Recently, I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them for guest-spots on my blog. (If you are interested in participating, please contact me.) I asked everyone thirty-five questions — some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries — and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Emily Bates, had some very interesting responses which I’m sure will captivate you, as well. After you read her interview, please be sure to hop on over to her blog and follow her for a regular dose of her charm. And now, heeere’s Emily…
1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:
I’m Emily Bates, author of YA fantasy novel Demon’s Heart, mother of the baby equivalent of a perpetual motion machine, German speaker, Whovian, Sherlockian. I love Keane, musicals, and the Beatles.
2. Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ehbates.author
3. How many books have you written?
Hm. I’ve started too many to count, finished three (almost four), and I have one that will be on the shelves December 9.
4. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why?
I am being traditionally published through Cedar Fort Publishing. When I finished Demon’s Heart, I spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional publishing. I didn’t feel like self-publishing was right for that book, but I was starting another novel that I was really excited about. So I decided that I would start querying on Demon’s Heart while I wrote my other novel. If I hadn’t gotten a contract before I finished that other novel, I would self-publish the second novel and see where that got me. Cedar Fort picked up Demon’s Heart, so self-publishing is off the table for me for now.
5. How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I started writing in fifth grade, but I was making up outrageously detailed games of pretend long before that. I started writing because I wanted to read a very specific kind of book, and it was nowhere to be found. So I decided to write it.
When I wanted to be an author? I’m not sure, exactly, but I do remember when it first crossed my mind that I might be able to make it as a writer. My eighth-grade English teacher assigned us to write a short story about the Civil War from the perspective of a drummer boy. I poured my whole heart into that assignment and loved it. The next year, one of my friends had the same teacher, same assignment, and she told me that the teacher had read my story aloud as an example of one of the best stories she had ever gotten from that assignment. That was when I started to get the idea that I could be an astronaut, a secret agent, a concert pianist–everything I ever wanted to be, whenever I wanted to be it. I could be an author.
6. Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?
Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Jennifer Nielsen, JK Rowling, John Flanagan, Louisa May Alcott . . . to name a few. I’m currently reading From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler by EL Konigsburg, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan.
7. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books?
I’ve always got two or three books going. I have to have something to read or my stress level goes up and my writing (and pretty much everything else in my life) suffers.
ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK::
8. What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
I’m terrible with titles. I didn’t come up with a title for Demon’s Heart until I had to send off queries. But I’m currently almost finished with the first draft of the sequel to Demon’s Heart and have started on third book in the trilogy.
9. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?
This trilogy I’m working on, like most of my novels, came from a scene that popped into my head one day long ago. It involved a little farm girl who tricks a runaway prince into weeding the garden for her. That original scene has almost nothing to do with what the story became, but I still love it.
10. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?
Of course! Here’s the deal: Young ruffian Rustav is determined to escape his abusive uncle and hated homeland, even if it means braving the demon-infested forest. His escape is halted, however, when a race of legendary beings reveal him to be the country’s fabled heir. As the people rally around him, Rustav teeters precariously between raising his people from the dust—or destroying them from the inside.
ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE::
11. How often do you write?
I try to write every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Mostly, I squeeze it in while the baby is down for her naps or late at night when I should be sleeping. But I do have a wonderful husband who will send me off to the library for an hour or two once in a while when he’s taking a break from being a PhD student.
12. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?
A little of both, I guess. I studied editing in college, so I’m fairly confident in my own editing abilities when it comes to grammar and punctuation and syntax and all those fun mechanics. But I also firmly believe in the importance of getting other eyes to find the holes in my work. I have some amazing readers who are great at pointing out some truly ridiculous issues with my characters and plot.
13. What is your method of writing? (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes? Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters? Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)
My method changes from book to book, but it generally starts with a scene that explodes into a story. I spend a while scribbling out important bits and pieces with colorful pens. Eventually, I get some semblance of a linear plot set out and get writing. I used to write until I hit a snag, go back to change and get a little farther, and so on; but I never finished anything that way. I finally realized that I need to just pound out a terrible first draft, making notes along the way of things that I need to fix, then go back and rewrite the whole thing right. When I get stuck, I reread it from the beginning; that usually gets me back into the story enough that I can see what happens next.
Thanks for the interview, Rachel! I’m excited to be a part of your awesome blog!
Thank you, Emily, for allowing me to interview you. I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.