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Words with a Wordsmith Emily J. Edwards

By Rebecca D’Harlingue
April 28, 2023

Emily J. Edwards writes Girl Friday Mysteries.

Do you listen to music while you write or edit? If so, what’s on your writing playlist?

I’ll tell you one thing– it’s not the traditional way that most people listen to music while they’re writing! I am extremely lucky that my husband is a professional composer, so there is always music swirling through our house. While he’s in his studio downstairs, I’m in my office upstairs, chipping away at a project. My husband specializes in music for movie trailers, so the music is always driving, energetic, and full of forward movement. I think it really helps give my scenes more “drive”– it’s hard to linger away on feelings and contemplation when there’s a pulsing drum beat coming from underneath your room. The extra fun part is that the emotion of the music also lends itself to make life’s mundanities more exciting– cleaning the bathroom even feels like you’re conquering soap scum rather than doing something gross and boring.

What’s the best compliment a reader has ever given you?

The nicest emails I’ve gotten yet about VIVIANA VALENTINE GETS HER MAN have been from people who are contemporary or just a bit younger than Viv herself, who grew up and lived in New York City ’round about the time of the books. We have a perception of the year of 1950 being much more modern than it truly was; the Mad Men or Mrs. Maisel era of New York was actually about ten years later than my book series is set. I’ve received a few notes that I absolutely nailed the feelings of New York during the time, which is absolutely marvelous. The setting is a major character in historical fiction, and I’m so relieved to hear that I can accurately describe a city the way it was 35 years before I was born there!

Is there another profession you would like to try?

The more I think about it, the less surprising it is that I, a current historical fiction author, used to daydream about becoming an archaeologist. The absolute thrill of digging into the earth and pulling out a reminder of the distant past feels like it would be the world’s greatest bump of endorphins. But, realistically, I’m a writer, and digging in the cold, wet mud or the hot, dry sand for hours, days, or weeks on end sounds like absolute torture. So I’ll stick with sitting in a comfy chair and writing 80,000 words about the past and leave the digging to other people.

Do you have another artistic outlet in addition to your writing? Do you sew? Paint? Draw? Knit? Dance? Garden?

Anything and everything, though I do few well. I love to garden, and keep flower, herb, and vegetable gardens. All of the produce from that gets used in my other great artistic passion, which is baking. I’m partial to different kinds of bread (I find making a good, multilayered babka to be harder than writing a novel, to be honest), and have frequent daydreams of competing in a Great British Baking Show-style showdown. I wouldn’t win because I’m absolutely lousy with decorating things or making anything look pretty, but I’d have a shot at being Star Baker of bread week, I think.

What was the inspiration for your most recent book?

Book 3 in the Girl Friday series, VIVIANA VALENTINE AND THE TICKING CLOCK, certainly has a “new year, new you!” theme to it that I brainstormed while in the process of moving from Los Angeles to Connecticut at the beginning of 2022, but not in the way that most people expect. Viv is tackling massive lifestyle changes and changes to her expectations– grappling with what’s expected of working women in post-War America. I think Viv is on the verge of being a second-wave feminist, but certainly does not have the vocabulary for her goals and fears. In a way, I feel like the era she’s working in is similar to our own, as we’re exhausted with the status quo but don’t yet have an established, functional framework to climb away from the issues we see at hand. I’ve also started working on a separate, different mystery novel, a Los Angeles-based noir novel that’s grappling with aging, and being a woman over 40 trying to find her place in a youth-obsessed world. The inspiration for that is just my impending mid-life crisis, for sure!

 

Emily Edwards earned her degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and took the long road to becoming an author, working for over a decade as a wine and spirits journalist, radio producer, and creator of the podcast, F*ckbois of Literature. She currently resides in Connecticut with her husband, and several quadrupeds. Pronouns: she/her/hers

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Rebecca D’Harlingue

Written by Rebecca D’Harlingue

Award-winning author Rebecca D’Harlingue writes about seventeenth-century women forging a different path. Her debut novel, The Lines Between Us, won an Independent Press Award and a CIBA Chaucer Award. Her second novel, The Map Colorist, won a Literary Titan Award and a Firebird Book Award.

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