Today is the release of Owner of a Lonely Heart by Eva Carter and this story sounds emotional, but heartwarming at the same time. I’m a big fan of characters that find each other in moments of change and must figure out if they’re brave enough to start a life together.
I had the honor of sending some interview questions to Eva Carter and want to share that with you today. So keep on reading to find out more about Owner of a Lonely Heart and more about the author.
From the author of How to Save a Life comes a heartfelt story of two people finding the courage to choose love, no matter how hard it may be.
Gemma thought she had her future all mapped out. She had a wonderful husband, a cute apartment, and plans to start a family. But just months after their wedding, illness took her husband from her. And now she finds herself trying to think up new dreams, when all she really wants are her old ones back.
Across town, Dan’s also rethinking his life. He’s about to meet his twelve-year-old daughter, Casey, for the very first time. She’s tracked him down because she needs a place to stay for the summer while she receives treatment for a brain tumor at the city hospital, and Dan is terrified he won’t be up to the task of taking care of her; after all, he’s structured his entire life so that no one has to rely on him.
But when fate (with the help of Gemma’s scruffy terrier, Bear) brings these three strangers together one scorching July morning, there’s an instant connection among them. And it soon becomes clear that this summer could change everything–if only they’ll let it.
Will Gemma, Dan, and Casey be brave enough to let love in and build a new life together? Or will they let fear keep everything they’ve ever wanted just out of reach?
What inspired you to write Owner of a Lonely Heart?
My main inspiration came from our lovely 8-year-old dog, who we’ve taken into our local hospital. She has an amazing nature, always making patients and staff feel better, somehow knowing whether they need her to be playful or to settle down next to them so they can give her a gentle stroke. That intuition and ability to read and comfort people even in their darkest moments made me want to write a novel where three lonely people come together at their lowest point and have to choose whether to stay safe and isolated, or take a risk and make a connection. In tribute to our dog, I’ve written a naughty but adorable border terrier who helps to bring the characters together to begin with. Owner of a Lonely Heart isn’t a ‘dog book’, but it is about loyalty and the joy of trying your best to live in the present.
What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
I really love the editing part of the process, even though I get frustrated with myself that even after writing for a long time now, I still get things wrong in the first draft. That teamwork side of things is a real joy after I’ve spent many months wrestling with characters and scenarios in my own head. I never understand writers who say they don’t like to change much, because when you have brilliant editors who also want the book and the story to be as powerful as possible, why would you ignore their feedback and questions?
If you were a character in Owner of a Lonely Heart, what kind of character would you be?
There is a little bit of me in all the characters that I write. So like Dan, I’ve moved house a lot and found it challenging to find a place to call home. Like Casey, I was unwell as a child and know how that can isolate you from your peers and make you grow up quickly, even when you don’t want to! And my heroine Gemma reminds me of my best friends – she’s loyal, and funny, and kind, but doesn’t always follow advice.
What is your favorite quote from Owner of a Lonely Heart?
In the book, one of my characters writes a guide for the child they hope to have through IVF: as part of my research I spoke to a fertility counselor and she said she suggests to her clients that they create a book for their future children to explain how they came into the world. And this my favorite part from that book within a book, which is called The Amazing Book of Us:
One last rule for life: the planet keeps moving – don’t ever stop
Until I got ill, I didn’t think much about time. Thirty-two won’t sound young to you right now, but I hadn’t done many of the things I dreamed of: trekking in a forest, watching tennis at Wimbledon, learning Italian and, most of all, growing old with Mummy while we watched our children grow up. But I will never regret the time I wasted driving a tractor with Dad or perfecting my javelin throw,
even though I’ve never done either since. Mummy doesn’t regret dyeing her hair violet or learning to sail, even though it made her seasick. The only things I’d ever change would be the days I sulked because someone beat my javelin record, or I stayed inside instead of helping Dad, because I said it was too wet to plough. The planet never stops turning, but we only have a short time here. So
use every minute to enjoy all the wonders this world has to offer, from trips to the zoo, to surfing the waves when it’s icy; from quiet hugs with Mum, to trying the zany ideas you have last thing at night, even if they seem bonkers by morning.
What do you hope readers take away after reading this book?
I’d love it if readers feel uplifted and more hopeful about recovering and coming back stronger after difficult life events – my three characters have faced huge struggles along the way, but they’ve found each other, and learned to have fun and live for the day.
Could you give us 5 random facts about Owner of a Lonely Heart (think the story, writing, publishing, anything that comes to mind)?
- The book is set in the fabulous city of Bristol, in the west of England, where I had my first job working for the BBC in the 1990s – you can see the lovely harborside and multi-colored houses on the cover. I went back to research the book and found it had hardly changed at all!
- One of my characters talks about love being the biggest puzzle in the world, so I created a central puzzle in the novel. Making sure it works drove me – and my editors in the US and the UK – a little crazy along the way. But it makes me smile whenever I think of it now.
- I spoke to young people who’ve undergone the same proton beam therapy as Casey as part of my research, and they all mentioned the ‘beads of courage’ they’re given to recognize the treatments they’ve had. And just lately a woman contacted me on Instagram who makes those gorgeous glass beads, she was so excited to know what a difference they make.
- Owner of a Lonely Heart is dedicated to my father, Michael, who became very unwell while I was writing it, and died before it was published. It was only towards the end of the editing that I realized how much it’s a book about the role fathers play in our lives. Sometimes as authors we don’t see the most obvious things until we’ve finished!
- To make my acknowledgements more fun, I asked friends and publishing people I wanted to thank to tell me the names of their cats, dogs and hamsters, and used those instead! So woofs and whoops to Archimedes, Betsy, Blossom, Bluebell, Charlie, Colin, Dinx, Freya, George, Gideon, Hobnob, Jet, Lily, Liquorice, Mabel, Meg, Mina, Pabu, Poppie, Rory, Sheila, Tag and Thor.
Owner of a Lonely Heart sounds like an amazing book. It’s hard to know if you would choose safety or risk getting hurt again for something new if you were in the characters’ position. This story sounds amazing! A big thank you to Eva Carter for taking time to answer my questions!