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August 15, 2016 / peoplesbookprize

H H Edmonds Cinema Lumière – TPBP Summer Collection 2016

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In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016 we caught up with author H H Edmond to talk about her novel

Cinema Lumière

 

Where did the idea for Cinema Lumière come from?

The idea came from a couple of sources – one of which was a non-fiction book called Testimony of Light, which tells the true story of two friends, Helen and Frances. When Frances was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she promised Helen that after she died she would try to send her a message, telling her what’s going on. About a month after her friend’s death, Helen felt Frances’s mind ‘impinging’ on her own, giving her information on what the ‘life beyond’ was like. The description included a detailed account of being shown a life review or in her words a ‘kaleidoscopic series of pictures representing the whole cycle of her years on earth’.

   I couldn’t get this idea of a film of your life out of my mind and slowly the plot started to form: a young woman, Hannah, who has messed up pretty spectacularly but who is then shown a film of her life to nudge her back on track.

RedDoor Publishing publish a variety of brilliant authors, what is it like to be in the company of talented writers?

It’s a real privilege to be published alongside the other RedDoor writers, a number of whom are now being nominated for prizes and having the rights to their books sold abroad. I tried for several years to get Cinema Lumière (and a second novel) published traditionally (with the help of a big agent), but almost every publisher said the same thing: ‘We love the story but we wouldn’t know where to place it because it doesn’t fall into an obvious category’ (chic lit/magical realism/ crime fiction etc). I’m so grateful to RedDoor for taking me on and doing such a great job of championing the book.

Have you got a message for your readers?

I really hope they enjoy the book, that it will make them chuckle and that maybe it will give them a little something to chew over. If any of them are also writers – I’d repeat that ancient but true cliché – never give up.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I have just finished my second novel so while I’m doing the research for the next one, I’ll be  writing a weekly blog for the Huffington Post (starting Friday 2nd Sept) called Confessions of a Volunteer Virgin. It’s based on my experiences working as a volunteer for a refugee charity. The idea was triggered by an extraordinary woman called Liz Clegg who works in the Calais camp. In one day she’s likely to put out fires, break up knife fights, comfort dozens of unaccompanied minors who know her as ‘Mum’ as well as lobby various MPs and local authorities to speed up the process of allowing these children to apply for asylum into the UK. When I compare what she achieves in 8 hours versus what I ‘achieve’ (basically sit at a desk, shuffle some words around and work my way through a variety of nut-based snacks), it’s both humbling and funny, depending on what lens you look at life through.

Any suggestions to support libraries?

I love my local library in Ladbroke Grove, West London. Not only do they stock some brilliant books (silly not to) and DVDs (a snip at just £2) but they also give the local community access to computers, free internet, careers information, newspapers and reference materials. It’s easy to take for granted that everyone knows how to use a computer, which is definitely not the case, particularly for the elderly and for refugees.

Several writer friends have given their book launches and/or book readings there, which is another cunning way to utilise the space. I’d love to see the library put on more events in the late afternoons, such as inviting inspirational local entrepreneurs and volunteers to talk about how they are making a difference in the community.

 

Website/ Blog: hattieholdenedmonds.com

Facebook: hattieholdenedmonds/

Twitter: @hattiehedmonds

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