One of my favourite things about my blog is that I get to interview authors for my blog. It’s such a fun way to get to know them and honestly it makes my soul sing whenever someone says they want to be featured.
Hi Emily, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Thanks so much for having me! I’m really excited! I am in my early 30s, live in the Chicagoland area, and have the best dog ever! I’ve been writing and dreaming of being an author my whole life, but it’s been in the last 5 years or so where I’ve really been learning about the publishing industry and creating publish-worthy books.
What were you like at school?
I was very talkative! A decent student, didn’t goof off much, but I do remember on my report card there being notes about how I talked ALL THE TIME. At least in elementary school - which I think is still true of me. I liked school because that’s where all of my friends were. Then as I got to high school, my teachers would say I didn’t talk enough! I took a lot of music and theatre classes though, which were really fun.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would love to be able to write full time! Or even being able to go down to part time for my “real” job would be nice.
Where do your ideas come from?
I write a lot of fairy tale retellings, so those are the initial ideas. But then I’ll get ideas from friends, or sometimes an image I see, or a concept I’ve been wanting to play around with for awhile. The book I’m working on now was just asking “what if these two fairy tale characters were the same person?” Or one book I wrote which wasn’t a retelling I wanted to talk about being someone in their 20s trying to figure out life and all of those struggles of being a “new adult”, but I’m awful at writing contemporary books and asked “so how can I make this into a fantasy?” and the rest came from there!
What are you working on at the minute?
The working title is White Rose and I nicknamed it “fairy tale mash-up” because it’s basically a bunch of fairy tales all rolled into one book. Most of my characters play multiple roles. Example: Eira is the Snow White character from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as the Snow White in Snow White and Rose Red. Then Rose is the Rose Red character as well as red riding hood. It’s very high fantasy but with A LOT of romance!
What genre are your books?
Fantasy! I’ve done both urban and high fantasy. I’d love to go more into paranormal/horror though like a dark vampire book or something. Although, I’m starting to play around with the idea of dipping into contemporary romance. I’ve tried before and it was awful, but I want to give it another shot someday.
How much research do you do?
One of the great things about fantasy is that I can make up my own world! But, I still like to put in a lot of research. Especially with going back to the origins of the tale I’m retelling. I love figuring out the symbolism and history behind them. I also tend to do research as I’m writing. The book I’m working on now has a more medieval feel, and one day a character was taking a bath and I was like “did they have towels back in the day?” That’s when I’ll go and do some research and put what I’ve learned into the book. Research is also a great way to brainstorm and get story ideas.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I guess you could say I write part-time right now since I don’t get paid for it. (Yet!) The amount of hours I put in would equal a part time job for sure. Sometimes full!
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
This book ended up having so many characters and different plot threads. It’s so much fun and I love how deep this world can go. But it also can get really overwhelming and lacks focus in some areas. When I was working on my first draft and was coming to the conclusion of the book, I was like “WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY CHARACTERS???? WHERE DO THEY ALL GO?” I’m learning how to balance keeping the deep and expansive world while also maintaining focus for the story.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
All of the time!
Do you have any tips for overcoming writers block?
A big part of it is figuring out where the writers block stems from. If it’s because you’re bored with your book - maybe you need to find a way to make it not boring, or skip ahead to a scene you’re really excited about. Sometimes it’s because you’ve written yourself into a hole and need to go back and fix what you’ve done in the past. Sometimes if you’re stuck, it’s a sign that it’s time to let that particular book go, or at least step away from it for awhile and work on something new.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I personally don’t really watch them or use them. But, I know some authors do and if they enjoy it and it helps them- that’s awesome!
How long does it take you to write a book?
To do a draft… probably 3-5 months. If I have a deadline a bit faster. To have a whole book completed with revisions and everything it’s about 1-1 ½ years. I tend to have A LOT of drafts.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
All over the place! But, I actually love gathering ideas on Pinterest and even doing some research on that site. You can get so much! I really rely on images to help me create my characters so I love to put together boards for all of my books. Or even Twitter I can get ideas. My most recent short story piece was from an idea I got from Twitter.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How long it takes. I always have this idea in my head that “I’ll have this done by this time and then the next draft done by this time” and I NEVER make it! Having goals is awesome and definitely needed. (We writers love to procrastinate so deadlines are important- even self made ones!) But, I also need to remember that I need to give myself space to mess up, revise, and sometimes even start over or take a break.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Probably something in theatre in some way. Even if it’s just working in the theatre office or something! It’s my other favorite form of storytelling. I used to think I wanted to be an actress, but I wouldn’t like the competition of it all. Working behind the scenes would be great though!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
DO YOUR RESEARCH. Not just about what you need for your book, but about publishing in general. Whether you’re publishing traditionally or self-publishing, get to know the business. Yes, writing is an art form, but if you want to be a professional author, you need to learn about how it’s a business as well. Read blogs, find books in your genre, connect with other authors, listen to podcasts, really dig deep into the industry!