and I don’t think any working mother does. It can be very hard to get the headspace to write with such a busy family life but I believe that if you really want to do something, you’ll make it happen. As I said, my house is normally a bit of a mess but it’s homely and welcoming and a creative hub so I suppose that’s where I fall down in my time management!

I’m more likely to be dreaming up stories than vacuuming but in saying that, some of my best ideas tend to come when I’m mopping floors for some reason...seriously! Writing is how I earn a living now and it’s the type of job that has no start or finishing time.

I write around my three year old’s routine as the older kids are all at school, so it’s really when he goes to bed at night that I get stuck in. Jim paints in the kitchen and I write from the living room. Maybe one day we’ll have our own proper working quarters but for now we’re getting by and for two people who both work from home around teenagers and a toddler, I think we’re managing pretty well!

9) Live life is important advice you give in your story, why should
people never forget to live and cease the day?


I’ve had first-hand experience of how cruel life can be when we lost our mother. I try not to overthink it, but sometimes I really can’t get my head around how a wife and mother of six who was so caring, so fun loving, so sociable, so talented, so popular and so much in her prime could be taken so suddenly. I still look back in awe at how my family, including my father, have come so far when we were robbed of our precious mother so young.

When I turned 36 (the age my mother was when she died) I think it struck a chord with me that this could all be over any day. Thank goodness we don’t know what is coming next but I’ve certainly learned that nothing is guaranteed, to take absolutely nothing for granted and that life is very precious, very fragile and that none of us are getting out alive so give it your best shot and be nice to those around you – we’re all in the same boat!

10) What does unconditional love mean to you?

I believe that unconditional love is the one type of true love. It doesn’t come with expectations or judgement or blame. It is forgiving and quiet and sometimes unexplainable as it is just there and it never goes away. It’s the type of love as I mentioned before where you know that someone has your back.

We all make mistakes, we all lose our way at times but with unconditional love in our life we can always find our path again. Unconditional love is supportive, it’s caring, it’s meaningful and it’s pure. It’s the love between parent and child, brothers and sisters, partners, husbands and wives (when the right people get together!). I suppose in a nutshell, unconditional love is family.

11) What are your plans for the future?

I’m working right now on my next HarperImpulse novel which has a working title of ‘The Angel of Hope Street’ and I’m really enjoying. I’m also ghostwriting an autobiography (my second time doing this!) for a very famous country singer here in Ireland and the UK, and both of these projects are keeping me very busy. Further down the line I hope to write more novels and who knows, maybe a screenplay version of one of my books. That would be the ultimate dream come true for me, if one of my books were to make it onto the big screen.

The Legacy of Lucy Harte will be released in Holland in March so that’s something that’s happening in the very near future and A Part of Me and You will be out in Germany in Jan ’19.

I already feel very blessed to have come this far in my writing career and I feel very lucky to be doing something I genuinely love. The messages I get from readers from all over the world have been absolutely mindblowing and a true honour to receive, so thank you to all who have got in touch after reading my books.

I can honestly say that (apart from teenagers, school runs and a toddler yelling for breakfast), my urge and love of writing is enough to get me out of bed in the morning and look forward to the day and best of all, I don’t even have to change out of my pyjamas or leave the house to do it! I’ll just keep on mopping floors and hopefully the ideas will keep on coming. That’s what I hope for in the future.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a bound manuscript of A Part of Me and You by Emma Heatherington.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

21 comments:

  1. This would be a perfect spring read. And such a lovely cover.

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  2. I would love to read this. Hope it's a big success.

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  3. A Part of Me and You sounds like an uplifting, life affirming and spiritual tale of love and loss, reminding us just how precious life is.

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  4. It sounds like a great read, my kind of book.thanks for sharing it.

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  5. I know this is gonna do well, books are getting more popular now the shine of digital readers is wearing off a little!

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  6. This sounds like an emotional, moving novel. I just know that tears will be streaming down my face when I read this.

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  7. Sounds good can't wait to read it.

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  8. Sounds like a fab read! Thanks for the chance x

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  9. I can't wait to read your books! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  10. Lovely cover, and the story's really starting to pique my interest.

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  11. Sounds like a strong story, the one when you'll cry at the end.

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  12. This looks like a real tear-jerker!

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  13. I hope I won't get too upset when I read this

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  14. This sounds like it would be so sad, even though I really enjoy books that have life lessons and sadness in them.

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  15. a promising story that everyone should try to read, hope the your way of writing captivates your reader

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  16. Love a powerful story. Great interview.

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  17. I would be interested in reading this story, I've never read a book where the main character is terminally ill.

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  18. This sounds a really interesting book

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  19. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

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  20. Sounds like a deep book and I would love to read it! You are new to me! Thanks for the giveaway! Rita Spratlen

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