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Emerging Writer Member Profile

Constance Emmett

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Member Bio:

Constance was born in Brooklyn, New York, where her mother's family landed after the family emigrated from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Growing up in the home of great readers, she became one too, and at age nine, wrote detective fiction with loads of snappy dialogue.

During rounds of writing and not writing fiction, she completed a BS and MS in biology. Constance worked for twenty years as a biologist before the writing itch hit again, this time prompted by an interview of the novelist Sarah Waters. During the interview Sarah Waters revealed that she wrote Tipping the Velvet because she wanted to write what she wanted to read. Struck to her core by that explanation, Constance began writing again. She's spent the last fourteen years writing steadily, mostly on the weekends, producing two novels and several short stories, and working with a professional editor on The Heroine of Her Own Life, a lesbian-themed novel set in Northern Ireland from 1913-1944. Her focus now is to traditionally publish her debut novel, while writing its sequel.

The Heroine of Her Own Life was inspired by the story of her family, who lived in Northern Ireland during the same period in which the novel is set. Constance lives in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, USA, with her wife and their dog. They adore almost everything about country life. Constance is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland.

Writing sample

Current project

In a similar vein as Sarah Water’s The Night Watch, THE HEROINE OF HER OWN LIFE is an 85,600-word lesbian-themed novel for adults set mainly in Northern Ireland from 1913 to 1944, the period in history of World War I, the Irish Civil War and Troubles, the Depression, and World War II. Although the novel's characters face hardships imposed by all of these destructive events, especially World War II, the novel shares dilemmas, themes and resolutions explored in Gabriella West's Time of Grace, and Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.

During the 1920s, Meg Preston is a young, working class, Belfast woman who struggles to accept her lesbian sexuality, a difficult task in the restrictive, religious age in which she lives. After a disastrous experience as a young girl, Meg represses her true self, not returning to her truth until she falls for a privileged and more experienced young woman. Once more, the experience ends in unexpected heartbreak. Once more, Meg represses her sexuality, focusing on her career and her large family and their tribulations. She becomes determined not to be a victim, and finds that love was waiting for her in the form of a childhood friend, Lillian. Battling the mores of the times, Meg and Lillian forge a union and a life together as lovers and partners, walking a line between what they feel for one another, and what their families and society will accept, until Meg's sisters reveal their understanding and approval. Even then, their lives take them on a dangerous path.

When the Luftwaffe carries out bombing raids on Belfast that kill thousands in 1941, Meg and Lillian endure the loss of family and friends, and work for the Women’s Voluntary Services, until the Firestorm Blitz shatters any expectation of safety. Meg organizes an evacuation, not only for her and Lillian, but also for their sisters and their families.

In a small seaside town, Meg, with Lillian by her side, thrives even in wartime, starting a Victory Garden and dabbling in the black market in order to feed the family. As her life nears its end, Meg finally accepts the beauty of her form of love, and that she had, indeed, been the heroine of her own life.





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