Author interview: Eva Glyn

1. What inspired the idea for your book?

Another book! After The Olive Grove I knew I wanted to stay in Croatia and liked the idea of writing a dual timeline set during The Second World War. I pretty soon discovered the British had a base on a tiny island called Vis, the only place in former Yugoslavia never occupied by the Germans. From there I discovered a book written in the 1950s by a veteran and in it I came across the execution of the partisan women. I found it horrific, and certainly a story that needed to be told.

2. How much research did you need to do for your book?

Loads. I was lucky in a sense because there was reference material available; not only the original book I’d found but a biography of one of the British army doctors who’d worked on the island. If I was writing characters living in 1944 I had to really understand what life was like for soldiers and civilians then so I needed to do a whole lot of reading as I developed the story. But the hard work paid off because so many people have commented on how much research I must have done, and how it brought the book alive.

3. Have you ever travelled as research for your book?

Although I started to write the book during one of the UK’s covid lockdowns as soon as I was able to do so, I travelled to Vis, staying in the village of Komiza where most of the book is set. It isn’t the sort of place you find in tourist brochures but with the help of a specialist travel agent I managed it. The trip was absolutely vital; to be able to walk the ground, to talk to people about the island and its history, to sit and drink coffee where my modern day heroine Leo drinks hers, were all absolutely priceless.

4. What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

I don’t need to, because they’re inside mine!

5. How important was professional editing to your book’s development?

Vital. Even when I was an indie author it was something I never skimped on. After all, as a writer you are expecting people to part with their hard earned cash to read your book, so you owe it to them for it to be as good as it can be. Now I have a publisher they do the professional editing and I think I am really lucky to be working with Charlotte Ledger at One More Chapter, which is part of the Harper Collins empire. She is just the best.

6. Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?

Eva Glyn is a pseudonym and my real name is Jane Cable. I started off writing under my own name (and still do) but my books written as Jane have a ghostly element to the romance so different to the ones I write as Eva, which are more mainstream. It’s no secret so readers can try them all if they like (and I hope they do), but I think it’s important they know the sort of book they’re buying.

7. How do you use social media as an author?

For me social media is all about making connections, in the same way I would if I was networking in real life. I think it’s a great place to interact with readers, bloggers and other writers; to have conversations and exchange views. I love it!

8. If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be?

I am extremely lucky because, having been mentored by saga writer Margaret Graham earlier in my career, in recent years I’ve been attending (covid permitting!) writing retreats run by Rosanna Ley, who is one of my favourite authors. She’s a super tutor too and always, always, has really valuable insights to offer and clever ideas which improve my writing.  

9. What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Finish it. It sounds really obvious, but so many people get hung up on polishing the early chapters and trying to make them perfect. Don’t. They won’t be. And the story will probably change as you write it so you’ll need to redo them anyway. Just finish the manuscript first, then polish, edit, tweak, shine, until it’s as good as you can make it.  

10. What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

The more you write, the better you get. I am always in awe of writers who submit or indie publish their first novels. I was on my fifth book before I felt I had something good enough, but then perhaps I was an especially slow starter!

  Eva Glyn writes relationship-driven fiction inspired by gorgeous Croatia. Her books are published by One More Chapter. Follow Eva on Instagram @evaglynauthor.

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