Interview with J. Willis Sanders, Author of The Essence of

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Essence of Emmaline Strong?

Being a musician and a writer, I wanted to write a novel with music at its core. I also wrote some songs in it.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Essence of Emmaline Strong, what would they be?

Away Down the River sung by Alison Krauss.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Historical fiction. It’s not the same.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I’m reading America’s First Daughter. Next is My Dear Hamilton. After that I might re-read All the Light We Cannot See or Life After Life.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

When Jordan, the main character, discovers the link between her and a young girl whose father she once hated.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I enjoy writing outside. I need silence, no music whatsoever. Since I love music, that’s a bit quirky.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Of all the attitudes, the greatest is gratitude.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

To always search your heart for your purpose in life.


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