Sunday, July 31, 2016

SST: Signs of You By: Emily France


I had the joy of interviewing Emily France about her debut Signs of You. Hope you enjoy!

1)        It’s your debut! How fun! How does it feel to accomplish such a big dream? 


            When I was five years old, I told my parents I would be a writer. And I meant it! I proceeded to fill Strawberry Shortcake journals with stories. As I grew up, I kept going and going and going. I packed boxes and bookshelves with partial novels, notes about characters, and story ideas. So this has been a very, very long time coming. It’s been my dream for as long as I can remember. All I can say is that other than my wedding, my book launch day was the greatest day of my life. I’m so happy, I think I’m close to gaining the ability to float.

2)        The Signs of You cover is absolutely gorgeous. What was the process of getting a cover like, did you get to have input? What are your thoughts on the finished product?

            Thank you! I adore this cover. I feel like it captures the heart of the book—kind of a mystical longing. What’s really eerie about it is that my family thought it was a high school picture of me on the front! It does bear a resemblance…
            As for input, my publisher is wonderful, and they did ask for my opinion. The first time I saw it, I burst into happy tears. It’s remarkable to see a story you’ve created come to life in a visual way like that. But mostly, I’m grateful to have my publisher in charge of artistic direction! I stick to words. That’s my thing.

3)        Was Signs of You a tough story to tell?

            Yes and no. Yes, because my heart is in this novel. Every last piece of it. This story woke me in the middle of the night seven years ago and took me on the journey of a lifetime. I went through a lot in the course of writing it; I even left a successful career so I could finish it. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the creative process because it felt like this story chose me and brought out the most powerful emotions I’ve ever felt. It was quite a ride.
            On the other hand, this story wasn’t difficult to write. And by that I mean that I had to write it. I tried to quit multiple times. I would stuff my notes in the back of the closet. I would try to hide the computer file from myself so it wouldn’t be staring at me every time I opened a Word document. But I had no luck. Each time I was away from this story for any significant length of time, it was agonizing. I felt like I was trying to abandon a family member. As emotional as it was to write, it would have been much more painful to avoid writing it.


4)        Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Were any inspired by people in your life?

            I think there is a little piece of me in each of these characters. Each one responds to the mystery differently; each one deals with loss and grief in a unique way. Kate is lighthearted and in the moment. Jay gives in to cynicism and brooding every once in awhile. Noah is frequently in his head, intellectualizing problems from the start. Riley feels so much, but half the time she’s so disconnected from herself that she doesn’t even realize it. I can be each of those characters in any given situation.
            As for inspiration, the characters are purely fictional, but the whole novel is really a love letter to the friendships of my childhood. It’s my ode to summer nights filled with fireflies, games of Spotlight, and dares to explore creepy caves. I hope it captures the feeling of really good friends, that sense of security you have when you finally find a few people who are truly a loyal crew. It’s one of the best things in life.

5)        Do you have any writing rituals? Care to share.

            Well, first of all, there has to be caffeine. I’ve tried to write without coffee or tea, and I’m sunk. It’s like my brain goes on strike. 
            I also like to take a moment and get quiet. Sometimes I’ll meditate, or read something inspirational, or ring a singing bowl. It’s a reminder to myself to calm down, to be honest on the page, to put my heart in every line. 

6)        What has been the most exciting part of your debut process?

            At first I thought it was the day I got my book deal. Telling my husband and my family is one of my most sparkling memories. Then I thought it was working with my editor for the first time. Love that guy! Our collaboration was one of the most exciting creative endeavors of my life. Then I thought the best part was when positive reviews started coming in from places like Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Then I thought it was when Apple iBooks selected SIGNS OF YOU as one of the Best Books of July. 
            But then July 19th happened. That was the day my book was officially released. I had a huge party at one of the largest independent bookstore in the country—The Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado. There were over eighty people who came out to support me. I made cool origami birds and hung them over the podium. There was a huge cake with my book cover on it. I signed books for over an hour. It was one of the greatest nights of my life. 

7)        What was your celebratory meal after you got the news you were being published?

            I wish I could tell you I went to a fancy restaurant and dined like a rock star, but when things get good . . . I go straight for the mac and cheese.
Thanks so much for having me!
Check out more:

About The Author:
 Emily France graduated from Brown University before going on to law school, where she was the editor-in-chief of the law review. She finds creative inspiration in all things spiritual, from sitting with Benedictine monks for 4 a.m. vigils in a Rocky Mountain monastery to trekking to Buddhist and Hindu temples in India. Now she writes full-time and lives with her husband and their fearless Tibetan Spaniel in sunny Colorado—the closest place to Nirvana she’s found. Signs of You is her debut novel. Visit Emily online at and follow her on Twitter @EmilyFranceBook.
Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.

When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.

When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.
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