Eliza Graham worked in marketing and PR before taking up writing nearly six years ago. She lives near Oxford, England, with her husband, two children and small menagerie. Playing with the Moon
is her first novel, published in the UK in 2007, and due out in the states in February of 2008.
Shattered by a recent bereavement, Minna and her husband Tom retreat to an isolated village on the Dorset coast, seeking the solitude that will allow them to cope with their loss and rebuild their foundering marriage. Walking on the beach one day, they unearth a human skeleton. The remains are soon identified as those of Private Lew Campbell, a black American GI who, it seems, drowned during a wartime exercise in the area half a century before. Growing increasingly preoccupied with the dead soldier's fate, Minna befriends a melancholy elderly woman, Felix, who lived in the village during the war. As Minna coaxes Felix's story from her, it becomes clear that the old woman knows more about the dead GI than she initially let onâ€¦
The Oxford Times says, She seems to have hit on a winning formula, interweaving an evocative historical tale with a modern story of relationships. Playing with the Moon has been nominated a World Book Day â€˜Hidden Gemâ€™. You can find out more about this and vote here
JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?
EG: I absolutely fell in love with my cover on sight: it has exactly the feeling of mystery and ambiguity I was trying to set up in PLAYING WI TH THE MOON. Sepia-tinted covers depicting people's backs have been BIG in the UK this year. THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER and WINTER IN MADRID, both big-sellers here, have similar color schemes and designs. I'm hoping someone might pick mine up by mistake, thinking they've got one of these two...
JJ: What is the relationship between writing and motherhood? (I mean this in a personal way -- for you. Does one feed the other, are they similar for you, does doing one make doing the other harder, do these things compete or come from the same place or? What?
EG: It wasn't until I became pregnant for the first time that I had an overwhelming urge to write. I'd always kept diaries and been keen on letter-writing but as soon as those pregnancy hormones kicked in, I was off! I wrote 60,000 words of drivel, which I used as fax paper. Then I took two years off because I had two babies in a year and a half. I then started to crave a third. We really didn't want to expand the family any further so instead I started writing again,finding that creating a living (hopefully!) book compensated for the lack of another baby. It's obviously hormonal with me.
JJ: Tell us about visiting the village of Tyneham and how that inspired you to write PLAYING WITH THE MOON.
EG: About eight years ago I visited Tyneham on the south coast of England. The villagers were evacuated in 1943 so that British and American troops could carry out pre-D-Day exercises. They were given about a month's notice and left the village expecting to return at the end of the war. They never went home.
We saw the children's schoolhouse, with some of their work still on display describing nature walks, visits to the beach, games they'd played. I found the whole place evocative and almost haunted with memories. It was so poignant. For years after I'd visited Tyneham I kept thinking about the village and wanting to write about it.
Thanks for a thought provoking interview, Elizaâ€¦.if you want to know more, Eliza blogs over at Staring Out of the Window