Paul Emanuelli is one of that lovely group of writers I've had the great good fortune to meet via Twitter. Paul is the author of Avon Street - a historical novel set in Bath in the 1850's. The PINK SOFA is happy to say it has read the book, and recommends it highly! In honour of Paul's visit, and in an effort to be snack symmetric, there is a Victoria Sponge cake on the coffee table. Awaiting the outcome of its own historical novel, set in the 1860's, the PINK SOFA questioned Paul about being a historical writer, and why the Victorian period particularly appealed to him. This is what he replied:
'' A big Thank You to Carol for inviting me to sit on her PINK SOFA for a while and for asking me some questions that really made me think. I should begin by telling you a little bit about myself. II was born in Stoke-on-Trent, of Welsh parents and Italian grandparents. Most of the jobs I've ever done have involved writing, but mainly reports, studies and factual documents. For far too long I thought of creative writing as something other people did. It seemed a big step to say, 'I want to be a writer,' let alone, 'I am a writer.' Though I'd always told myself that one day I would write a novel, reality always seemed to intervene, and it wasn't until later in life that I started night-classes in creative writing and began writing short stories. My first novel, Avon Street grew out of one of them.
I've always loved history, but until Carol asked, 'why?' I'd always taken it for granted. Many people think of history as being about kings and queens, great events, battles and empires. And of course, endless lists of dates. But what I love about history is the lives of 'ordinary' people and trying to imagine what it would have been like to have lived in another time. People as far back as the Neolithic age drew pictures on cave walls, carved animals from bones - they made art, communicated, left signs that they had been here for a moment in time. They had no writing, but you're left wondering - were they really very different to us? Maybe their emotions and feelings, hopes and fears were much like ours.
An author owes a lot to their readers. Reading novels takes time, and a writer has to earn that time by creating characters that readers will care about, and devising a plot that will make them want to turn the page. But the historical novel also asks the reader to ignore everything around them and to imagine that they are living in another time. For a writer, that's where the research comes in. A writer has to understand what life was like in another time - fashions, transport, medicine, work, education, politics, crime and a host of other things. But as a novelist they also have to ensure that they include just the right amount of historical detail in the novel - too little and it doesn't feel real, too much and it becomes a history lecture.
The Victorian era particularly appeals to me because we know so much about it and because perhaps more that any other era it mirrors our modern world. It was an era of great change and the first age of consumerism. The Industrial Revolution was in some ways the forerunner of our own Technological Revolution. New discoveries and inventions revolutionized manufacturing processes. Railways and steamships made travel faster and cheaper, rapidly shrinking the world. And it was the age of popular novels, which allow us, perhaps for the first time a real glimpse into the lives of 'ordinary ' people.
Avon Street is set in Bath in 1850. It's a city whose image is defined even today by the novels of Jane Austen. But when writing it, I wanted to explore the darker side of the city that Jane Austen only ever hinted at - to go behind the Georgian facades, to show the streets of a city, where wealth and elegance were never far from poverty and squalor.
I won't tell you too much about the book, in the hope you might read it, but it revolves around a wealthy man who loses everything and has to do battle with a ruthless criminal gang who run the poorer quarters of the city. It's about the search for trust among the people who offer to help him (an actress, a sailor a thief and a priest) each of whom has their own secrets. And most importantly, it's about the choices people make and how those decisions shape who they become. Much of the book is based on real events, locations and people, but with a few fictional twists that I hope will keep the reader turning the pages and guessing to the end.''
Avon Street (highly recommended by THE PINK SOFA) can be found at:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Avon-Street-Victorian-Mystery-ebook/dp/B006VOJ3LG/ref=tmm kin.title 0
Contact Paul via his blog: http://unpublishedwriterblog.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter: @UnpubWrites
Paul is going to stay around to answer your questions, so while he pours the tea and arranges the Victoria Sponge decorously on the cake stand, why not take a seat and have a chat.....