Well I meant to get this up Friday but my day was busy with me making plans with family and the past two days were used to spend time with them. For anyone who doesn't know, family is very important to me, so I give up writing and blog time to be with them. I'm a bit tired from the events but I was determined to get this post written.
Today, I have an author interview with an author by the name of Emma Lear. She's a featured author in a Goodreads group I'm part of that I mentioned two weeks ago. I hadn't featured anyone last week since they decided to opt out of the invitation. So, let me introduce you all to Emma!
Welcome Emma! Let's get right into this. Are you a planner or a “pantser” (someone who writes by the seat of your pants)?
I’d like to say planner but to be honest it varies. When I find an idea I like I’ll usually just start rambling along with it, no chapters or plot outline. But other times I’ll find a theme or story I want to write and then I’ll go through an elaborate, in-depth storyboard. Even a phrase or a scene out of the window can spark an idea from which a story will uncurl. The real issue is to get the ideas down; there’s never a computer or pen or phone nearby when I need one!
Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one?
Negative experience – Self-doubt. I woke up the other morning after a dream where everyone was posting negative reviews of the book to my house and I couldn’t open the front door! The editing, the agonizing over whether the story or the characters are believable and even the writer’s block, it’s all part of the journey and well worth it. The creeping sensation of ‘what if it’s just not any good’ when you’re waiting to find out what people think however, that’s a killer.
Positive experience – Definitely that first moment of seeing the finished product. I love the process too (even the gruesome bits like editing), but the feel of getting a paper copy in your hands with the final cover design and new book smell, for me it can’t be beaten.
Some find listening to music or watching TV while writing can help their creative process. Do you do any of these or do anything unusual while your write?
I’m a complete horror when I write. Editing is fine and I can function like an everyday human being, but whilst writing I have the television muted, music on my laptop and I tend to growl at anyone asking me a question. I’d love to be one of these visionary writers, sitting at a desk in a flowing kaftan with a glass of something posh and a permanent smile of composure – that’s really not me! If I get stuck though, I usually end up playing Neopets online (my guilty secret!)
What is your latest book or series? Do you have any forthcoming books?
To date The Firebird Trilogy is the only series/work I’ve published. The Man (book one) came out early 2014 but I’m already steaming toward book two. It’s a little trickier to work with but I can see it taking shape now and I think it’ll be a good follow-on from The Man. I haven’t estimated a release date yet, but hopefully the way it’s evolving it won’t be too long.
Why don't you tell us a little about the world of your latest or favorite book or series.
I remember our house having electricity black-outs as a child and it’s a similar effect with the state of the world in The Man. Power is used by the elite, food is scarce and people have taken to growing what they can in their back gardens. Candles are commonplace to provide light in the darkness and several cities have been overrun with gangs, forcing a curfew on the streets after dark.
There are those that hide, those that try to run and several people have taken to crime as a way of surviving. Even those in power are cloaked in mystery but in the shadows a group of people are preparing to fight and find their way to a better world.
Do you have a favorite character? Why?
It has to be Dog. I don’t know if he counts as a character but he’s my personal favourite. I also love Emelyn, my little ray of sunshine, but I think in the human category Niall definitely tops the bill for The Man at least. Many a dreamy night has been spent trying to think of his back history, his past and how he’d behave in certain situations.
Other than that, I’d have to say Moonshine. She knows everything and has no qualms about who she is or her origins. No spoilers of course, but there are a couple of new characters arriving in book two that might be able to shake things up even more!
Some people base their character on real people or multiple people. Do you do this?
I try to avoid this wherever possible. Even if you change hair colour, eye colour, skin colour, clothes, voice, style or gender, someone will notice eventually. If I need new characters or want to start a new story, I generally dream them up or start with something simple. Even choosing a location for someone or an intriguing event can set off a chain of ideas that creates an entire world. So many times I’ve thought ‘if only I could change this/that/the other, and by creating a world I can.
Names are a difficulty too. I try not to use names of people I know, or could refer back to easily. The best invention for this is the baby name websites – you can go absolutely nuts without having to give birth!
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books?
I always make sure I know what kind of feel I want for the overall book, i.e. scary, thought-provoking, throwing people together, etc. That way I can pick the right settings. If I’m writing about a particular place and I can’t visit it, then I’ll scrutinize it on the web with any source I can find.
Building your own world for a fantasy story is more a case of dreaming really big and then filling in the cracks afterwards. You can be so creative and I love hashing out the really intricate details like how cities in a different world use currency or inventing weird and wonderful plants and food. There does seem to be a fine line between the ridiculous and the magical though – I’m always paranoid I’ve overstepped it!
We've come to the end of the interview, but I have two more questions I hope you'll quickly answer for me. Can you give us a fun/silly fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
I used to believe bees had indicators. I hide under the covers as much when reading chick lit as I do with scary stuff. I love flumps. I talk to my characters a little bit when writing. That’s more than one fact but still!
Is there any advice you would pass on to those authors who are still just starting out? Do's and don'ts?
Do read other authors’ works but don’t lose your own style.
Do get advice with editing, style, form, grammar and anything else you’re given but don’t assume you have to do it just because someone tells you to.
Do write stuff you love and enjoy but don’t assume that you will get readers on passion or choice of genre alone. Without thorough editing, a proper storyline and good writing skills, people will lose interest straight away.
Do join as many communities as you can; Goodreads for one recommendation.
Don’t give up – even if everyone else damns you down. You should be writing because you want to as the first rule and what one person hates another will no doubt fall in love with. I’m a big believer of the idea that we are always learning – what you didn’t know when you wrote your first book you definitely will by the fourth or fifteenth!
Thanks for taking part in this interview, Emma! I'm sending luck your way with all your planned releases. If anyone is interested in checking out more on Emma I’ve provided a bit more information with some links to her website/blog and her twitter page below.
Emma is an almost-graduate of the English Language and Communications and Literature, half-Finnish, half Londoner. She’s loved stories and writing them since the age of nine. She currently lives on the glorious south coast of Britain near to Brighton with the rain, the pebbles and the seagull invasion. She like all the usual person description hobbies that people put in these things, including but not limited to pole dancing, skittles (the candy not the game) and yelling at the television when the touring cars come on.
When magic and mystery become a part of adult memory, and children only know the hushed whispers in dark corners, people expect trouble at every turn.
For Gin, her safety relies on those dark corners and the danger of the grimy British streets. Magic and fantasy are a long buried dream; until she meets the candle-maker. Thrust into his secretive world with just a sullen, shadowy guide for company, Gin clings to the edges until the heavily guarded line between life and fantasy blurs.
As she chases her inevitable future to escape the echo of what lies behind, the world and all she knew of it becomes one final step into the unknown.