Author interview – Emma Baird: multi-genre author extraordaire!

It’s been a little while since I last did an author interview, and I recently ‘met’ Emma Baird by the magical medium of the Interweb. With her recent release of her novel The Girl Who Swapped, I thought this would be the perfect time to interrogate her before she can recover from post-publication exhaustion.

Hi Emma, it’s great to have this chance to find out a bit more about you. Q1. What kind of books do you write?

Women’s fiction – which is a broad church, thankfully. So, I can write fantasy, chick lit, young adult, contemporary fiction, humour, adventure stories, thrillers, crime fiction… You get the picture. Women, luckily, are very open-minded about what they read. And they tend to read voraciously. I think that gives writers so much freedom.

Q2. What were your earliest influences? What did you read as a child?

I just read. And read. Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens and a lot of Greek mythology which meant I was useful for crossword clues.

I do remember loving Judy Blume. She tapped into the 80s child psyche so well. If I mentioned Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret or Forever – I’m sure there are lots of people who would nod along, saying ‘Yup! Loved those books.’ I did have to work my way through understanding American food references, though. Graham Crackers, digestives, basically.

And er… my mum had a copy of a Jackie Collins book, and a friend and I used to sneak into her room and read it. Now, that was educational.

Lol I bet it was. My parents used to go through my books quite carefully to check they were suitable. I’m glad to say a few things slipped through! They didn’t realise I read their books too! Q3. I know you’ve only recently released The Girl Who Swapped, which I’ve read and really loved by the way, so what are you working on at the moment?

 What can we look forward to in the future from you?

Oof. I went through this mad writing phase last year and finished quite a few books. They are not fit to be unleashed, however.

I do have one book that I’m quite fond of, a coming of age tale that needs a little French polishing. It is set in a small Scottish town, and it tackles lack of confidence, homosexuality, crime and acceptance. The working title is Artists Town, though I’m working on that too. Re-writing and revising is the really important bit. I wish I could find a way to stop procrastinating about it. My way of dealing with rewriting is to start another story instead!

Q4. What are your favourite authors? What are you reading now?

Otherwise, I’ve just finished Anita Brookner’s Hotel Du Lac, as I adore many of the 20thCentury women writers. I re-read my way through Barbara Pym’s books a couple of years ago, and I really enjoyed Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop. I love their observational skills, and the way they make the ‘ordinary’ so interesting.

I LOVED Lauren Graff’s Fate and Furies – and she’s a much more current writer. Special mention too, to Fiona Walker and Marion Keyes (women’s fiction experts extraordinaire). I’ve read all their books – and Marion Keyes is vastly entertaining to follow on Twitter.

Q5. What do you do when you’re not reading?

Cook. I love cooking. I don’t do anything else while doing it, but prep and cook, so it feels mindful. I walk a lot, as it’s easy exercise. Kind of fond of drinking wine too… (interestingly, you can drink and write, but you can’t drink and read!) Also, I’m very much into the 21st Century habit de jour – Netflix binge watching. What the flip did we do before Netflix?!

Q6. What is your writing process?

Boringly prosaic. A word count per day. I set it low. I read a book by Martha Beck years ago about the importance of setting small goals. So, mine is 200 words every day. As it is so low, most days I manage 500 words, so every day I get to feel like I’ve over-achieved my goal. The day job helps with that too. I’m a copywriter – blogs, website content, product descriptions, e-books, video scripts, etc. The usual deal is you get paid by word count, so that discipline makes writing for yourself a lot easier.

At least you’ve got a process that works for you! Emma, thanks so much for ‘popping along’, and I wish you every success with The Girl Who Swapped, and with your future projects. I’m looking forward to reading your Scottish-based book hopefully fairly soon. But you can’t rush these things! To find out more about Emma and her work, please follow the links below:

Links

http://emmabaird.com

http://diabetesdietblog.com

Twitter @Glitterbaker

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Author Interview – Sandra Farris tells us everything!

This week I thought it would be interesting to do something a little different. Recently (the last two years!) I’ve been really working hard tSandra Farris Nov 2014o boost my social media profile, because as we all know, a writers need a platform and a network. I’ve slowly but surely tried to embrace these somewhat alien (to me) concepts and get myself ‘out there’. The reward for that is meeting loads of amazing writers! Sandra Farris is one of them…

Sandra was press-ganged by me on social media then hounded until she graciously agreed to answer a few questions. Here are her responses:

Hi Sandra, thanks for allowing me to drag you into this. Please tell me, what kind of books do you write?

I write mostly mystery books, but I am trying different genres. I have a ghost story novella written, ready to publish, and have started two children’s short stories.

Writers are very often creative from a young age. What were your earliest influences?

Movies were one of my earliest influences, especially the first Tammy movie (Tammy and the Bachelor). I wanted to write a story like that. The other was my 9th grade English teacher who encouraged me to enter writing contests.  She was my first cheerleader outside my home. Also, I had three younger sisters at that time (became four later), and I would make up stories to entertain them. I soon started writing the stories down and sharing them with friends.

What are you working on at the moment?

I just got the sequel to Can You Hear the Music? back from my editor, and I am working on correcting the mistakes. I’m also working on a book that is a little darker than my other ones. It follows the protagonist’s search to learn the identity and find the parents of a teenager who died as a result of childbirth. Her search takes her into the shadowy world of teens living on the street and their predators.

I can’t wait to get stuck into Can You Hear The Music, as well as others of your books. What can we look forward to in the future from you?

I have a ghost story novella ready to publish. I also want to finish the book mentioned above. I have a couple of projects started, just notes and a few scenes, but I’m not sure about them yet. I also have a short story I “unpublished” to rework, hopefully making it better.

I suppose we take it as read that writers love books. What are you currently reading?

First In Texas by Bob Arnold.

In this digital world we are bombarded with information and ideas. What was the most useful piece of advice you ever received as a writer?

Read, read, read.

Sandra, thank you so much for coming along. And all the best for your next book, I will be waiting impatiently for it. I hope everyone enjoys reading a bit more about you, and watching the wonderful, wonderful trailer for Can You Hear The Music. For further information about Sandra and for more details about her books, please follow the links below.

About Sandra Farris:

Born in Texas, I lived for a time in Los Angeles, California. I later moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I retired from a government job to finally fulfill my dream of being a published author. Having started writing at an early age, it seemed a long difficult road, but I finally got there. I have four novels and two short stories published.

My first love, of course, is writing. Then I love to read, travel (especially cruises) and have been lucky enough to visit several countries abroad.

I am also a cancer survivor, which, aside from my three sons, is probably my greatest accomplishment, then my writing.

I love the desert southwest with its distinct beauty. I like to dabble in amateur photography, and the scenery here tempts me away from my writing at times.

My son created a trailer for my book, Can You Hear the Music? which has won two awards:  Books ’N Sync’s Best Book Trailer, March 2012, and the International Movie Trailer Film Festival 2013.

The link to the trailer is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMzcqsMzF5E

He also uploaded a short video showing how he accomplished the visual effects: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSt8P8b_Wfw

Other links:

Linkedin : www.linkedin.com/pub/sandy-farris/18/340/2a2/

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/writersan

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Can-You-Hear-The-Music/456396787733038

https://www.facebook.com/authorsandrafarris

My books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Farris/e/B005ZRBMLE/

My books are also on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Sandra-Farris?store=book&keyword=Sandra+Farris

My books, Lady Ace and Can You Hear the Music?, are also on ACX audio books.

Let’s Be Nice Out There!

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We are all encouraged to use social media not only in our personal lives, but also in our business lives and in our personal development and education.

As a writer who is trying to build relationships with other writers and to reach out to readers, and to promote my writing as well as find work as a freelance proofreader/editor, I spend a huge amount of time everyday ‘networking’.

But increasingly I am withdrawing from discussion groups and forums.  I find them too combative.  Now, I don’t think of myself as a shrinking violet and I’m fairly thick-skinned, but I’ve seen some nasty things online just lately!

For example, someone came onto Site A and, clearly having a dark afternoon of the soul, said something along the lines of “finding it so tough to sit down and write today”.  I reckoned they were looking for a friendly comment along the lines of, “I know what you mean, been there myself, but tomorrow will be better, hang on in there”.

But no.  Person X decides to say “you’re obviously not cut out to be a writer if you give up at the slightest setback.  Maybe you should find something you’d be better at.” What ensued can only be described as a brawl.  And it’s not an isolated case.  It seems to be happening everywhere online at the moment – one person reaches out, opens up, and someone else decides to stamp on their heart.

Why?

Otherwise perfectly pleasant people have fisticuffs over what constitutes Mystery, Suspense or Thriller, or how to define Life Writing and whether it’s the same as Memoir.  ‘Expertise’ and ‘Qualifications’ are brought into play in what essentially boils down to a ‘my dad’s bigger than your dad’ situation.

I can’t be doing with it.  As my mother taught me, good manners cost nothing.  She also said, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

All I’m saying is, we all struggle sometimes, even at doing things we love or have a flair for, and with the anonymity of social media, remember you may not know the whole story.  So, please folks, let’s be nice out there.