A superhero in denim and platform shoes? Read on and find out more…
If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?
I started writing again after a massive trauma in my life. Writing was a thing I’d always done as a child if ever I was upset or worried about anything but I hadn’t written anything for about fifteen years at that point. Then one day when things got particularly bad I opened up my laptop and started working on a piece of creative writing, which somehow grew into a novel called Strains from an Aeolian Harp about a man who was a womaniser and a chancer and who had a fatal addiction to opium which would drag all those around him into a world they never could have imagined. Thankfully life is much happier these days. My new novel, Five Guns Blazing hopefully reflects that. It’s an historical adventure set on the high seas. I wanted to write a story that I could completely get lost in, a real whirlwind of a novel.
All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.
My mild mannered identity? I am complete buffoon! Only this evening I managed to step in a bowl of cat food and fall over on my kitchen floor! I lose house keys and debit cards on a regular basis and I can’t tell my left from my right, or do my six, seven or eight times tables!
Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?
My partner in crime is my son, who has incredible superpowers which make me happy and make me laugh every day. He’s overcome such a lot; he’s my real superhero.
Where do you get your superpowers from?
Coffee… and wine. Yep, mostly wine 🙂
Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?
My bedroom. It’s my haven in the house. I’ve got painted white floorboards and powder blue walls. There are twinkly lights round my bed and usually some jazz music playing. I do most of my writing in bed. It’s not very good for my back!
What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good?
I try to recharge by doing yoga and keeping fit. I love live music and live comedy and try to get to see those as often as I can. Lots of the festivals are quite child-friendly, which makes it easier. If I can manage it I also love to have a spa day once in a while.
Granted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?
It would be a marvellous denim dress, with some fabulous platform shoes… which, no doubt would make me fall over.
What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?
A ticking clock would be my kryptonite. It’s so difficult to find time to write. I’m a single mum with a five year old boy and I work part time as an interpreter. I waited a very long time for my son to come along and my writing has to take a backseat to him. I spend my weekends doing things like roller skating, picking fruit and baking pies. By the time I even manage to sit down at a computer it’s at least 9:30pm. But I wouldn’t have it any other way; becoming a mum is the best thing I ever did.
What was the supervillian that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
I’d say the biggest villain is myself. I constantly worry whether my writing is good enough and whether people will like it. I also worry about my family reading some of the steamier scenes! Some of my work is quite controversial; my latest novel Five Guns Blazing deals with themes of slavery and exploitation, and my first novel was about drug addiction and domestic violence during the 1920s. I think a lot about how it will be received.
What important lessons have you learned along the way?
That if you think your manuscript is ready for submission, it probably isn’t. Hiring a good editor was the best writing decision I ever made. He turned my rough diamond into a polished gem. Editors will look out for repetition, typos and grammatical errors, and suggest improvements to characterisation and plot. Every time I work with an editor I learn so much. I truly believe that without an editor I would not have won the award or sealed a publishing deal. I’ve also learnt that you have to be very careful which publisher you submit to. Some are brilliant, some are no more than vanity outfits. I believe you are selling yourself and your work short if you pay to have it published, but it is so difficult to get an agent or a publisher these days, that route can be very tempting.
What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
Winning the Legend category in the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction this year gave me a huge sense of achievement, but signing a deal with Crooked Cat Publishing has been the best experience. All of their authors have been so welcoming and supportive; it’s been amazing. They also suggested I host an on-line launch party which I absolutely loved doing; so many people sent their well-wishes and sent pirate jokes, and pirate food and drink, which were all in-keeping with my novel.
If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I wouldn’t change anything. It’s been a blast!
Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
Five Guns Blazing is an epic tale of piracy, slavery and treason. Readers are invited to join Laetitia Beedham, a convict’s daughter whose new life puts her in a workhouse, on a ship across the Atlantic, to the plantations of Barbados and finally into the clutches of treacherous pirates John Rackham, Mary Read and Anne Bonny. Laetitia finds herself against the clock in a race to escape death; a bold, gripping journey that will force her to face the truth about her past.
Five Guns Blazing is already an award wining novel in the United States and has spent several days at #1 in the Caribbean and Latin American Historical Fiction chart on Amazon UK.
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
I’m trying to find a home for my children’s picture book series The Amazing Adventures of Nathan Molloy and for my first novel Strains from an Aeolian Harp, which is a historical drama based in the jazz age. I’m also working on a third novel called The Women Friends, which is based on a painting of the same name by Gustav Klimt which was burnt by the Nazis on the last day of World War II
You can find Emma at: