When you create a character in a novel, there is much you think you know and then you keep finding more. This week I found the scent of Eva at the beautiful Officino Profumo Santa Maria Novella in Florence, where perfumes and herbal remedies have been made for over 600 years. Their Eva smells of bergamot and Sicilian lemon, or as they say – woody base notes with spiky overtones – perfect! Not a hint of old lady lavender for this determined and defiant nonagenarian!
MY NAME IS EVA Book Club Notes
I hope you and your book club friends have enjoyed reading MY NAME IS EVA, which contains some disturbing themes of love, hatred and revenge. These are all topics which can provoke strong feelings and provide material for intense discussions. So you may like to use the following notes as the basis for an examination of the novel in one of your meetings. Future editions of the novel will also contain these notes.
READING GROUP QUESTIONS
1 Do you think we all have different sides to our personalities, as characterised by the different names applied to the central character in the novel?
2 It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold, but do you think Evelyn should have taken to long to carry out her revenge?
3 In what way do the two murders differ and do you think either was justified?
4 Eva’s child is the result of a brutal attack, yet she loves her baby from birth. Do you think this is unusual?
5 How did Evelyn manage to sustain her love for her husband?
6 What do you think of Pat’s attitude towards her aunt?
7 Why was Evelyn so determined to keep her secrets hidden?
8 Should Evelyn have traced her daughter and made it possible for her to benefit from the family estate?
9 Was Evelyn right to give her niece power of attorney?
10 Evelyn clearly wanted to retain control over her destiny. Do you think she was right and did she manage to achieve this?
I’d only just got used to the idea that MY NAME IS EVA is a best-seller, when my wonderful publisher Bookouture announced the cover for my next book. BURNING ISLAND will be out on January 22 and is available now for pre-order. The journey continues as I’m now writing my third book – under wraps for now.
I lived with this lady for so long, but now readers are responding to her and it is rewarding to see how they love her too. So thrilled by this.
So, as any author will tell you, after the thrill of having your book accepted for publication, the next biggest thrill is seeing the work in print. And yesterday two large boxes of books arrived. Yes, books, actual books! At last I can hold a book in my hand, turn the pages and imagine readers meeting and loving the character I created. It’s finally a real book.
So thrilled to see early reviews coming in, such as this one below. After all the agony of researching and writing this novel, it’s so encouraging to know that readers love my character the way I did when she came to life for me.
‘This novel had me hooked from the very first page! I always enjoy delving into historical fiction novels and My Name is Eva is the perfect example of why! This rivetingbook time hops between the 1940’s, 1980’s and present day (2016) to tell the tale of Evelyn Taylor-Clarke’s life. Suzanne Goldring does a fantastic job with the pacing of this novel, I sometimes find historical fictions can get a little dry, but there wasn’t any parts that I felt lagged—love that! The storyline was incredibly moving and depth filled! Evelyn is a character that will definitely stay with me!’ Steph and Chris’s Book Review, 5 stars
So this book is really beginning to happen….orders are coming in, even though it isn’t out till September 11. But this week, even though I’ve checked and double checked drafts and proofs and should know the book off by heart, I was startled and delighted by the arrival of an audio sample of the book. Yes, that’s right, a live audio, which suddenly made me see my character, who I’ve lived with for over two years, come to life! I could not be more excited! Eva is real!
This gallery contains 2 photos.
I’m so happy to share the cover and description of my debut novel My Name Is Eva which has just been revealed by my publisher. Out 11th September but available to pre-order right now: https://geni.us/B07TBDN7HGCover. It’s so exciting to see this project … Continue reading
Part 1, chapter 3: Amaya.
There’s this new girl in my class. She’s called Avery and she sits at my table. Before she started at our school, Miss Swift asked some of us to look after her and show her around. She asked me if I wouldn’t mind, because of her being at our table and because I guess she knew I’d say yes and be nice and not just when Miss Swift was looking. I said I didn’t mind but then Olivia and Sophie took over, which I also don’t mind, because I’m not sure the new girl is all that easy to be friends with. I don’t know what it is about her that makes me say that. I guess she’s a bit stressed out, if you know what I mean. She’s always looking around and not at what she’s supposed to be doing.
I’m not mean though. I’ve spoken to her at our table and lent her my rubber and my ruler. If she’s stuck on something, I’ll happily help her out. Maybe I’m wrong and she’s OK. She might just be nervous because she’s new. I don’t know. I’m going to wait a bit and see how things work out with her. I’m already friends with Freya. I talked about it with her at the beginning and we reckoned we could include a third person but now we’re not so sure about this one. We’re going to wait and see.
Freya and I are in the choir together. By the amount the new girl sings in the playground and the way she goes on about being in a stage show already, I should think she’ll want to join the choir too. That’s OK, because there’s room. We meet in the school hall, so it’s not like Mrs. Mayfield can say there’s not enough room. I might mention it to Avery, to be kind, although there’s a good chance Olivia and Sophie have already told her about it. Then again, they like to try and get all the solo parts, so maybe they haven’t. Maybe they’re thinking introducing Miss Avery, Star of the Stage, would make it harder for them. Olivia’s the kind of kid my mum refers to as a ‘stage school wannabe,’ which is harsh but largely fair. Sophie’s more her sidekick. They’re OK and they’re fun to watch, but I like to keep out of the drama.
My best lesson at school is English. My second-best is music. I’ve just started learning the flute, which is really hard and I sound awful on it right now. My mum makes me practise every night. She’s not one of those pushy mums but she said, right after I first started playing it, ‘Amaya, that is an assault on my ears! Will you please practise, practise and practise some more, so you can get good at that thing?’ Again, harsh but largely fair. So anyway, I practise every night and then Mum tells me how much of her ‘investment’ (that’s how she describes what she pays for flute lessons) she’s got back so far, according to my playing. I think we’re at around £3.50, according to her. She’s funny, my mum, but she doesn’t appear to believe in mollycoddling her kids. Or anyone. If you want the blunt truth, my mum is the woman for you. She says even if I never get good at the flute, she’s certain I’m already great at writing, and she gets that for free, under the National Curriculum, ‘So, all things considered, you’re a great investment, Amaya.’
I always ask her, ‘Ah, but am I a great kid?’ and she says,
‘Oh, the best Amaya – the best kid with a great attitude and above-zero flute-playing skills,’ which makes me laugh every time, although I do want her one day to rate my flute playing a bit higher than that, hence the practice. Also, I can be the best kid forever, because I have no brothers and sisters, so there’s nobody to get offended if I take all the credit. Freya has an older brother, who is annoying. Avery has a younger sister and I think she said something about an older sister too.
‘Amaya!’ that’s my mum. ‘That is like music to my ears, but shouldn’t you be playing something?’
Ha! Very funny. I should be practising right now and not thinking about how many siblings the new girl has. I deliberately blow an off-note down the flute and mum calls,
‘Oh, it’s like the song of a thousand birds – dying ones,’ and the note turns into a squeak because that’s what happens if you laugh down a flute.