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!
‘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.