Interview with Emma Lombard, Author of Discerning Grace

13 Apr 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, Discerning Grace?

I hope my readers have just as much fun reading about Grace’s adventures as I did writing them. I never realized how much of a penchant I had for feisty female leads in historical fiction until I started writing my own. The first ever strong fictional female who made an impact on me was Centaine de Thiry (The Burning Shore — Wilbur Smith). She was so strong and resilient and SMART! No matter what the world threw at her, she handled it with poise and passion. I’m no wilting wallflower myself so it was good fun sharing some of my character traits with Grace. She’s actually MUCH braver than me, and of course, she can live on a ship no problem, where as I get queasy the minute I step onto the dock.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Reading the epic historical adventures by Wilbur Smith as an early teen started the ball rolling for me. Then when my grandmother told me about my 3x great grandmother who eloped with an English sea captain and lived aboard his ship, I just knew I wanted to write a story like that one day — and so the idea for Discerning Grace was born.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The Power of One — Bryce Courtenay (first book to ever make me cry — and I mean sob!)

The Burning Shore — Wilbur Smith (my favorite go-to re-read)

Outlander — Diana Gabaldon (I adore the book series, audiobooks and TV series!)

Shantaram — Gregory David Roberts (I bought it purely because it was the size of a doorstop, but I fell in love with the epic tale)

The Magic Faraway Tree — Enid Blyton (still just as magical when I read it to my own children 25 years later)

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

If I remembered to stop gushing long enough to let my guest speaker get a word in … Enid Blyton. I’d ask her whether The Famous Five adventures were a figment of her imagination or based on childhood experiences, and whether she had a dog like Timmy when she was growing up. Who wouldn’t want a dog like Timmy?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

As a historical fiction author, I like researching events and people of the times and then re-imagining how my characters would react to those circumstances given their personalities. I incorporated some crazy characters I came across in my research into my story but my editor and beta readers didn’t think they were plausible. LOL!  Just goes to show that sometimes life can be stranger than fiction.

What is a typical day like for you?

Being in Australia, and in complete opposite timezones to much of the world, I wake between 5 and 6am and hop onto social media so that I can interact in real time before everyone goes to bed. After the kids have left for school, it’s good that my working day is not overly interrupted by the lure of social media. I only go onto social media if I’m taking a break from writing (or updating my website, blog, newsletter, or one of the other million things an author does besides writing novels). Because of my early starts, I’m usually ready to wrap up by about 4pm. Then I hop on social media again for a little while just as the world is waking up. You could say my day is like a social media sandwich!

What scene from Discerning Grace was your favorite to write?

Ooo, I can’t say too much for fear of spoiling it for readers. But let’s just say it was the poignant death scene of one of my absolutely favorite characters. It needed to happen plot wise, but I shed plenty of tears over it. And based on the number of messages I receive from readers that just say, “NOOOOOOOO!” I guess there’s plenty of tears happening on their part too. (Am I an evil author if this makes me chuckle?) Sorry, dear readers.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity — Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman philosopher. Or as we say in Aus: you gotta be in it to win it!

Emma Lombard is the author of the new book Discerning Grace

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