Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Q&A with Emma Stonex

From my Q&A with Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters: A Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I hit on The Lamplighters while writing the first draft, and knew I’d fight to keep it if it was ever up for debate (my publishers liked it too, so that was lucky!). Traditionally, lamplighters were employed to tend streetlights, not lighthouses, but my reason for choosing the word was twofold. First, ‘The Lamplighter’ is the title of a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, who belonged to the Stevenson family of lighthouse engineers. (You can imagine how out of place a fiction writer might have felt in a clan of straight-talking builders.) This felt like a perfect fit. Second, I just love the word ‘lamplight’ – it has an evocative, inviting feel, a soft rhythm brimming with warmth and hope, but also mystery. The Lamplighters is based on the real-life disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from a remote Scottish island in 1900, whose fates to this day are still unknown. I wanted to convey to the reader a sense of the romance and allure of lighthouses, but also their potential for...[read on]
Follow Emma Stonex on Twitter.

Q&A with Emma Stonex.

--Marshal Zeringue