This week we have another unpublished author to introduce you to, another author I discovered on Twitter. She is very witty and gave me a good giggle when I was putting this all together. Have a read and hopefully we will all be able to say we knew her when….
You are an, as yet, unpublished author. What can you tell us about your journey so far?
It’s been long? Just kidding, my journey has been just a quick trip compared to some. I’ve been putting words on paper for the last decade, beginning with middle-grade fantasy and landing smack bang in the middle of romance about seven years ago. It continues to be a draining, exhilarating, inspirational ride.
When did you know you wanted to be a published author? (Working of course on the assumption that it’s what you’re working towards)
I’ve always been an avid reader, to the point where my sixth grade teacher wondered why I didn’t write better stories—I always had my head in a book. Funnily, I met that same teacher again a number of years later when we were both students in an English class at university. The lecturer of that class asked if I had ever considered publishing my short pieces. I hadn’t, of course, publishing being something that ‘other people’ did, but she planted a seed. That seed has now grown exponentially and taken root in my brain and won’t let me go.
You are a member of SARA, RWA and Dark Side DownUnder, what can you tell us about them?
SARA (South Australian Romance Authors) is a fabulous group, based in Adelaide. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to meet some local romance authors—crazy people who may or may not spend all day in their PJ’s drinking too much coffee and talking to their pets—and feel connected. Writing can be a lonely job, so reaching out to real people is important. They are collectively awesome.
RWA (Romance Writers of Australia) is the professional association for romance writers in Australia. They are a volunteer-run group that supports writers in many different ways, from running conferences to organizing online groups to offering grants. They’re also wonderful. Very informative.
The DarkSiders are a merry band of nutjobs. That’s not true, of course (much), but we are all RWA members who write some form of Speculative Fiction. Spec fic is the umbrella term some people use to describe the genres of Paranormal, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk and more.
I was reading on your website that you judged the Romantic Book of the Year for RWA and Heart of Denver’s Molly contests. Can you tell us a little bit about how they work?
The Romantic Book of the Year (also, the R*BY, and the Ruby) is a competition run by the RWA. Each year, any Australian or New Zealand romance author may submit their published print books into the competition to vie for the prize. Civilians (people who are not crazy romance authors) are asked to read the books and rate them. Those results are collated and the Romantic Book of the Year is announced at the RWA National conference awards dinner, which is quite a glitzy shindig.
The Molly is different, but is similar to a lot of writing contests out there. It’s run by The Heart of Denver Romance Writers, and is an unpublished romance manuscript contest. Writers who are unpublished often submit their work to contests to gain feedback before they send it out to publishing houses.
I Love Books! I love holding them and owning them; looking at them and flicking their pages and reading them. I’m a traditionalist like that but at times I do think e-books would be more convenient. As a reader what’s your stand on e-books?
The hard-hitting question! Had you asked me two years ago, I would have told you that nothing beats a print book. I know what you mean about the looking and the flicking and the smelling (sorry, did that get weird?). I would go to our little local library and borrow what books I could, read them, maybe sniff them, then have to return them. It was quite sad.
Then I got a device that reads eBooks. Oh, lordy me. I could get all kinds of awesome things like samples and books that had been released that morning. If I decide I absolutely must read a novel about a girl with a phenomenal IQ who falls in with a band of pirates who are trying to get their livelihood back, at two in the morning, I can go to my online bookstore and be reading in two minutes. It’s right up there with ice-cream & cola spiders, puppy kisses and warm sunshine on your back. Bliss.
They are easier to store, always neat, and on devices you can mark and annotate. Of course, if you drop your eReader in the bath, you’re in trouble (I have a SARA friend who pops hers in a ziplock bag before stepping into the tub.).
The only downside is, when you’re reading in bed and you fall asleep, a big eReader can leave a nasty bruise on your forehead when you drop it. But, hey, so could War and Peace.
Is your opinion of e-books any different if you look at them from the perspective of a writer?
I was just having this discussion with a friend (of the Ziplock Bag Solution) the other day. I love eBooks as a reader and a writer. Some writers feel that ePublished books bring down the literary tone of print books, but I’m of the more, the merrier camp. There are bad books in both print and eVersion. EPublishing is a rolling stone, though. It’s gaining more kudos every year, and it’s come such a long way already.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re writing at the moment?
I’ve just started a romance/comedy/paranormal about Audrey–a snarky, straight-laced science teacher who is haunted by the spirit of her cranky predecessor. Audrey doesn’t believe a word of it, but there is a very appealing English teacher who is convinced that there is a mystery to solve. Of course, that’s not all he’s keen to unravel. When the bullets start flying, they need to work together before someone gets killed.
(Michelle’s note: Sounds good – put me on the review list when you get it published…)
I believe you just had a change of direction, what can you tell us about that?
I did! I’ve always loved reading fantasy and dark paranormal, so that was what I was trying to write. But, I have this kind of rampant streak of clown in me that means I can’t seem to write without pulling out the odd one-liner for giggles. My critique partners (other writers I share my works-in-progress with for feedback and support)–one of whom is Anna Hackett (www.annahackettbooks.com), and the other the lovely Rach from NZ–said I wasn’t being true to my authorial voice. So, after a small struggle (with myself), I changed what I write and I love it. I feel much more at home with the more comedic side of romance. And my paranormal now is lighter, more magical than dark.
You are a voracious reader, what are you reading at the moment?
It might be easier to list what I’m not reading… No, I’ve usually got a few books on the go—one on my phone, eReader and in print. I’m actually a notorious reading tart. If it’s a good romance, I’m anybody’s. I have Johanna Lindsay’s Hearts Aflame on the phone, Marian Keyes’ Brightest Star in the Sky on the bedside table and Erica Hayes’ Shadowfae in the iPad. Oh, there might be a craft book or two lying about as well. That’s the great thing about books—there are always fabulous new stories being created for us!
Have you got a single favourite book or author of all time?
No (see above regarding reading hussy). Sometimes, I think I’ve got it nailed, but then I read something else awesome and the goal posts move!
You read voraciously, you write, you blog and you have a family – how do you manage to juggle it all?
I don’t? I guess I always make sure the family is happy first (with three kids under nine, they will soon let me know if they’re not happy with the service. And hubs isn’t backwards either), then I tackle the writing next. Then, the online stuff gets done—I’m one of those that feel an online presence is important for a writer—and in any time spare, I’ll read. Even if it means I have to get up at five in the morning! It helps that the kids go to bed at eight pm, and that we own a lot of socks. Because there’s a fair chance that I’ve not done the washing yet…
And finally, what does being a woman mean to you?
Being a woman means I can roll my eyes when my husband mentions that I’ve only ever got two hands, so why do I need so many handbags? Same goes, of course, when he mentions my two feet and my shoe collection, and my one neck and my multitude of scarves. It’s a girl thing, dude.
Thank you so much for your time Emmeline.
Thank you, Michelle!
My blurb went missing… so now I have to bring you a new one. One that is a little broader too.
I devour books, vampires and supernatural creatures are my genre of choice but over the past couple of years I have broadened my horizons considerably.
I inhale music, hair metal that satisfies my inner bogan is where my musical passion lies, but again I’ve been exposed to lots of different music I wouldn’t normally listen to and have broadened those horizons also.
In a nutshell – I love to write! I love interacting with a diverse range of artists to bring you interviews.
Perhaps we were perfect before – I LOVE WORDS! Reading, writing, speaking, listening – if it’s got words I’m there!