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Author Interview: Emily Waters Chats about Two is a Pattern

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Get ready to learn more about the book Two is a Pattern in this discussion with sapphic author Emily Waters.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Emily Waters about Two is a Pattern, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Found Family category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Two is a Pattern?

As someone who writes a lot of romance, I wanted to include a blend of another genre. Two is a Pattern is half suspense, half romance, and was so exciting to write. I also wanted to write something more historical and it was a blast to go back to the 90s.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Annie is definitely the most like me and someone I loved to write. I also worked for the federal government in my mid-twenties and was slightly disillusioned by the country I loved. I also really related to her ability to be great at her job, confident when she needed to be, but an absolute hot mess in her personal life.

What part of Two is a Pattern was the most fun to write?

Definitely the research about the time period was the most fun to write. While I was alive in the 90s, I was a child, so somethings I remembered (like my eternal love for Paula Abdul), but some things required extra research, like the type of pager Annie would carry, cold war history, and I read up on the Rodney King riots as well as those two things were kind of the main historical events the story centered around.

What is your favorite line from your book?

My favorite line, or section, really is when Helen says something along the line of not wanting to leave Annie to the wolves, and Annie realizes that she’s done enough bad things that she’s the wolf. The line is: Helen wouldn’t be leaving her to the wolves. Annie was the wolf.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I do best under pressure so I actually write the most efficiently when I’m not supposed to be writing. At work, or when I’m supposed to be doing something else, or if I’m late to something. I don’t know that it’s the best way to be, but I am what I am. I have learned to be better focused, though, and to set days aside just to write with the door closed. I like a good playlist and a Diet Coke and then I’m good to go.

Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?

I have two dogs who detest closed doors, so trying to shut the office door to work results only in little paws scratching at the door. My dog Sophie is content to sleep on a pillow or in her bed at my feet but my dog Daniel wants to be in my lap. They are eleven year old schnoodle siblings and they come first and they know it.

What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

You end up spending so much time with your characters that you become them and they become you to some extent. The whole perspective of Two is a Pattern comes from Annie so we really get to know her. We know why she’s scared, we know why she runs, we know why she resists Helen and what, exactly, she’s afraid of. But some of Annie comes from me, like her strained relationship with her mother and her habit of saying something biting or sassy before thinking. I like to think about what they’d wear, how they’d drive, what music they listen to. Do they have a good sense of direction? What do they like to eat? That sort of thing.

Have you ever cried when writing an emotional scene?

I usually don’t cry when I write it, but sometimes I will cry or laugh or react emotionally when reading it back later. I think when writing, you’re just too deep in it, but when some time has passed, I approach the story more like a reader and can more easily get lost in what’s happening.

What books did you grow up reading?

The most important books to me as a young reader were the Madeline L’Engle Time quartet (A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door were my favorite), Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. L’Engle said “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children. A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” I’ve never heard more solid writing advice than that.

What books have you read more than once in your life?

I’ve read The Hours by Michael Cunningham several times. I think Holes by Louis Sachar is the perfect book. I’ve read Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman over and over again. The Giver by Lois Lowry, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and obviously Harriet the Spy are all rereads for me.

Meet Emily Waters

Emily Waters is a fiction writer. Her Goldie Award winning debut novel, Honey in the Marrow, was released by Ylva Publishing and her newest novel, Two is a Pattern, is out now. Besides writing, Emily is a full time librarian. She holds a BA in English Literature from Chapman University and earned a Masters of Library Science at Indiana University. Emily has worked in public libraries for the last ten years.

Visit Emily’s Website

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