These Darling Girls is of decisions and consequences, it delves on friendship, love and loss. The story is unique as well as beautifully crafted. I was engaged in this engrossing tale which has a balance of joys as well as some heatbreak. The story begins at a world famous conductor’s (Leo) funeral and during this time the three loves of his life finally meet face to face. I will not give anything away as you need to see uncover how this story unveils.
Emma Burstall stops by and some questions, what is awesome is she is offering the eBook of These Darling Girls to one lucky winner.
How did your story of The Darling Girls come about?
Years ago I worked briefly with a woman – whom I’ll call Kate – who was in a situation not dissimilar to the one Victoria, one of my main characters, finds herself in. I didn’t know Kate well but to my surprise she spilled her heart out over coffee one day. She seemed to me to be a feisty, intelligent, funny woman, no doormat, and I found it extraordinary that she should put up with a relationship most of us would find intolerable.
I never forgot her and always thought I’d like to explore her dilemma in a book one day. Victoria is nothing like Kate but it was the central issue which intrigued me – why would she stay with a man who betrayed her again and again?
The idea of Leo being a musical conductor came about because although I never met Kate’s husband, I knew there must be something quite remarkable about him. A friend of mine’s a musician and he gave me a lot of insight into the strange, exciting, peripatetic world that international conductors inhabit.
1. Did you have a music playlist while writing, if so, what where you listening to when you were writing the story?
I listened a lot to Bach’s 6 Suites for Cello to get me in the mood. Also Roby Lakatos, the ‘devil’s fiddler’ whom I mention in my book. And a bit of Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Coldplay. All the music that Leo loved.
2. (My favorite question) If The Darling Girls would be made into a movie did you picture who would play Leo, Victoria, Maddy and Cat?
Now there’s a lovely thought! I reckon Nicole Kidman would make a great Victoria, because she’s very tall, a wonderful actress and can do haughty and austere as well as sweet and vulnerable. She’d need to dye her hair dark and put on a few pounds, but surely she’d be prepared to do that in the name of art!
I’d love to see Kate Winslet as Maddy. She’s blonde, smart and ballsy. Or maybe Claire Danes.
And I know exactly who I’d cast as Cat – my daughter Georgia Maguire, who’s a gutsy young actress with lots of attitude. But if I can’t have her, then maybe Rooney Mara, who’s very beautiful and was so brilliant as pale, troubled Lisbeth Salander in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
As for Leo, that’s tricky. He’s got to be elderly, charistmatic and still utterly gorgeous. You’ve got to fall a little in love with him, and there’s only one well-known star who springs to mind – Warren Beatty. He’s certainly got the looks, charm and gravitas and a reputation as a phenomenal lady-killer. I think he’d be perfect. Can we start filming now?!
3. On a personal note, how do you find time or balance writing while being a wife and a mother of 3?
Like any writer I have to be pretty disciplined. I tend to write in the hours when my ten-year-old’s at school, and occasionally at weekends when my husband’s around to entertain him.
Finding the hours to work isn’t so very hard, but getting the headspace I need is something else. Although my older kids are pretty independent, they still require a lot of emotional input and unless I’m fierce, I can find myself running them around or listening to their problems and suddenly it’s school pick-up time again! I’m sure any mother who writes from home finds the same thing.
4. Can you please share what your next novel would be about? Just a gist.
I’m a bit superstitious about talking about a book whilst I’m writing. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe I worry it’ll start to sound stale before it’s even published – or I’ll suddenly get writer’s block.
What I will say is it’s a psychological thriller centering around two main female characters. The story will, I hope, resonate with many women and deliver that steady drum roll of suspense that I so love in a novel.
Emma has written extensively for national newspapers and women’s magazines including the Guardian, Independent on Sunday, Red, Good Housekeeping, Woman & Home and Woman.
She read English at Cambridge University and began her career as a cub reporter on the Western Morning News in Plymouth, later becoming features editor of Woman and Family Circle.
She gets by in French and Spanish and works out – occasionally – at her local gym. After walking her youngest to school, you might also spot her jogging in Richmond Park with some friends. Slowly.
Emma lives in South West London with her husband, the political commentator Kevin Maguire, and their three children, aged 25, 20 and 10.
She’s currently working on her fourth novel.
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