THE LOST PEARL is part contemporary, part historical with evocative settings of Pearl Harbour in World War Two to modern day Sydney. Emily’s research was meticulous. my favourite thing about this story was how well Emily transported me to her scenes. The world was left behind as I dived into Catherine’s, it was an all-consuming read . I also loved the strong feminist message in the face of adversity. I’m not alone either, THE LOST PEARL has sold like hotcakes, people can’t enough of it! Congratulations lovely Emily – your hard work has paid off in this beautiful story.
A sweeping family saga of long lost love, for readers of Fiona McIntosh and Mary-Anne O'Connor.
From Pearl Harbor to the shores of Sydney, a family secret that spans generations could unite a family – or destroy it.
Honolulu, Hawaii 1941. On the evening of her sixteenth birthday party, Catherine McGarrie wants nothing more than for the night to be over, even though the opulence of the ballroom befits the daughter of a US Navy Rear Admiral. Then she meets Charlie, a navy officer from the other side of the tracks, a man her parents would never approve of. As rumours of war threaten their tropical paradise, Catherine and Charlie fall in love. But the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 changes their lives forever.
Seventy–five years later, addled by age and painkillers, Catherine tells her granddaughter Kit her story and reveals the tale of a long–lost treasure. Can Kit uncover the secret and reunite her family? Or will the truth tear them apart?
Emily wrote her first story at eight and was horrified when she was made to read it out aloud at her school assembly. She dabbled with poetry before returning to writing novels, albeit many years later. Emily lives in Sydney with her two girls and husband. She loves coffee and is forever frequenting her local coffee haunts. She has an unnatural obsession with needing to be close to the ocean, but is terrified of deep water.
You can email her at email@example.com, visit her website www.emilymaddenauthor.com or connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/emilymaddenauthor or Twitter @emaddenauthor.
An interview with Emily Madden:
Can you tell us briefly about your book?
The Lost Pearl is a dual time line set in 1941 Honolulu in the lead up to the Pearl Harbor Attack and present day Sydney Honolulu. It’s a story about a family secret that has been buried for 75 years and now, in the present, the secret slowly unravels. As the tagline says – it can either bring them together or tear them apart.
Which Hollywood stars would you like to see play the lead roles in the movie version of your book?
Oh, this is a fun question! When I was in the planning stages, I envisaged Kitty (Catherine) to be Kate Benckinsale (of Pearl Harbor fame) because she embodied all I wanted for Kit. For Charlie it has to be Jesse Williams best known for his role as Dr Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy.
(I actually think you look like you could be sisters with Kate Beckinsale, Emily! – Tess.)
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I’ve always loved the idea of how secrets from the past, particularly family secrets are uncovered, often accidently. I can’t recall the exact moment I had the idea – but I do remember that it needed to be something to do with a long forgotten, buried secret.
Of course, the more the idea developed the clearer it became that I needed to set the story in Hawaii, and not just because I wanted to do a research trip to Hawaii. I mean the prospect of sitting by a pool for research is terrible, right? In all seriousness, it was the historical element of the story that came to me first and then the contemporary. I wanted to ensure that both story lines were compelling, even though Catherine/Kitty’s story is the driving force – Kit’s had her own journey too.
How did you go about researching the settings and scenarios in your book?
When I started the research process for The Lost Pearl, the Internet and books were essentially the starting point. What I found most helpful was not only a trip to Hawaii (I worked most of the time!), but spending a day with a local tour guide that specialised in 1940’s Honolulu.
My guide, Jean uncovered gems that may otherwise have been missed. Sometimes it’s not until you immerse yourself in the place you’re writing about that you’re able to fully see the whole picture. Merely reading about it doesn’t do it justice.
So much is written about Pearl Harbor and certainly when you visit the memorials including the USS Arizona where many of its crew still lay entombed, you can almost feel the ghosts of the past wrap around you. But the part that fascinated me about my time with Jean were the day to day details about life in the 1940. How movies at the Princess Theatre cost a dime, or how bus and trains from Pearl Harbor to Hotel Street (the red light district) were 10c, and taxis not that much more.
Bars and Brothels on Hotel Street were anchored by the YMCA. On the bottom end of the street, there were the trains and the theatres on side streets. When I discovered that thousands of military personnel would frequent the area, I knew I had to weave it into my story, even though none of my previous visits to Hawaii or my initial research had uncovered it.
Where is your favourite place to write?
My café! It helps that they have amazing coffee, but I also write a lot on my couch. Not the BEST method but it’s the most comfortable!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m editing my 2019 book Heart of the Cross. It’s about three generations of women living in Kings Cross at different times. We begin with the bohemian 1950’s and 1960’s then move to the crime riddled 1980’s before ending up in present day and a more gentrified Kings Cross.
Do you write with a plan or do you see where the story takes you?
I had a detailed outline that I used as a roadmap – that’s not to say I don’t stray from it from time to time, but it’s certainly handy to have. Some dual time line writers write one part of the story and then the other, I write the whole story in one go – I love moving from one time period to the other.
Which books have made an impact on you and stayed with you long after you read them?
The first book that had a profound effect on me was Charlotte’s Web. A few years later it was Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park. More recently, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart left me speechless and with a book hangover for days.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Other Wife by Michael Robotham. Only halfway through, but SO good.
Do you have a day job? What is it?
Yes – I work for Big W in their Customer Insights Team. Basically it’s a research analyst role, a little different from writing!
What is your all time favourite movie?
It’s a tie between The Breakfast Club and Runaway Bride. Love them both! But then again there’s also Bridget Jones’ Diary and Love Actually... I am a movie tragic, it’s just too hard!