We worked with model Emma Laird, from Models 1, in our sustainable fashion story for issue 42, take a peek here. We’re thrilled that Emma has just written her first novel: Eventually,. Here’s an extract and interview with Emma about her inspiration.
We ate salt and vinegar crisps here. We talked and laughed with the old locals who had their regular seats around the room. Through the alcove to my left led into a small room taken up by a pool table and rack of old cues of different sizes. There were still holes in the ceiling where I had, on numerous occasions, punctured with my cue in light anger at my defeat, to which the owner had always laughed off while his Jack Russell had run to collect the falling dust with his tongue.
It felt wrong coming here alone as if the place had turned sad in our absence – or my presence, alone. I finished my drink and left with a goodbye to a girl I did not know behind the bar. I took one last look at the outside, with its beautiful brickwork and arched doorway, and the windows that were so poxy you might question why they were there. So much character deserved to hold such memories. I didn’t think I would ever return here, so I smiled and turned my back on another one of my favourite places.
If her touch were a sound
it would be
the soft crisp crunching of leaves
amongst the silent of the forest
it would be
the glide of fingers
over the finest of silks
the rustle of sheets
masking the natter of morning birds
the delicate crackle of a cigarette
as you inhale its fumes
and see the red burn dance downwards
chasing your clutched fingers
what if you still crave something more
if crisp sheets and cigarettes aren't enough
to mask what was before
you might hope her touch
to be more like
the jab of a needle
the burn of your throat at the passing of whisky
the fading pain of a hit to your hip bone
from some hiding furniture
the breeze floating around the wound
of a scab that you just reopened
Tell us about novel? Who are the main characters? The main character is Kora. It’s the telling of how she meets her boyfriend (Bryce, a musician) during a summer of English music festivals. Then while working in Utah, she falls in love with a woman named Grace and has this seemingly impossible task of deciding what to do – trying to follow her heart and not hurt anyone in the process.
While you might say it’s a romantic novel, it’s better described as a story of self acceptance, of learning to be okay with your own company and your own thoughts. Kora realises you can’t use these exterior things (relationships) as distractions from that.
The book is written in first person, how did you become the character in your novel when writing it? I find it much easier not to judge the character when I’m writing in first person. It felt really authentic while writing, I found it easy to keep her character traits consistent. Though I must admit, the main character is a lot like me in the way she thinks, not how she is perceived, but definitely how she thinks. The book is almost a vent for my thoughts that maybe I’m a little ashamed of. I shielded myself, I used those thoughts but changed them into Kora’s – I turned them into fiction. It let me offload. I could write almost like I would in a diary.
So in a way, it’s autobiographical? Definitely. I think why I’m so happy with this book is because I’ll pick it up in five years’ time, read a poem or a chapter and be reminded of a moment in my life. Not a lot of what happens in the book literally happened to me, but it stemmed from something which I used as fuel to evoke the emotions into the plot. It’s very personal while also being hidden behind the story – I love that, the mystery in people still not knowing what bits are from my life, but getting that really raw and personal reading experience.
Tell us about the process of writing your novel? I’d already written bits of fiction with no real motive. As something to do, usually while travelling – me and a friend would write bits and talk of book plot ideas, send extracts back and forth and have fun with it. I am a model, so I am on my own a lot – that was my go-to boredom killer. With this book, I was thinking a lot about a past relationship, I was yearning this perfect guy in my life and so I created him in this book – with all the best qualities and moments from past experiences with boys. I was releasing that nostalgia of my past relationships and little personal moments that could otherwise be forgotten.
Where do you like to write? I wrote the novel in a coffee shop in Crystal Palace below my apartment. I went almost every day and wrote little bits. In fact, I was writing this book when I shot a story with Oh Comely last year, but at that point I still didn’t know it would be a book.
Top tips for writer's block?
There are three things I’ve found found really help:
1. Going for a walk, preferably at night, sometimes with music, sometimes without is good to really address your thoughts and take in your surroundings. That usually leads to some messy writing in my notes page until I get back home to my laptop.
2. Hanging with close friends. The ones where you have those deep chats about random things like aliens and the future. In January, when the book was pretty much done, I spent time in Devon with my friend shooting a film there and we chatted for a while in the dark of her attic before sleeping. That stuck with me so much that I added that into a scene with Kora and Grace in Utah. My friends should be careful of what they say I guess, it might just end up in a book..
3. Reading. The Shining, weirdly, has been a really big help in writing. Stephen King’s similes and metaphors are beautiful, he gives you such a vivid view in your head of the story, and that was something I really wanted to replicate. Reading different authors is important too, to learn their different styles of writing. My NY resolution was to read a book a month.
Did you enjoy writing the book? Was the process as you imagined it would be? I loved it. I really did. It was so therapeutic. This past month was a bit technical and pressured with getting it out there and making sure everything’s perfect. I’m still absolutely petrified for people to read it. But I also know that there are some really beautiful moments in there, I hope people can take something from this book about being content in life, with themselves and their own thoughts for company.
Would you write another? For sure. I’m excited to really challenge myself with a different genre and style of writing. I want to write third person, outside of the world that I know. I already have so many ideas, I’m at that really exciting stage, anything can happen...
You can order Emma’s book Eventually, from Amazon.