Thursday, November 9, 2017

THE NATURE OF ENTANGLED HEARTS by Emma Hartley Interview & Excerpt

Author: Emma Hartley
Publisher: Satin Romance
Pages: 277
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Paranormal Romance/Thriller/Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction


The Nature of Entangled Hearts is a fast-paced, edgy, romantic thriller, with a subtly supernatural twist.  Enter the story of Elwyn and James, two strangers entangled by their past-life experiences, who are mired in an unquantifiable present.  Throughout the novel they work to understand the bonds that hold them together, just as an unforeseen danger threatens to tear them apart. 
Elwyn “Derrin” Derringer is a ceramic artist and a professor at the local college of art in Portland, Maine.  She has always felt insecure and disconnected, unsure of how or why she fits into the world, seeking through her art to fill in the missing pieces of herself.  When Elwyn’s eyes lock on those of a stranger across the market, everything she has taken for granted as reality is thrown into question.  Understanding blooms in fits and starts, interrupted by her fears of attachment and eventually by the unwanted attentions of an obsessed and disturbed art student.

Throughout the novel, Elwyn discovers reservoirs of strength and independence as she faces these challenges, endearing the reader with her feisty nature and her fierce desires to create authentically, to love intensely and to transcend the destructive links to her past.  “The Nature of Entangled Hearts” takes us on a thrilling ride through past and present, through love and dread, through loss and reclamation, leaving us thankful that we don’t understand all the mysteries of the universe just yet, and reminding us never to take our lives - or our loves - for granted.


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Book Excerpt:

“Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
TO-DAY of past Regrets and future Fears -
To-morrow ? - Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.”
                        The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
                        Translated by Edward FitzGerald


Insecurity nestled in my breast like a needy child. I grew restless as it sucked something essential from me, thriving on my offering just as I, in turn, withdrew. I didn’t wish anymore, it seemed so pointless. I didn’t wait for some great epiphany. I existed, and that was enough, I told myself, for in contrast with the suffering of the rest of the world, it seemed only right to be thankful for the quietude of Maine.
I created relative to this insecurity, allowing it to flow into my work like water moistening clay. Without water, clay is dust. I thought that without my flaws—insecurity the reigning tyrant of lesser beasts—that my work would crumble under the weight of its own mediocrity. So, I let it govern my forms, my choices, my superficial acceptance of appreciative art collectors. Insecurity was the excuse that allowed me to embrace inferiority. With hope all but lost of finding any true meaning besides beauty in the world about me, I crept catatonic through my life, eyes barely open, heart nearly closed.
I’d spent most of my adult life in the great state of Maine. Portland drew me in after grad school and never let me go. There was always some new allure: The skeletal remains of an ancient pier ascending bleached from the ravages of low tide, exposed like the ribcage of a long extinct behemoth; verdigris copper edging along a crumbling slate roof, tattered like the lace on an old prom dress; the punishing crash of waves against the ferry’s bough, speeding undaunted through winter waters, as I enjoyed my own private cruise. This place had almost everything I needed to thrive. Almost.
Might not love play a part, I wondered in weak moments, in this deceptive spring landscape? Like a lupine seed blown from afar, rooting along the roadside, might it flourish? Then, how could this fragile shoot grow strong enough, fast enough, to outpace the onslaught of winter, or can love thaw the very air around it, creating a protective shield against the elements? Would time then corrupt it? Erode it like tiny drops of water on stone, wearing away elasticity and alacrity, making barren what would have borne fruit?
I had felt winter’s claws dig in, pinning me down like prey, waiting to crush my spirit. I had felt the rebirth of sunshine and growth, spilling into crevices nearly abandoned, a resurgence of breath to revive the long dead. The lost, the lonely, the artistically bereft, we have found ourselves drawn to Maine for an age, it’s the mercurial edge between civilization and wilderness. We flock here yearning to flourish, as a tree may cling to a forbidding cliff, rooting desperate between chinks in granite, gaining purchase against elemental odds: we grow despite ourselves, our rugged forms belying the improbable tenacity of our hidden will to thrive, of our frozen desire for love.
“Listen again. One evening at the Close
Of Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
With the clay Population round in Rows.

And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried-
Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?

Then said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
“My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
But, fill me with the old familiar juice,
Methinks I might recover by-and-by!”
                        The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
                        Translated by Edward FitzGerald

About the Author

Emma Hartley is an author and artist living in picturesque Maine. She has been writing and making art since childhood and has been insatiably curious and industrious her whole life. Emma was a double major in English and Fine Arts and she received her Masters in Art and Design Education. She is a specialist in ceramics and includes much of this expertise in her novel The Nature of Entangled Hearts. Her other interests include playing drums, making art and exploring every square inch of the Maine coastline. The Nature of Entangled Hearts is her first novel.


Where are you from?
I am from New York State, originally, but I have lived in Maine for the past fourteen years. 

Tell us your latest news?

My latest news is that my debut novel, The Nature of Entangled Hearts, was just published by Satin Romance!  It is very exciting to see a novel I have worked so hard on coming to fruition.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was just a child.  I wrote poems and stories of all kinds, some of which I still have.  They reflect the same sense of wonder about the world, as well as the deep focus on relationships, that I still have today.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I began calling myself a writer just a few years ago.  I had decided to make writing a part of my weekly routine, and that decision brought my work to a new level.  I had always understood that writing takes constant work, but I didn’t always make the time for it.  Once I carved out that precious space for my work and gave it the consistency and attention it required, I began to recognize myself as an author.

What inspired you to write your first book?

The first novel I wrote as an adult was about overcoming adversity.  The characters were inspired by two actors who fell in love (rather publicly) and the crucible that working together on a movie set must be.  I explored the characters’ interest in each other, the natural guards that people put up and how they interfere with budding relationships, and how hard it must be to grow up in a realm where everyone around you is superficial.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes.  My writing style is edgy and a little sarcastic, the female protagonists are always feisty on the outside with a deep vulnerability on the inside.  They are also usually artists of some kind, whether visual artists or musicians or actors.  These forms of self-expression have always been a deep part of my own life, and thus I can write about them with authority.  Another characteristic that sets my writing apart is that I write in a more literary style, with a wide vocabulary and esoteric descriptions of places, people and emotions.

How did you come up with the title?

The title of my work took a lot of thought.  The list of possible titles was quite long – there were over forty of them!  I narrowed it down little by little, brainstorming words and feelings and characteristics that I thought were integral to the book.  The working title was Transcendence, but then a TV show came out with that name!  I had to keep working through the ideas until I found the one that felt right.  The Nature of Entangled Hearts stuck with me, resonating differently than the other possibilities did.  I admit, I did hesitate to use the word Heart in the title, but in the end, it felt right.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message that I convey in the book is one of hope that love transcends lifetimes.  Love can be so strong sometimes that it feels like one of the fundamental elements of the universe.  Dark energy, gravity, quantum entanglement – these forces can’t be seen, but they are felt and their effects are observable.  Love, in my mind, is rather the same.  We become connected – entangled – with certain people throughout our lifetimes.  Why is that?  What force draws us to specific people?  What is the nature of that attraction?  The Nature of Entangled Hearts explores these ideas through the hearts and minds of the main characters and brings us to the conclusion that these connections are not imagined.  They are a very real part of our unique human experience.

How much of the book is realistic?

The book is written in the present and is set in Portland, Maine.  Many of the places and restaurants mentioned in the book are indeed real.  All of the information regarding the ceramic arts is accurate (to my knowledge).  The characters’ lives, careers, motivations and feelings are written realistically, but are entirely fictitious works of my imagination.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I have met a soul reader who knew things about me and my family that would have been impossible for anyone but me to know.  I used this idea in the book as the character named Angela.  The beginning of the book is also based on a real encounter.  I was in the Public Market when my gaze met that of a stranger across the room with whom I shared a strange connection – for just an instant – and then we resumed our regular lives.  It was the inspiration for the book!

What books have most influenced your life most?

The Razor’s Edge, Brideshead Revisited, The Sun Also Rises, everything by Haruki Murikami and P.G. Wodehouse, the Harry Potter series, In Sunlight and In Shadow… Just to name a few.  I have read hundreds of books, many of which have shaped me into the person – and the writer – that I am today!  I think that the common threads in books that inspire me are that the writing is superb and the characters have some vulnerability that I respond to.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I have a lot of P.G. Wodehouse books on CD that I listen to in the car on long trips.  His use of language, his dry comedic sense and his development of a story that winds its way deftly back to its beginning have all inspired me to be as erudite as I can be with my word-craft, while at the same time, reminding me never to take myself – or my work – too seriously.

What book are you reading now?

I am reading Vedic String Theory, by M. Anant Bhakta right now.  It bridges the divide between the ancient Vedic texts and modern quantum physics. 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I thought Lily King’s character development in Euphoria was sublime, and I think that Erin Morgenstern deserved some kind of literary prize for The Night Circus.  It was so inventive!

What are your current projects?

My upcoming novel, The Annealing of Aliza Bennett, is set for release in July, I am finishing up two more novel-length manuscripts, and I have to keep myself from starting anything new until I finish the work I am doing.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

Even if they didn’t realize they were doing it, I felt supported by my local coffee shops.  They allow me, for the price of a latte, to sit for hours in complete focus, while the hubbub of the day swirls on before me.  Without my coffee shops, I would feel like I am writing in isolation.  With them, I have an instant community.
What would you like my readers to know?
I would love for your readers to know that I appreciate them.  I toiled in obscurity for many years before approaching publishers with my work, simply because I didn’t understand that my love of writing is meant to be shared.  Now that I realize this, I am so thankful to share it with you!




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