About the Author
E.V. Mitchell is the pseudonym for an award-winning USA Today bestselling author of 15 historical novels. This is E.V. Mitchell’s first mainstream contemporary fiction novel. For more information about the book and the author, visit www.evmitchell.com.
- Paperback: 314 pages
- Publisher: Blue Ocean (March 23, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0986842222
- ISBN-13: 978-0986842221
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR:
You are a traditionally published author of 15 historical romances and have hit the USA Today bestseller list. Why did you choose to self-publish The Color of Heaven?
I came up with the idea for this book six years ago, and wrote half of it while I was between contracts for my historicals. My agent shopped the half-finished manuscript around in 2007 to all the major New York publishers, but we had no offers. We were told things like:
“I wouldn’t know how to position this book.”
“It’s too commercial for our line.”
“I wasn’t fully convinced of the book’s commercial appeal.”
“I did not feel connected to the character of Sophie.”
“I was connected to the character of Sophie, but didn’t connect with Cora.”
One editor loved it and said it brought tears to her eyes, but when she showed it to her senior editor… Well, that editor felt differently.
I had just signed a new deal for two more historical romances, so I had to shelve this project and get back to work on my books that were actually selling.
Skip ahead to 2010. I still believed in the story and was never able to let go of the characters, and I was following the changes in the industry in terms of authors choosing to self-publish their work as E-books. Some authors were seeing great success, and the idea of having complete creative control excited me, so I reworked The Color of Heaven over the summer, and here we are.
The Color of Heaven is told in first person as if it were a true story. How much of your own experiences went into the plot and the creation of Sophie’s character?
A tremendous amount of this book is based on my own life, starting with Sophie being a writer. Our experiences were very much the same, in that I have worked at home while trying to balance the writing with motherhood. Toward the end of the book, she is trying to sell a novel, meeting with rejections, and I’ve been there, done that. It took me six years and five novels and countless rejections before I sold my first book to a publisher.
Another element from my own life is the car accident. I skidded off a road and rolled down an embankment when I was twenty-five years old. I am still amazed that I survived it, because it was a pretty horrendous wreck.
In The Color of Heaven Sophie’s daughter is very sick. How much research did you have to do about medical issues?
The emotional side of that difficult period in Sophie’s life again comes from my own experiences. My daughter was very ill with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome when she was two-and-a-half years old, which is a blood disease and very similar in many ways to the treatments that Sophie’s daughter receives. I spent six weeks living in the children’s hospital and going through some very difficult times when we weren’t sure our daughter would survive. There are some moments in the book that are almost exact, and they were difficult to write.
I did have to do a fair amount of research, however, into the science of it all – treatments, medications, etc – and that was a bit painful, to be honest. There were days when I wondered what the heck I was doing, and why I was putting myself through that.
The Color of Heaven includes a scene about a near-death experience. Have you ever experienced such a thing?
No, but I’ve always been fascinated by near-death experiences, and since my car accident, I’ve often wondered “what if?” I did a lot of research on the subject. I read about the science of it, and I also read The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is quite beautiful in places.
You’ve written historical romances in the past. Why did you take a pen name?
I struggled with that quite a bit, because this book is very different from my romance novels – in structure, voice, and genre conventions – so I wanted to make sure readers would not have unrealistic expectations. The wrong expectations can really spoil a book for some people.
Will you write more mainstream contemporaries?
Yes, I definitely want to write more books like this and I will continue to self-publish in the future. I also want to write more historicals. I just wish there were more hours in the day, and more days in the year.
Thanks for having me!