Behind the Scenes: A Portrait of Emily Price

A Portrait of Emily Price releases in 8 days!

Portrait of Emily Price - Katherine ReayI thought this might be a good time and a good place to share a little about the “story behind the story” for Emily Price.

It first began as I read C.S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy. This story relays Lewis’s conversion to Christianity. In many ways, it is his “coming of age” journey – and that appealed to me as I write “turning point” stories or “coming of age” stories. I return to these types of tales because I think such moments occur at any age, and often again and again. We never stop changing and growing. Lewis’s story also brought questions about joy to mind – What moves us closer to joy and what moves us away? What does it look like? How do we recognize it? In our busy and chaotic lives, it’s a concept we don’t often discuss, but we think about it…

The next book I happened to read was another Lewis novel, Till We Have Faces. There is a powerful scene near the end of the story when the main character, Orual, brings her case to the gods. She demands her “rights” and her document justifies all she has done. Yet, within the very act of articulating her case, she realizes she hasn’t got one. It falls at her feet and she recognizes, and is humbled by, the reality of her small place and her selfish actions.These stories and the questions they created led me to Emily Price – the woman not the story yet. I wondered, in our world and in our time, what might it look like for a young woman to be challenged by another way of thinking, believing, living? What could be so enticing, and joy-filled, as to make her yearn for something new and perhaps something better? What might compel her to dropimg_2439 her guard, surrender control, and let in love?
The one-liner I created for A Portrait of Emily Price reads: After a whirlwind romance and marriage, Emily Price heads home to Italy with her new husband to find that life at its richest is found only when she accepts its chaotic beauty. And that’s what I wanted to create, a whirlwind that would knock this young woman off her feet and entice her to experience something new before reason or fear scared her away from the adventure. And, of course, I made it more alluring for her by offering up Italy. It’s such a sensory countimg_2444ry – and holds that promise of beauty, the unknown and a rich artistic history that I knew would appeal to Emily, and to all of us.

I think that happens in our own lives – at least I know it does to me. Something new (not set in Italy) knocks on my door, and there are a million reasons and fears why I don’t accept the invitation. I’d like to accept. Each and everyday, I’d like to step into joy and live the best life possible for me, that day.

So that is where Emily Price began… If you read her story, I hope you enjoy every moment and every character. I hope you see that glimmer of joy and feel one woman’s journey towards it.
Thank you for joining me today!

Comments 2

  1. Cricket Muse

    I am truly amazed at how much sensory detail is placed in each story. I would enjoy learning about the background research, as in did you visit actual houses, restaurants, churches, cafes to create such a sense of versimiltude?

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