Hello Readers! Today I’m pleased to welcome E. L. Croucher for an interview on Books Teacup and Review. Emi is an indie writer who has written The Butterfly on Fire and her next upcoming book is Horned Winged Blessed, an LGBTQ dystopian novel, set a few years from now in a post-apocalyptic world. Check out more about the book and author in this post.
Horned Winged Blessed by E.L. Croucher
Publication Date: 29th November 2019 (Pre-release as of 10th Nov)
Genre: LGBTQ / Dystopian Fiction
Editor: Jake Ratcliff
Cover Artist: Dawn M Larder
Follow Joan on her adventure of discovery, as she learns the hard way that her post-apocalyptic utopia isn’t always full of rainbows and Merlot.
Yes, she lives on the nicer side of the settlement, as the daughter of the Mother Founder. But after a life-threatening attack on her home, she soon realises that many out there are against the Silver Party regime.
Horned Winged Blessed is the story of one girl fighting against a tyrannous government, elected to power amidst the unending chaos of World War III. Heavily enriched in their pagan values, the Silver Party are to thank for pulling Broken Britain up from the brink of a depression, but at what cost?
Will Joan decide to take down the Silver Party from the inside…
…or will she go on to fight alongside the rebel faction that allures her so intensely?
“He said that you represent them… the enemy. There’s something about you, and I see it too.” She has no idea how right she is in this exact moment. It’s almost frightening.
“Maybe I don’t want all that though, did anyone ever consider that?”
“We don’t always get to choose what we stand for, Luna. I didn’t. I’m here, fighting this fight because I have to be.”
“You have to be?” I’m confused. What is she saying? “For Matthew?”
“No, not him. He means the world to me, that’s no secret. But no. Not him. Luna, look at me.” I submit and do as she says. We put our wine glasses to the side. “I didn’t go through what I did in the previous world to live as a stupid, suppressed ‘Blessed one’. No way. And neither did any of my other sisters. Do you understand me? I’m a woman. Not a trans woman. Not anything else. A woman. The minute I’m defined as a subcategory is the minute my identity stops being up to me. I haven’t fought to become who I am – and was always meant to be – just to have it dictated to me by a bunch of crazies.”
Suddenly she stands up, and walks over to my kitchen surface. One drawer after another, she searches for something. The wine is on the table, so it can’t be that. Then, she pauses when she finds whatever it is she’s looking for. A small dagger, given to me by a guy I could’ve fallen for, once upon a time. It stands for everything she stands for. For me, it’s a symbol of what could’ve been. A night’s warmth. A fleeting memory.
E L Croucher is a young author, living in London. She started writing over two years, with her first novel The Butterfly on Fire, which she published on Amazon. Alongside her career as a writer, she works as a Japanese translator and interpreter for a well-known Japanese gaming company, after studying Japanese at university and living in Tokyo, Japan.
Her latest novel, Horned Winged Blessed is an ironic look into a world in which gender roles are swapped, and minorities are forced into labels that they did not choose. With a mix of feminist views and a pro-LGBTQ+ stance, E L Croucher writes to further her dream of a world free from prejudice, hate-crimes and bullying.
Follow her story on her website or find her on social media:
Website | Facebook | Instagram
ELCroucher.com | Emi Louise Croucher| @emi13230
Can you tell readers little about your book, Horned Winged Blessed? What they can expect from the book?
The world is built around a post-apocalyptic Broken Britain, and sees an all-female, all-wiccan government in power. The story follows the protagonist Joan, who is daughter to the leader of the above government, as she realises that the world her mother has built isn’t always rainbows and Merlot. There is a serious issue in how gender is “labelled” against the people’s will, and Joan is faced with the choice of either joining the rebels that plot against her mother’s government, or trying and take it down from the inside.
Horned Winged Blessed is my attempt at spinning the current patriarchal society on its head, as well as bringing to light the oppression that various minorities in our society goes through every day.
You can expect a dark, thought-provoking and empowering read, as you start to pick away at the paintwork of the world in Horned Winged Blessed.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I wanted to start in the realm of a dystopian-style gender swap, to bring an ironic light on what we are currently seeing in society today. The pay gap, abortion rights, the murder of transgender women of colour… there are so many issues that we cannot ignore. So I started by wanting to focus on a dystopian world that mirrors ours. That makes it a lot easier to show the successes and flaws within it.
What inspired you for dystopian setting of Horned Winged Blessed?
I knew I wanted to set Horned Winged Blessed around ten years from now, based on the age of my main characters. From there, I worked backwards until the present day and came up with a plausible chain of events until things get really dark, I.e. Brexit, the next election, nuclear threats. Eventually, without giving too much away, something triggers World War III in the novel. Luckily for the protagonist (and probably the reader!) the novel doesn’t started until WWIII is coming to an end and the government in charge is already paving the way to a new world…
What type of characters do you love and hate to write? What is your favorite quality in protagonists? Does anyone in real life inspired you to write them?
In Horned Winged Blessed, I really liked playing with the age of my characters. My generation have grown to be the middle-aged generation in the novel and I loved writing the characters in that way. That was exciting for me as a millennial. The protagonist, however, is of course a slightly younger generation, so writing her was a lot tougher. Would they speak differently? Would they think about the world differently? My generation has never known war, but for Joan’s generation it is all they know. Those elements were a challenge at times.
As far as real-life inspiration goes, there are of course people that I tend to channel when writing. The love interest in the novel was based on my boyfriend (at the time… we broke up three weeks ago!). However, as above, it’s a lot harder to base the characters on anyone from my real life as no-one I know has gone through a World War that they saw through their friend’s Instagram stories!
What was the most interesting aspect of writing Horned Winged Blessed?
The main theme is the daughter vs. mother, “my-generation-knows-best” divide. It was extremely interesting to write as a daughter that loathes her mother so intensely, when I am so close with mine. In fact, people may think that I based the Mother Founder on my mother, but they couldn’t be further from the truth! I actually based it on me, and everything I don’t want to be as a mum.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
I went down the self-published route, purely because I’m impatient and love having something to do. Marketing my own novel, creating a buzz and hosting a huge launch party are all things I wanted to do. I started writing this novel a year ago, finishing the first draft in around 7 months. It’s been ripped apart and edited since then. Last weekend I posted in on Amazon, and I ordered the hard copies for my launch party tonight. It’s all finally happening!
What are your most favorite and least favorite thing about being an author?
My favorite part about being an author is actually sitting down and writing, but unfortunately that is a shockingly small percentage of what I have found that being an author entails. My fondest memory was jetting off to Peterborough to a small hotel by the side of a river, all on my own. I just wrote and ate for an entire week. It was heaven. However, I of course love the organisation needed in self-publishing a novel. The ultimate reward is when people tell you that they laughed or cried whilst reading my book. It’s the most motivating feeling in the world.
My least favorite part has to be how it’s morphed what and how I read. I can’t just pick up a book and enjoy it now. It becomes research. Research becomes an effort. I start to think to myself “well if you have time to read that, why don’t you also read this”, “oh, that’s a good idea, jot that down”. The worst one is without a doubt “oh, why can’t I write like that!” Once Horned Winged Blessed is truly finished, I can’t wait to read for fun again!
Do you have any writing rituals?
It starts from the night before. I shower, pack my bag in advance and set out my clothes on my counter. Then, I sleep as early as I can. When the morning arrives – often on the weekend – I’m up and getting ready to go out within seconds.
I walk down my road, no further than a couple of streets away to the cutest little independent coffee shop in town. Headphones in, coffee steaming to my left and laptop out.
What is the next project you’re working on?
I wish I had a say in this, but my family have personally asked me to put anything else on hold for a while, so that I can enjoy Christmas with them. How cute!
In the new year I plan to re-write my first novel. It’s going to be a big task, but I’ve developed so much as a writer, than I really want to rework what I did when I first started in this industry. It will take a lot of time and energy, but unlike with Horned Winged Blessed I won’t tell a single soul about it until it’s done!
Can you describe Horned Winged Blessed in five words?
Relevant. Unapologetic. Dark. Empowering. Enlightening.
And the last one, top 3 tips for aspiring authors.
- Putting pressure on yourself to write does nothing. Like anything, we don’t want to do what we don’t want to do. Let it flow naturally.
- Writer’s block is a myth – it just takes dedications, focus and motivation. When you’re not in the mood, don’t force it and move past that feeling. I found drawing instead of writing helped!
- Plan. Plan. Plan. Spend 40% coming up with the world, the story and the characters. Then the other 60% spent actually writing the novel is a breeze.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
What do you think about the book and interview? Have you read this book or any book by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR?
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