1--What is the title of your latest release?
THE FORGOTTEN COTTAGE
2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?
In the dusty corners of an abandoned English cottage, Audrey discovers there’s more to her beloved grandmother’s life than she ever imagined. Told with the alternating point-of-view of Audrey in 2014, and her great-grandmother, Emilie, during the First World War, this family saga celebrates the courage of underestimated women.
3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?
North Yorkshire is my very favorite place in England. While much of the book moves beyond the county, and England itself, Audrey’s story remains in a small village that represents much of what I love about the area.
4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?
I think Audrey and I would get along well, but Emilie is much more intelligent and well-read than me. I have no doubt she’d be very bored with the conversation!
5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?
Emilie is inquisitive, foolhardy, and empathetic.
6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?
What a ploughman’s lunch is.
7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?
I’d love to wait until the end, but unfortunately, I’m not a great planner, so I usually need to back track a bit to avoid wasting too much time and energy.
8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?
Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme. I am a simple woman.
9--Describe your writing space/office!
My office space is a damp converted garage, with hard wood paneling, and a big window to my backyard. I don’t actually get any writing done in there, however, because my dog doesn’t allow me to sit at the desk. (It faces the window and takes my attention off of her).
10--Who is an author you admire?
I’m a little obsessed with Heather O’Neill. Her characters, particularly the women, are so complex, and weird, and unapologetically themselves. She writes with such simplicity yet is able to evoke beauty in even the grittiest corners of a setting.
11--Is there a book that changed your life?
The Seas by Samantha Hunt. I read it in a day, and I’ll never be the same.
12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.
I had just left the office in Midtown Manhattan and was walking to go get my haircut nearby. When I finished at the hairdresser, I was so excited I walked out with their towel still draped over my shoulders. I didn’t realize until I got home.
13--What’s your favorite genre to read?
It depends on my mood! I have read and enjoyed every genre, but I definitely admire a more literary writing style (especially if there’s a romance wedged in).
14--What’s your favorite movie?
15--What is your favorite season?
Season 27 of Survivor. Kidding! It’s Autumn.
16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?
I’m not a big birthday person to be honest! It’s usually just me, a cake, and a bottle of prosecco.
17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?
Ms. Marvel on Disney+ is so fantastic. I’ve been a fan of the comics and Kamala Khan since her debut, and I’m so ecstatic to see her join the MCU. Iman Vellani is an absolute star, and the style of the show is so fresh and a joy to watch.
18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
I could eat Indian food every day of the week.
19--What do you do when you have free time?
I’m a big enjoyer and advocate of doing NOTHING, but when I want to do something, I like to go hiking with my dog.
20--What can readers expect from you next?
A great deal of anxiety! And maybe some more historical fiction.
England, 2019: Audrey Collins knows only two things about her beloved grandmother's past: She was born into nobility and she immigrated to America at seventeen years old. So when Audrey inherits her gran's home in North Yorkshire, she arrives expecting a sprawling country estate fit for lords and ladies. Instead, she finds an abandoned stone cottage perfectly preserved as Gran left it when she fled in 1941—ration book and all—and begins to uncover what secrets her family has been keeping.
France, 1915: Lady Emilie Dawes is working as a nurse on the Western Front, grateful to have escaped the restraints of her restrictive, privileged home life. But the independence she fought hard to earn is suddenly jeopardized when a familiar man shows up in one of her hospital beds. Facing him means facing her past, and the decisions she had made in fear. As the war rages around her, Emilie realizes she cannot continue running from who she is until she decides who she truly wants to be.
Over a hundred years apart, Audrey and Emilie each struggle to find purpose, love, and a place to call home in this enchanting family saga celebrating the courage of underestimated women—and the power a secret can hold across generations.
Fiction | Historical [Berkley, On Sale: August 9, 2022, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593201312 / eISBN: 9780593201312]
Courtney Ellis began writing at a young age and developed an interest in history from her grandfather's stories of World War II. After obtaining her BA in English and creative writing, she went on to pursue a career in publishing. She lives in New York.
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