I Let You Fall by Sara Downing
#Contemporary, #Romance, #WomensFiction,
On a summer night in London, art teacher Eve Chapman finds herself in a hospital emergency room. She watches surgeons desperately operate on a young woman with a terrible head injury. But when the bandages are removed, Eve is horrified to find her own body on the operating table.
Trapped in a coma, Eve struggles to cope with the fact that no matter how hard she tries, her family and friends cannot see or hear her. But then she meets Luca Diaz, a handsome and comatose lawyer who can see her. He takes Eve under his wing and teaches her how to use her new abilities to help the living.
As the weeks pass, Eve struggles to find a way back to her body and to Nathan, the man she loves. But the more time she spends with Luca, the more she wonders if her old life is worth going back to at all.
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4 out of 5 (very good)
I LET YOU FALL is a standalone story about a young woman in a coma and the adventure she has.
You'd think that nothing would be happening, right? Wrong! You get two lots of story here - one with Eve's 'spirit' or whatever you want to call it, plus Eve's body and whatever consciousness and understanding that is left.
I have to say, I found the beginning slightly confusing. It said about it being after the accident but it wasn't exactly clear what was happening, so I wasn't sure if that is actually what had sent her to the hospital in the first place. Stick with it though, as it does make sense in the end. Another part I found confusing was when Luca left. How could Eve see so much misery and upset when the nurse was happy to give the news she gave?
Anyway, they are minor things. The story as a whole was a brilliant read that kept my focus all the way through. I loved reading the two different sides as they tried to understand what was happening around them. The ending is left wide open for you to imagine your own love story.
A well-paced, interesting story that had me gripped. I thoroughly enjoyed this and have no hesitation in recommending it.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi Merissa, it’s great to chat to you, and thank you so much for interviewing me! I live near Worcester, UK, with my husband, three almost grown-up kids, a dog and a cat. Life is busy!
What do you do when you’re not writing?
At the moment, we seem to spend a lot of time driving the kids around! The youngest two (boy/girl twins) are 16 and in the UK that means they don’t drive yet. They have very active social lives… Other than that I’ve normally got my head in a book. I also play the piano, though not as often as I’d like. And I like to drink wine now and again…
Do you have a day job as well?
In the days pre-kids I was a Chartered Accountant, but I was lucky enough to be able to give that up when our first child came along, and I have thoroughly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mum. I’d always wanted to write, and once I found that I could write, it fitted in very well with being home for the kids, while giving me some intellectual stimulation to help offset the chaos of raising twins!
What was your favourite book as a child?
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. It really fuelled my imagination as a youngster. During my teens I loved the Nancy Drew Mysteries, then very quickly moved on to James Herbert!
When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
When the twins were 3 and at nursery a couple of days a week, I’d frantically scrawl away at my novel, instead of doing the housework! Then I booked myself onto a writing course, and had some great feedback from the tutor. I think that was what spurred me on to make a go of it.
I was also lucky that eBooks came along at just the right time, and I was able to self-publish straight away. My first book, Head Over Heels, was a huge hit at the time and frequently in the overall Kindle Top 100.
What book do you wish you had written?
Any good psychological thriller or suspense novel. I read loads of them but don’t think I could ever write one. However I did start with romance, then added a bit of historical, before moving on to supernatural, so I suppose I should never say never…
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully healthy, happy and still writing! I don’t plan ever to retire from it.
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started my first novel in 2009 and self-published it in 2011.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write over several genres and they’ve kind of chosen me! I wrote romance for my first novel, but my second was historical/time travel, although still with romance at its core. Various elements of the supernatural have always fascinated me, and that was how I ended up writing The Lost Boy and then I Let You Fall.
Where do you get your ideas?
Generally, my books start with a tiny germ of an idea and grow from there. That idea can come from anywhere: The Lost Boy started with a dream, and I Let You Fall began with simply wondering what happens to the human mind when someone’s in a coma. Then I thought I’d like to set it in London. Slowly things started to take shape. Characters began to appear in my head. The early days of a novel require you to just think a lot, and I do that mostly on dog walks.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Not as such, but some days I just don’t feel like writing, so I don’t! Other days I can’t stop, so I suppose it evens itself out.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
A bit of both! Some books can grow as you begin to write. Others, with more complex storylines, need a little more planning. I Let You Fall needed quite a lot of planning, as I have a few intersecting storylines which needed to coincide at the right times and in the right places for it to make sense.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I began by submitting my first novel to agents, back in 2011. I had a lot of positive feedback, but at the time agents weren’t taking on so many new authors due to the rise in popularity of self-publishing, so I decided to join the self-publishing gang! It’s a lonely process sometimes, but Amazon KDP is very logical and user-friendly, so you just have to approach it in the same logical way.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I use a mix of social media, but tend to find Facebook works best - for me, anyway. I recently got into TikTok, then decided it wasn’t really my thing. I felt too tied by the need to post several times a day, just to get something noticed. I know a lot of authors have had huge success with it - maybe I’m just too old!
I also think it’s really important to start building your mailing list as soon as you can. Capture as many email addresses as possible, as these people have normally read one or more of your books, so they’re a great audience for mailshots for future releases and special offers.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
The ‘one-liner’ for I Let You Fall is that it’s the story of a woman in a coma, who discovers that death could be more romantic than life. It’s basically a love story, and I don’t want to give too much away, but it is set in very unusual circumstances, between two people who are put in a very unusual situation!
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences or purely all imagination?
I spent a lot of time in the part of London where the book is set, and so I’d like to hope my descriptions of the area ring true. However, nothing that happens to the main characters has ever happened to me!
What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I loved writing the dialogue between Eve and Luca. They’re both very intelligent people and they have a lot of good ‘banter’, which sometimes veers toward teasing one another. They were a lot of fun to write. Their growing romance was slow to build, and I loved writing the gradual progression from friends to more than that.
How did you come up with the title?
It took a while to get the right one, even though I had a shortlist! With I Let You Fall, the title needed to be mentioned in the story, and I hope that when it crops up for the first time in the body of the book, readers have a eureka moment!
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
One of the story elements involves organ transplants, and there’s a lot around that I’d like to explore further. Maybe something along the lines of how someone’s path through life – their fate, if you like –can be influenced by what life had in store for the donor, the person who died and didn’t get to live that life. It’s a complicated premise, but I’ll get there, hopefully!
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself and go for it! If you feel you have a book in you, then don’t put off starting the writing process.
What does your protagonist think about you?
I’d like to think Eve and I would get on well. I can imagine us going for a coffee and having a really good natter! I hope she’d like me for giving her a kind heart and an enquiring mind.
Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, her creator?
Oh yes – see above!
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee or some complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Eve drinks skinny latte with an extra shot. We find that out early on in the story, and it’s a pivotal moment. I won’t tell you why it matters so much, but it’s crucial to the storyline!
What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I use a laptop but I always have a notebook or two on the go as well, for scribbling ideas. I can’t work with music or noise, have never been able to! I like peace and quiet, so I tend to write when the kids aren’t around… It generally means I don’t get much writing done over the long summer holidays, but I can work around that.
Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?
Racy, definitely! Head Over Heels had quite a few sex scenes, and they were crucial to the plot – honest! It’s so hard not to make sex sound too mechanical and messy!
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Yes! Thank you so much for reading my books – I wouldn’t be able to carry on doing what I love without your support.
Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?
Anything where someone deliberately harms a child or an animal. Just couldn’t stomach it…
If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation – who would you choose for which character?
Great question! And one I’ve already thought about, funnily enough…! Eve has always been Emily Blunt in my head, and Adrian Lester as Rob, but with Luca I’ve really struggled, as the image I have of him in my head doesn’t reconcile to any actors I can think of!
How important are the names in your book?
Pretty important. I think in real life you can get a feel for someone’s character just from their names. I wanted Luca (Diaz) to be a little bit exotic-sounding, and Eve (Chapman) is very down-to-earth and kind.
Do you have any name-choosingnot-so-nice resources you would recommend?
I tend to pick a letter – E for example, and then google baby names beginning with E. If none jump out at me, then I’ll pick another letter!
Do you read your reviews?
I do… I’ve had some amazing reviews for I Let You Fall, but also the inevitable few not so nice ones. It always hurts, even though I know I shouldn’t let it. It’s a bit like someone saying something nasty about one of your kids!
Do you respond to them, good or bad?
I don’t, generally. Certainly not on the big sites, like Amazon and Goodreads. I think it’s important to be able to take feedback, bad as well as good, without rising to it.
But if someone contacts me to tell me they’ve left a review, then we’ll enter into a dialogue. I love engaging with readers.
Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Be sad for five minutes then move on. (Wish I could follow my own advice!)
What is your best marketing tip?
Start local. Everyone wants their book to go global, but start by exploring the market close to home, first. I do book signings at local village fairs and indie bookshops, I get fliers printed to hand out to people, and do interviews for local magazines and radio stations. It all helps get the word out, and word of mouth is still the best when it comes to book recommendations.
What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?
Having to wear so many hats, not just my writing hat. It’s been great, this time round, to work with TCK Publishing, and to have their support in so many areas. It makes a huge difference to have a team of specialists behind you, and I hope to work with them on future books.
Sara Downing is the author of the popular Head Over Heels contemporary romance series, plus a further romance, Stage Fright, and a historical novel, Urban Venus.
In 2016, Sara published The Lost Boy, her first foray into the world of the supernatural. Her latest novel, I Let You Fall, is now on pre-order and will be available from June 20, 2022.
Sara lives in rural Worcestershire with her husband, three almost grown-up children, a Labrador and a cat. Before children she was a Chartered Accountant, but always knew her dream career lay elsewhere. She started writing in 2009 and hasn't since yearned to return to the world of accountancy.
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