Author Interview & Mini Review: Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
Tag: Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak – Author Interview and Mini Review
The holiday season is almost upon us. To most of us that means fun decor, perfectly wrapped gifts, and Starbucks red cups – but it also means time with family. A lot of time with family. If you’re a Hallmark card, this translates to warm, fuzzy feelings and your loved ones cheerily roasting chestnuts over a cozy fire. Though, if we’re honest, the reality is not always so picturesque.
If anyone has captured the mixed emotions of time spent with family over the Holidays, it’s Francesca Hornak in her contemporary fiction, Seven Days of Us. If you thought your holiday sleeping arrangements were a bit tight, try spending seven days under quarantine… with your entire family.
About Seven Days of Us
It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.
For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.
As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.
In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…
Get to Know the Author
What is your favorite holiday movie?
It’s A Wonderful Life.
Coffee or tea?
If I could only keep one for life it would be tea, because I’m British. But coffee is my writing drink, so I’d need a new job.
Hardcover or paperback?
Paperback. Hardbacks are annoying in the bath and on the Tube – two prime reading opportunities.
Early bird or night owl?
Both. It’s the afternoon that I’d like to fast forward.
Which of your characters would you most want to spend 7 quarantined days with?
I think they’d all be quite grating. Probably Jesse, because he’s the least neurotic.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing from multiple characters’ perspectives?
Keeping their various backstories clear. I discovered that four members of an immediate family can have a lot of private stuff going on.
How has publishing your first fiction book changed your writing?
I’m becoming less inhibited about description. As a journalist you train yourself to be succinct, which is a hard habit to break.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Olivia’s collapse – I find high drama harder to convey than simmering tension. Plus there were loads of medical details to get wrong.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
I’m quite pragmatic about this: I look up the most popular baby names for the year the character was born, then pick one that suits their social background. Then I check that it doesn’t sound similar to any of the other characters’ names. I wouldn’t have called Olivia ‘Sophie’ for example, even though it would have fitted, because Sophie and Phoebe sound (and look) too similar. I never want to inflict that ‘Who the hell is Richard?’ feeling on the reader.
In Seven Days of Us you hint at the cultural differences between Britons and Americans. What difference stands out most to you?
Jesse’s emotional fluency vs British embarrassment around feelings. Although I’m aware this is very stereotyped!
What is your favorite part of your story (without giving away any major spoilers)?
The sisters’ row on Boxing Day. It was fun to have Phoebe say the things I wanted Olivia to hear.
What authors inspire you as a writer?
Jennifer Egan, Candace Bushnell, Charlotte Mendelson, Lori Moore, Joshua Ferris
What’s next for you? Are you planning another novel?
Yes. I’m writing another multi-perspective novel set around a members-only garden in London.
Francesca Hornak has written the perfect addition to your holiday viewings of films like Love Actually, It’s A Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story. You’ll simultaneously want to hug, shake, slap, and high-five all of these characters in turn – pretty much exactly how you feel about your family members five minutes into Christmas dinner, isn’t it?
When you need a break from your family this winter, drive to your nearest Starbucks for a red cup filled with goodness (add a little eggnog, I won’t judge you), wrap yourself in a cozy throw blanket, and snuggle up by the fire to enjoy this humorous Brit-Lit fiction – suddenly, you won’t feel so alone. Don’t miss out on Seven Days of Us this holiday season!
VERDICT: Borrow It/Buy It
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Length: 368 Pages
Publisher: Available October 2017 from Berkley
I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview with Seven Days of Us author Francesca Hornak. Follow along with Berkley Publishing to enjoy the rest of their blog tour!
- Great for the Holiday Season
- Well thought out storyline
- Funny situational humor
- Alternating perspectives could get tiresome