Interview with Emily Cavanagh, Author of The Bloom Girls
We’re talking today with Emily Cavanagh, Author of The Bloom Girls, a women’s fiction novel releasing on March 14!
Please describe what the story is about.
When the news of their father’s death reaches them, sisters Cal, Violet, and Suzy Bloom have to set aside their own personal crises, and their differences. Arriving in Maine, the Bloom sisters can’t help but revisit the past, confronting the allegations against their father that shattered their family nearly twenty years earlier. As they try to reconcile different versions of their childhood and search for common ground, they’re forced to look at their father’s life—and their own lives—with new eyes, or risk losing all they hold dear.
Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.
“When Suzy Bloom first heard about her father’s death, she was making a cheese soufflé. In the stainless-steel test kitchen of the FoodArt offices, Suzy cracked egg after egg, straining the whites into one bowl and the sunny-yellow yolks into another.”
What do you want people to know about your book?
It’s a story about how a scandal impacts a family and what happens when members of the family each understand the events differently.
What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?
I learned how much I enjoy writing from the perspective of characters I find a little unlikeable. Violet isn’t necessarily someone I’d be friends with, but she was a really fun character to write.
What was your timeline from drafting to publication?
The novel took about a year and half to write. I finished it sometime around the spring of 2015 and signed with my agent, Marlene Stringer, in November 2015. I signed a two-book contract with Lake Union in June of 2016.
What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?
My favorite part is writing the first draft of a novel. During that stage, I still don’t know who the characters are or where the plot will go. Each time I sit down to write, I’m surprised by what happens.
Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?
During graduate school I wrote a collection of short stories about the three sisters who narrate THE BLOOM GIRLS. The characters stuck with me and over ten years later, I wanted to write a novel that takes place years after a family is dismantled. Cal, Violet, and Suzy Bloom seemed like the best characters to tell the story.
When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?
On the weekends I go for walks with my dog, and I tend to do my writing thinking during this time. On the rare occasions when I find myself on a long drive by myself, I’ll think about my work in progress. Because I do my best thinking through writing, I’ll often write my way through a problematic section in a novel, sort of “talking out loud” as I type.
Share something people may be surprised to know about you?
I wrote three novels and tried to get them all published before writing THE BLOOM GIRLS and signing with my agent. The journey to publication can be a long one.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?
Send out query letters. Keep writing. Don’t be afraid of rejection.
I’m working on two books right now—one that’s a thriller that takes place on a fictional island very similar to Martha’s Vineyard (where I live) and another about four college friends who come together for a disastrous long weekend twenty years after graduation.
Which character do you relate to most?
There’s a little of me in each of the sisters. Cal’s life circumstances are the most like my own. Like Cal I’m the oldest of three, I have two young daughters, and I’ve struggled to balance work and family life. Cal is definitely more type-A than I am, but on my worst days, we’re probably pretty similar. Suzy is a people pleaser, which I can relate to. She doesn’t like confrontation and works hard to keep the peace. Violet and I aren’t alike in terms of personality, but we’re both writers and in relationships with men who are immigrants, though Luka is from the Czech Republic and my husband is from Ireland. Hopefully my own siblings don’t get as irritated with me as Suzy and Cal do with Violet!
From LIBRARY JOURNAL: “Cavanagh hits all the right notes with her characters. They are complicated and messy, one and all, which makes this an emotional and satisfying read. Those drawn to Anne Tyler and Elizabeth Berg will love this one.”—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI
Emily Cavanagh – THE BLOOM GIRLS
A tender, heartfelt story of three sisters, their late father’s painful past, and the power of forgiveness.