First I’d like to say congratulations to Emily Kazmierski for her new book and the success of her last two. Emily works hard to bring us inspiring stories that will give you all the feels. I love these types of stories as they remind me of what is really important in life.
Tess is devastated when her firefighter hubby dies on the job. She wants only to grieve, but a young son and a dwindling bank account balance compel her to return to waitressing. Meanwhile, Tess searches for a career that evokes passion in her, like the zeal Michael showed for helping people and fighting fires.
Tess’s memories of her brief time with her husband inspire her to reach for a new dream. With her friends and family by her side, she discovers that the heartbreaking struggle she has endured has made her stronger, more self assured, and serenely prepared for whatever comes next.
Life Among the Ashes releases August 1st! Always an exciting time for an author. Introduce us to your main character, Tess.
In many ways, Tess is a typical 22 year old. She’s trying to figure out what her purpose is in the world and what her passions are, aside from her husband and young son. She and her husband, Michael, agreed that she would be a stay at home mom until their son, Kavan, started school, and Tess is already wondering what type of job she wants when our story begins. She’s a little clueless about how the world works. And in Life Among the Ashes she has to grow up and stretch herself to find a career she’s passionate about, and to love and support Kavan well.
Without spoiling your novel, is there any part in your novel that you especially loved writing?
I really enjoyed writing the first scene because I knew exactly how it was going to go before I sat at my computer. And I really enjoyed writing Tess’s conversations with her best friend, Beth, because friendships are important, and I wanted to portray healthy, positive friendships that can be a lifeline when a person is struggling like Tess does throughout the book.
What is comparable, if anything, to Life Among the Ashes?
Gosh, I don’t know. There are lots of stories out there about young people who are struggling to find their purpose, their passion, but I don’t think there’s anything exactly like Life Among the Ashes. I think the reason this type of story resonates with people is that many of us, probably most of us if we’re honest, struggle with that throughout our lives. We wonder why we are here and what we’re supposed to do.
How did you come up with your idea for the story?
This is funny, actually. It was inspired by a dream I had about a woman who finds love again after losing her husband. But when I sat down to write it, I found that I needed to tell the story of how Tess found herself again rather than how she found a new love.
There appears to be some big potential for tears with your novel, but a heartwarming bit as well. The message you wanted to send your readers is very important. Tell us about that.
With everything I write, I hope that people will read it and they’ll gain empathy for others who are in a different life situation. I hope that when a person reads Life Among the Ashes or Malignant, they use that experience to help them relate better to the people around them who are struggling. If I can help one person in that way, I’ll have accomplished my goal.
This isn’t your first venture into this type of book with Malignant available already. What do you love about writing these stories?
I enjoy reading and writing stories that could be about real people, such as my friend or neighbor. Researching and writing these stories requires me to think about people who are struggling in different ways, and I learn so much while I’m doing it.
After the tragedy in Tess’s life, which character gives her the most strength to overcome?
Tess is lucky in that she has a great support system around her. Her mom and her best friend are right there beside her to do whatever she asks. Tess’s in laws are also there, and they find a new rhythm to their relationship throughout the novel. And Tess meets several other people along the way, both helpful and obnoxious, who push her toward finding herself, but that’s all I’m going to say. 😉
What else do you want your readers to know about you or your books?
Each time I write a novel or short story, I do the absolute best that I can, and I hope people enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. Writing is truly fun, rewarding work.
To learn more about Emily or her books you can visit her site. You can also purchase Malignant, Life Among the Ashes, and Asha and the Magic Galoshes: A Retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Galoshes of Fortune” Asha and the Magic Galoshes: A Retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Galoshes of Fortune” on Amazon now!