When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
By the time I was twelve, I’d written two full novels—longhand, in notebooks. By sixteen, I’d written three more on the ancient typewriter my parents gave me for my birthday. While those manuscripts are maudlin and full of teenage angst and will never see the light of day (they’re currently buried in an undisclosed location) they were my start as a “real writer.” I don’t write because I want to—I write because I have to. It’s something I really think I was just born to do.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m always writing. I don’t have a real schedule. Schedules annoy me. I write when I want, for as long as I want, and take breaks when I feel I need them.
Why did you self-publish?
Because I didn’t want the hassle of taking the time to send out queries to agents. I figured my books would speak for themselves. If people liked them, they’d buy them. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t. Self-publishing seemed like the best way to test the market for my novels.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Gardening, tending bees, talking walks with Rodeo, my boxer, and spending time with my family. I’ve dabbled in photography and I enjoy doing yoga. I’m also a horrible television addict and spend far too much time watching Downton Abbey, Mad Men and The Walking Dead.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Write. Write, write, write. If you’re not writing, you’re not learning. I’m always learning when I’m writing. And when you’re ready, find someone to read your work—preferably several someones who have no vested interest in making you happy (i.e. not your mother, grandmother or significant other!) Learn to take criticism and adapt. Incorporate what feels true and leave the rest. The only time this doesn’t apply is the “majority rule”—if the majority of people have told you something about your novel, assume it’s true, even if you can’t see it.
What is New Adult/Mature Young Adult/Upper Young Adult Fiction? And why did you decide on this genre?
You know how we needed the term “tween” for those kids ages nine to fourteen or so, girls that are “too old for toys, but too young for boys?” Because you don’t just skip from childhood to being a teen the moment you turn thirteen right? So it is with adulthood—you also don’t magically morph into an adult when you turn eighteen. “New Adult” is about those ages between eighteen and twenty-six, focusing on college-aged kids who are just trying out their wings in the world, taking their first baby steps into lives of their own. This type of fiction features protagonists who fall into the “new adult” category and deals with themes that (hopefully) tweens and young adults aren’t ready to handle on a mature level yet—sexual relationships, developing identity, negotiating college or military deployment or their first “real” jobs, dealing with commitment or engagement, domestic violence, drug and alcohol use, family problems, etc. New Adult can fall into any genre (contemporary, mystery, horror, romance, comedy etc) but its defining feature remains the age of the characters and the more adult themes they are dealing with as they enter the “grown-up” world. As for why I chose New Adult—I really didn’t. It chose me. I was writing “new adult” fiction before it became a thing, when there was no true market for it. For a long time, “New Adult” fiction had the same problem that tweens did—it straddled the fence. New Adult fiction fell into the cracks between two genres—a little too mature for young adults, but not quite right for full adult readership either. Now I’m glad to have found a home in “New Adult,” a place to belong, and I plan on settling in and staying here a long time!
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A writer. Go figure! Or a marine biologist. I wanted to work at Sea World and swim with the whales and dolphins. When I found out that most marine biologists spend their time in a lab with a microscope, I decided I’d rather spend my time at a typewriter with my imagination!
What are you working on now?
The next bestselling new-adult horror novel! There hasn’t been one yet, but I’m writing it as we speak, at least in my head. It’s been too long since we had a good horror romp with a Scooby-gang and a mystery to unravel!
Do you make your bed in the morning?
Yes. Not because I’m a neat freak, but because pulling back the covers at night to climb in is like unwrapping a new present every night! Can you tell I love sleep?
Do you get road rage?
I don’t drive enough to get road rage. That’s one nice thing about living in a small town—we might have fewer choices, but there are never any crowds! I get a good parking space wherever I go and everyone stops to say “hi” and chat.
What scares you?
And global thermonuclear war.
Have you ever been arrested?
Yes. Twice, believe it or not. Both misdemeanors and they were both my husband’s fault!
How do you feel about libraries “banning” books?
I’m not in favor of any sort of censorship to be honest. I’m one of those people who would defend your right to say whatever you like. Banning “evil” or “bad” books just draws more attention to them. And what you focus on or pay attention to, persists. If we’d turn the attention and cameras away from, for example, the Westboro Baptist folks, they would eventually give up and go away. But I understand it’s a hard stance to take—I never liked it when my parents told me, “Ignore those kids making fun of you, they’ll stop when they realize they aren’t getting your attention.” Yes, I’m admitting it; my parents were right about that!
What’s the greatest thing you learned in school?
Typing. Ninety words per minute! It sure made writing novels much easier! Oh, and how to take naps in the middle of the day. And don’t forget to eat a snack around eleven. And second breakfast. Oh wait, I learned that from Tolkien…
Chocolate or vanilla?
But I love anything with *true* vanilla bean in it!
Dogs or cats?
I’m allergic to cats. I love them, but I’m allergic! 🙁
Tea or coffee?
Constant Comment. With a splash of milk and lots of sugar. Or stevia. I love sugar, but it doesn’t love me!
Light side or dark side?
Can’t have one without the other!
Five random facts about Emme
I have a tattoo on my inner wrist. I eat grilled cheese slathered with mayonnaise and topped with dill pickles. My first job was as a telemarketer in the mall taking surveys. I have a sister out there I’ve never met, and another who was hit by a car when she was three. I watch American Idol—and I vote!