I'm so thrilled to have Emily here to talk about her debut novel and what inspires her to write. She is bubbly, fun, and her book delves into the darker side of teenage characters (with a dash of romance, of course). Emily writes gushy romance, heart-wrenching character growth, and anxiety-driven scenes to make the coolest cat sweat. You can follow her on her social media accounts listed at the bottom of the interview!
Hi, Emily! Thank you for joining me and answering some questions! Who or what inspired you to write?
Hi Dahlia, thanks for having me on your blog! Honestly, the fact I had such difficulty finishing books whilst I was in school inspired me to write my own book. I wanted something fun, fast-paced, and with a good hit of drama mixed in. I feel like In A Mirror has all of that, and I hope someone who finds it hard to finish a book will enjoy the experience of reading this book.
Currently, you are participating in NaNoWriMo. What do you find to be the best aspect of NaNoWriMo? (And, how are you participating while self-publishing your debut In A Mirror?)
I had to prepare a lot of stuff for my release before November 1st so I could concentrate on nano. it kind of took over my preptober.
In A Mirror is an angsty, Australian beach-read that explores mental and physical health issues (among other issues). What gave you the idea to write this story?
What research went into the writing of In A Mirror?
During the first draft the only research I went into the book with was ‘people watching’. I was always curious about the ways people interact; the awkward, the flirty, the angry, the caring. Once the first draft was done and I’d made all my revision notes, I realised I needed to do quite a bit of research to make sure some important things in the book were authentic and true to life. For example; a typical day in the life of a young person with autism, what a typical day in a rehab facility is like, what physical signs a person with an eating disorder will display. I even volunteer with a foundation of a certain disease that is mentioned in the book so I could learn from experts about the disease, and also give back to those who live with said disease.
In A Mirror’s story is succinct and emotionally impactful. Which method of outlining do you favour and why?
Thank you, that’s so nice to hear! I start with a messy brainstorm session and write the scenes in an order that seems right at the time. I then move on to the Story Circle Method. I outline each main character and important secondary characters with the story circle method, and through that process, I discover the correct order of the scenes and try to incorporate as many important moments for each character as I can throughout each chapter. I hope everything in my book comes across as important to the plot and the growth of the characters.
In A Mirror follows twin sisters Brittany and Charli Matthews. Which sister is your favourite to write and why?
Hard question! Some times it depends on the day. I love all the fun party scenes with Brittany, they were my favourite to draft. I loved playing with the poetry in Charli’s chapters. But I loved writing the romantic moments in both twin’s perspectives, especially the flashback at the end of Chapter Six, that’s my favourite scene!
The cover of In A Mirror is so heavenly! Who designed the cover and what was your experience while working with them?
What is your primary reason for choosing to self-publish? How have you found this experience?
I’ve spent years on this story, and I could not imagine selling the story to a publisher. It felt very weird to me. Also, the fact that I could go on submission now, or I could hit publish instead. Taking control of my own author career sound very exciting to me, and to be honest, being traditionally published has never really interested me as much as it does others. So far, I’ve loved the experience but I’m still only a toe in. Next, I have to learn about paid advertising and how to reach readers, as I am very much aware that YouTube and social media does not sell your book, these are just wonderful ways to connect with other writers and share your writing journey.
All authors deserve respect for their hard work. Who helped you bring your book baby into the world and how?
I give the most thanks to my amazing beta readers!! Fifteen readers helped give insight into the story that for so long only my eyes have seen. I absolutely loved the experience, and can’t wait to share the sequel with them. The back and forth with these readers regarding their feedback was a great experience. And I have to thank YOU, Dahlia, for being a phenomenal editor and helping my book baby shine. I recommend your services to anyone looking for an editor or help on their outline.
How would you compare writing the first book in a series to writing the second book? What positive and negative experiences have you had?
Another tough question, I went into the first draft of the sequel feeling great because I knew the characters so well. In the first book, I had to rewrite a few characters to help with believability with some of the situations they faced. So I had laid a lot of groundwork for book 2, however, I didn’t realise how much of a nuisance In A Mirror would be for the timeline of the sequel, In The Haze. I have to deal with birthdays and anniversaries that are discussed in book 1 and make sure events line up in the sequel. It’s turning out to be a monster of a task!
To prepare your future readers: What can we expect from In The Haze?
You can expect another emotional rollercoaster. Expect the twins’ world to be completely flipped upside-down. They have a huge bombshell to deal with and it’s almost like they have to discover who they are all over again.
And finally, what is the best writing and non-writing advice you’ve been given and what advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The biggest game-changer was when I started looking into 'writer's block' and discovering what it truly is. I wanted to know why I wasn't writing and how I could stop the negative pattern. I realised that writer's block usually has nothing to do with your story, it has more to do with what is going on in your personal life, whether it be internal or external. Some times you need to deal with issues in your life before you can think about putting pen to paper. Whether it is imposter syndrome, an ill family member, or your workplace getting you down.
And to all the aspiring writers, don't let anyone tell you you can't write. You can do anything you want. Everyone has the power to control their own lives and change directions to a better future. We can do anything we want, it just may mean taking baby steps and a few detours to get there.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME, EMILY!
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