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Interview with an Author: T.C. Emerys

T.C. Emerys is author of the short story collection The Weight of Rain, a book I thoroughly enjoyed and that really had a lot of food for thought. Here she shares a little about the book and herself.

What was the spark that started The Weight of Rain? I started the titular short story, The Weight of Rain, before anything else. I lost a friend and mentor a few years ago and I really wanted to write about grief and also intergenerational friendships. That also sparked the companion piece, Henna, and I started to think that maybe I should write a collection. Other stories quickly followed and I decided to challenge myself in the summer of 2020 to finish it and publish it. Name one thing you’re proud of having achieved with The Weight of Rain. I think I'm most proud of having finished it. I knew nothing about self-publishing in summer 2020 but I made it my mission to learn from others and read everything I could about the process. I treated The Weight of Rain as somewhat of an experiment, so any commercial or critical success is a complete bonus. It paved the way for future work and without it I never would have entered the world of self-publishing, or at least I would have convinced myself I couldn't do it for many more years to come. I am also extremely proud of the first story in the collection, Sunflower. Not just the story, but the response I got in speaking to other people who suffer from chronic pain. I wanted Sunflower to be about chronic pain, which I suffer from myself, but I wanted to make sure the character wasn't a self-insert. I wanted Eira to have her own world. I hope that I've achieved that, and I certainly feel most proud of that particular story when I look back on the collection. Please tell us a little about your writing style. What/who has influenced you? I mostly read fantasy because I love rich world-building and complicated lore, but I think in terms of actual writing style I turn to classical literature and poetry - Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Dickinson, not that I claim to be able to emulate any of them haha! I love Thomas Hardy's pastoral descriptions, the vivid natural world, food, the countryside - that all features heavily in my work too. But I'd actually say the writer who influenced the collection most was Matt Haig. I love the relatability of Haig's characters and his turn of phrase. I can feel his influence most when I look back on the collection.

What was the most interesting/random fact you discovered while researching for The Weight of Rain? I don't know about a specific fact, but I did read a lot about Irish LGBTQIA+ culture for The Beach at Rinmore Point because it was important to me that I knew the background of the experience that the community has in Londonderry and the towns close to the border between ROI and Northern Ireland, especially when writing about the struggles the two characters faced in getting married years earlier. I read about unofficial same sex weddings, gatherings to witness love and union without having the legalities behind it. I read about when the law changed and the people who still to this day want same sex marriages banned. It was sad and very eye-opening to read about. Share something about your main character(s) that is super important to you and why that is. Henna's (from The Weight of Rain and Henna) struggle with imposter syndrome came straight from my heart. I still struggle to allow myself to feel like I belong in the writing community. Is there something from your own life or experience that has found its way into The Weight of Rain? Eira's health journey is not the same as my own real life experience, but I borrowed bits and pieces from my real life to talk about the stigma of having a long-term illness. What’s next for you and your writing? I work full time as a ghostwriter, which I really enjoy, and so I'm working on building my business and working with new clients. I also have several personal projects on the go (I can never just choose one thing, can I?!) I'm currently working on a poetry collection with my co-hosts of our writing podcast, The Midnight Quill Podcast. The collection should be out in Spring 2022. I'm also writing a trilogy of fantasy books, the first of which will be out in the second half of 2022. I have plans for my fledgling indie publishing company, April Showers Publishing, but I can't reveal any more about that yet! What book(s) changed your life? The Merlin trilogy by Mary Stewart, my first fantasy loves. They set me on the path to pursuing Arthurian studies in my academic life, eventually leading to postgraduate degrees in Medieval Arthurian Literature. Although that part of my life is in the past, it has had a huge influence on me as a person and as a writer. Is there a cause that’s important to you? I am a proud feminist among other things!

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