An Interview with Rebecca Emin

I first met Rebecca Emin via Twitter last year, and I never cease to be amazed by how she manages to juggle three small children with her writing. I eagerly read every short story she wrote, so when she announced that her first novel was being published, I couldn’t wait to read it. I wasn’t disapointed. Although it is aimed at 8-12 year olds, I could barely put it down. My only problem is that she didn’t write it about twenty years ago!

Anyway, I am thrilled that Rebecca took the time from her impossibly busy schedule to be interviewed on my blog.   Read on because there is also a chance to win an advance copy of her debut novel ‘New Beginnings’.

Hello Rebecca and welcome to my blog!

When did you first realise that you wanted to be a writer?

I can remember when I took English Language O’Level (that shows my age) it was my favourite subject, and I got an A in it. I went to thank my teacher at the start of the next term and told her that one day I would write a novel. Ever since then I have thought about it on and off, but it was only when I was rapidly approaching 40 that I told myself to get on and do so. I didn’t want to look back in years to come and wish I had done so, when it was too late.

What made you decide to write for children/young adults?

This is a really interesting question because the day before I started my book, ‘New Beginnings’, during NaNoWriMo 2009, I was planning to write for adults. Then suddenly the story clicked in my head and I started writing about Sam who is 11 at the start of the book. I find I really enjoy writing for children. I love their reactions when I read to them and I find it wonderful to get back into the mindset of being so much younger. I keep thinking I will write a book for adults one day but I am not sure if I actually will. My second book ‘When Dreams come True’ is also for younger readers.

You have three young children, how do you manage to fit in writing time? Do you stick to any sort of schedule or do you write as and when you can?

My eldest child and my middle son are now at primary school. My youngest son is now 4 and goes to pre-school part time, so I have to say things are getting a little easier as far as finding time is concerned. However it’s pushing aside all the other jobs that is my main problem now. There always seems to be so much to do! I know I am not alone in this.

How difficult do you find it to juggle the different aspects of your life?

Almost impossible. I always put my children and husband first, then with the rest of the time I do company administration, housework and finally my writing. The times I actually find hardest are when my stories are flowing and I feel the need to write a lot. That is when I can feel a bit frustrated. Sometimes it’s nice when I go off the idea of writing for a week or so, it gives me a bit of a break from the frustration!

How does your family react to your writing?

This is another very interesting question. My mum has always been very excited about all of my writing. Other members of my family have been various levels of supportive, apathetic to actually quite negative about it. However, things seem to have changed dramatically since I have had copies of my novel in my hand. My mum read it in under a day and everyone else seems to be quite excited now, which is absolutely lovely.

How do you approach your writing, do you work from an outline or go with the flow?

I’m definitely a ‘go-with-the-flow’ type of writer. I always sit and write what comes into my head.

Are there any particular authors who have inspired you and your writing?

One of my favourite authors is Mike Gayle. I like his style of writing and I read his books and thought there are (very loose) similarities with how I want to write, so he inspired me to actually get on and write. Also Freya North, who I messaged on Facebook several years ago and dropped a little note about wanting to be a writer, she put a great deal of effort into replying to me and was very lovely and encouraging and I never forgot that. Both of these authors have been very approachable but since I discovered Twitter, I have met lots of other authors who have also been lovely and shared ideas and even friendship. This has had a huge impact on me. The short answer is, authors have inspired me as people really, as for reading, I read a lot but no one author has influenced my writing style.

Your début novel ‘New Beginnings’ is out in early 2012. Can you tell us more about it?

‘New Beginnings’ is about a girl called Sam who starts at senior school and finds herself picked on by bullies. The story relates how she deals with the situation, as well as touching on other friendships she makes. She is also keen on drama and music, and we see how she takes this hobby forward. I am donating 10% of my royalties to Bullying UK who are a charity who help victims of bullying. What inspired you to write this story? I know many people who have been bullied, including myself. I wanted to write something that focuses on this and show that there can still be positives even when at times the situation can feel very bleak.

Are you working on any new projects? 

My second story for children ‘When Dreams Come True’ is at first draft stage, so I still have a long way to go with that one but I have enjoyed writing it a lot. It’s about a girl who has always had vivid dreams and then some start to come true. She also has a lot of family traumas going on during the book so there is a lot to get to grips with.

Have you any advice for aspiring authors?

Make the time, because it will be worth it if you get your story written.
Get as much feedback as you can and try to realise quickly that helpful criticism or a hard edit may feel quite painful at the time but its actually going to help you become a better writer.
If you want to write…write!

Fancy winning a copy?

 ‘New Beginnings’ is out next year, but one lucky person can get their hands on an advance copy. All you have to do to be in with a chance is leave a comment below. Names will be picked at random on Tuesday 10th August at 3pm GMT.

 

To find out more about Rebecca, visit her blog – Ramblings of a Rusty Writer, Twitter or Facebook pages.

A list of her other publications and free reads can be located on her blog.

 

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15 thoughts on “An Interview with Rebecca Emin

  1. Congrats Rebecca! 🙂

    Always an exciting time waiting for a book release.

    I’m with you… I fly by the seat of my pants when I write… although I have been taking more notes then ever for my projects. But an outline? Nah, not my cup of tea.

    Very ncie blog Emma! 🙂

    -jb
    (www.JimBronyaur.com)

  2. Lovely interview, Rebecca and Emma. I love YA fiction, although I’ve never tried my hand at writing it. I can relate to the pressures of family and all the other jobs; your advice to make the time for it is spot on.

  3. Thanks Jim, I am glad it’s not just me who doesn’t plan :o)

    Peter, thanks for your relentless cheerleading for my book. Much appreciation :o)

    Nancy, thanks for the comment. I just need to learn to practice what I preach now, and make more time for my writing!

    Rebecca
    xx

  4. Fabulous interview of a wonderfully talented author. I too remember O Levels, though I didn’t get an A in English! And I also love Freya North’s work.

    Very best of luck with your book, Rebecca. I’ll definitely be getting a copy.

    CJ xx
    Kathryn Brown, Author

  5. Hearing stories like Rebecca’s always makes me happy. Having completed NaNo twice, I’m determined to edit one novel and try to get it published. Maybe 2011 will be my NaNo year?
    Great interview Emma.

  6. Great interview, ladies, and I can totally empathise with how frustrated Rebecca gets when everyday life gets in the way and prevents her from writing because it’s happening to me at the moment!

    All the very best with the book (and all future ones), Rebecca, and no need to include me in the draw as I have my very own signed copy waiting to be read.

  7. Reading about other writers having difficulty finding the time to write and succeeding is always such an inspiration and incentive. It’s important to believe that it can be done.

    Great interview.

  8. Thanks to everyone who has visited so far, it was lovely being interviewed by Emma, and it seems a lot of us have issues with finding the time to write. It helps to know you’re not alone! xx

  9. KevSparrow says:

    Hey Rebecca.
    Congratulations on getting something in print! That is a major achievement, and for me that would be a life aim, a goal if you like, a big challenge. I was similar to you in Secondary School, I also walked away with an A for English Literature O level (yeah I guess we do show our ages!), and it was my English Teacher who was one of the only Teachers who showed any interest in me, she was really lovely.

    Time to write? I have that now, but I can appreciate how hard it must be balancing your three children, taking to school, looking after, plus your work as well. Perhaps you become more creative because of this however, and certainly your lifestyle would shape what kind of things you actually write as well. This is good. JK Rowling did well after all..so well.

    I wish you well. Good Luck for future literary endeavours!

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