Interview with Emma Wagner, Author of You. Forever.

07 Jul 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, You. Forever.?

You. Forever. is a heartwarming novel about loss and the healing power of love.

Anna and Oliver’s marriage is in trouble. They are as opposite as night and day: she is artistic; he is reserved. The one thing they share though is a common desire to have children. Unfortunately, they have been trying to conceive for years, but have been unsuccessful. To make matters worse, Oliver’s wealthy family has always been convinced that Anna is not the right match for their heir, but even more so now that she hasn’t been able to get pregnant.

The death of her former art teacher and friend, Carol, brings Anna back to the place where she spent her childhood. And back to her childhood sweetheart, Marc. Marc, with the fiery brown eyes and the tremendous desire for adventure. Marc, with whom Anna shares a dark secret.

Anna has to face her past. Did she make the right decision at the time? For whom does her heartbeat today? And what did her mother conceal from her? 

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve been devouring books of all kinds since I mastered the ABCs, whether secretly under the covers at night or during every free minute of the day. But I didn’t start writing myself until 2013, when – pregnant with my third child – I spent the summer with them at my parents’ and my grandmother’s house. Actually, during this time I wanted to record the life story of my grandmother, who suffered from dementia, in writing for my children. I bought a Dictaphone and started interviewing her. Unfortunately, her disease had progressed too far and the fact that she could no longer remember so many things made my grandmother unhappy and confused. I, therefore, abandoned the project. But now that I already had my laptop with me, I began instead to weave my experiences and those of my fellow students from my student days into a witty and sparkling love story.

It really grabbed me. I started typing and didn’t really stop until three weeks later. To the surprise of my family and friends – not to mention myself – I had the manuscript for my first book in hand. The result of this acute writing attack became my debut novel in 2014 and an absolute surprise success, even becoming a Kindle bestseller in 2015.

Now there was no stopping me, one novel followed the next. I really don’t lack ideas, but unfortunately, I don’t have enough time. After all, I have a fantastic family, which is the most important thing in the world to me. Nevertheless, I have now given birth to 20 book babies. 

Which book from your childhood or teenage years has stuck with you as an adult?

Countless, since even then the library of my hometown was my second home. But I was particularly impressed by ‘Sara the Little Princess’, because the protagonist uses her imagination to create her own world and overcome the worst and most hopeless moments in her life.  She also brightens the lives of her friends with her gift. Perhaps this was the starting signal for my imagination to run wild as a writer.

Pretend you qualified for the Olympics this year. What sport would you compete in?

I think I would participate as a marathon runner. Being successful as a writer as the mother of three still-young children requires an incredible amount of discipline, perseverance and stamina. 

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

As a writer, I can make the world as I like it. The blank page offers the ultimate freedom. The only limits are those of my imagination. And that, fortunately, is endless. Most importantly, I can finally write the stories I’ve always wanted to read. 

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me starts at six in the morning with getting my three children ready for school. Once they are all on their way to school, it’s on to writing. Since my youngest child is only in first grade, he leaves the house much later and gets home as early as noon. So I have very little time to work undisturbed, and it has to be used intensively before cooking dinner. The afternoon and evening belong to my family and there is always a lot of action. Not only with homework, but also because all three of them play sports and instruments. Wherever it can be done, I still try to find some time to work during the day as well. For example, when I’m waiting outside the basketball hall or the music school until practice or class is over.

The days with three kids are long and exhausting and most of the time I could fall into bed from fatigue at the same time as they do at night. Still, I try to hang in there and work until about midnight.

Sometimes this works, sometimes not. In the latter case, I have to scoop up working time on the weekend or take a night shift now and then.

What scene from You. Forever. was your favorite to write?

Oh, that’s hard. There are so many. For example, I love all the scenes where Anna, as a child, creates her own world using her imagination. Also the scenes where Oliver shows his love not only with words, but with his actions.

But my absolute favorite scene to write is probably the wonderful and heartfelt ending of the novel. 

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

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” 

Emma Wagner is the author of the new book You. Forever.

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rebecca