A LITTLE IN LOVE
by Susan Fletcher
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Publication Date: October 2nd 2014
As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family's kitchen slave, Cosette. When at sixteen the girls' paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they've both fallen for the same boy. In the end, Eponine will sacrifice everything to keep true love alive.
Q&A with Susan Fletcher
author of A Little In Love
Why did you want to write Éponine’s story? What was your inspiration?
The idea was not, actually, mine! Chicken House – the wonderful publishers of A Little In Love – approached me with the idea in early 2013. As soon as I heard it, I knew it was an extraordinary opportunity – a gift – and I had no hesitation in accepting the challenge. Eponine has always been my favourite character in Les Miserables – so from the very beginning, this book has been both a privilege and a total pleasure for me.
How did it feel to see A Little In Love develop from your initial idea into a physical book?
This is my fifth book, so I might have expected to have grown accustomed to the writing process by now. But I haven’t – and to see the actual physical book for the first time remains a magical moment. It’s hard to believe that my words – the ones I jotted down in cafes, or scrawled in the dark on the edge of sleep, or simply tapped into a laptop whilst thinking Is that any good?? – have made it into a printed, actual book. I must admit that there was added magic with A Little In Love because of the absolutely stunning artwork that Chicken House have given it; the care and attention to detail is incredible. The hardback copy even has red, white and blue stitching! So to see the final version of this novel was perhaps the most incredible moment yet.
Who was your favourite character to write and why?
Eponine! But aside from her, there were several characters I have come away with tender feelings for. Strangely, none of them are particularly central to the narrative. I liked writing about the chestnut seller because he is the sudden example of kindness and compassion amongst all the darkness; he, alongside Eponine, is a reminder that there is still good in the world. I liked old Augustine with his peach tree – such a fleeting character but I felt very fond of him, and his bad hands. I also enjoyed Gavroche: resilient, cheeky and cheerful. In Hugo’s book, he is shot on the barricades – but I did not want to include that in A Little In Love. For those who don’t know Les Miserables, they might believe that he survives – and I’d like to think that he does.
Don’t you just love the cover art? – Sorry to gush but I adore it!! Both paperback and hardcover!! <3
I do! I do! Gush away! I’ve been gushing about it ever since I saw it. I’m thrilled that you – and so many others – think it’s beautiful too. Chicken House has produced such a stunning book – from its cover design, to the end papers, to the font itself… Even the hardback copy’s ribbon marker! I am just overwhelmed by what they’ve done. In both hardback and paperback, i’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve seen – and by sheer good fortune and a little bit of magic, it turns out that it’s one of mine! I am such a lucky writer.
If you could pick anyone, whom would you cast in a movie adaptation of A Little In Love? (Excluding the 2012 Le Miserables cast)
That’s a hard question! As I wrote the book, I created my own characters in my head – and so I it’s hard to find people who might portray them as I saw them. Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Barks were great castings in the 2012 film, certainly. Le Patron Minette were only briefly portrayed in the film, so perhaps they are easier to cast. I offer John Malkovich for Babet and John Leguizamo as Montparnasse!
Who was your least favourite character to write and why?
I didn’t like Le Patron Minette for obvious reasons! It’s hard to write about such unpleasant people – and whilst selling teeth was not uncommon at the time, I winced every time I mentioned it! But even such dark characters provide opportunities for the writer, and I actually really enjoyed Eponine’s conversations with Montparnasse. They provide a chance for her to show her wit and spirit; I hope there are moments in them, too, where Montparnasse becomes a more dimensional man.
What was your biggest challenge about re-writing a character as well known as Éponine? And how did you go about making her your own?
I decided to simply write about my Eponine – the girl that I had always imagined her to be. I made this decision because, firstly, my Eponine would surely be like many other people’s Eponine, too; how I perceived her to be would not be too dissimilar from how others had done. But secondly, because as my Eponine I was very fond of her. She was real for me – even before this book began – and so in order to create a real, plausible and lovable Eponine on paper, I decided it would be best to go with this girl who was, to my eye, already these things.
Lastly, in FIVE words, tell us why we should read A Little In Love?