Welcome to April’s Featured Blog, something I’ll be posting here on Lit and Scribbles most of the month to introduce all of you to perhaps some new future friends and get to know a little more about your blogging community.
Today we’re going to chat it up with my friend Emmie Mears whom I got to know via Pitch Wars and who has recently acquired representation. Emmie writes about vamps, Scotland, writing and other fun stuff over at EmmieMears.com and soon she’ll be the published author of SHRIKE, an urban fantasy.
WHO IS EMMIE MEARS?: Student of history. Gamer. Language nerd. Displaced Celt.Emmie spends at least an hour a day preparing for or thinking about the zombie apocalypse.Future calamity notwithstanding, Emmie hunts stories in dark alleys and in stone circles and spends most nights listening for something that goes bump.
Emmie lives outside D.C. with her husband, a husky puppy who talks too much, and a tabby who thinks she’s a tiger.She is currently mucking up the lives of demon-hunters and mythology professors for her current projects. Emmie is represented by Jessica Negrón of Talcott Notch Literary Services.
J: Okay Emmie, when did you first start blogging and what is your blog about?
EM: I’ve been blogging for over a decade, but I started this blog about four years ago. At first, I wrote intermittently about writing, but in the last couple years I’ve moved toward writing about fantasy, urban fantasy, television shows, and superheroes. For the funsies!
J: Which of your posts was the most fun to write and why?
EM: Oh, there have been a ton! Anything Buffy-related is usually a blast to write about, because a lot of my readers are big Buffy fans. I also have enjoyed some of the list style posts, ie: Top 10 Superheroes It Would Really Suck to Be.
EM: I write adult urban fantasy, usually of a gritty-yet-quirky variety. My books tend to get dark, but I am an adherent of Joss Whedon’s admonition: “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”
J: Protagonist excluded, which of your characters is your favorite?
EM: Hmm. Good question. I have a character called Jezebel in the trilogy that was my first real fiction project. She started out a secondary character and had such a distinctive voice that she became a POV character sheerly because she was so fun to write. In my current WIP, I really love this half-demon hybrid called Mason. He struggles against his nature and has a deep love of the mother who died giving birth to him, and he wants more than anything to believe that others like him will try to be better than they were born to be.
J: Who are your favorite authors?
EM: I have too many to count. The authors who were most influential to me over the years were (in no particular order): R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, L.J. Smith, David Eddings, Madeleine L’Engle, Lois Lowry, S.E. Hinton, Robert Jordan, Kim Harrison, Patricia Wrede. Brilliant all. That list explains both grit and quirk in my writing style.
J: What are the last three books you read, and would you recommend them?
EM: Entangled by Nikki Jefford was a really fun, unique, mature YA novel that I’d probably call urban fantasy. It’s about one twin who dies and is resurrected into the body of her sister — but she only gets to be there every other day. It kept me up all night. I’ll also admit that I read the first two 50 Shades books just to see what the fuss was about. If you’re into erotica, skip those and read Release Me, by J. Kenner. I’m halfway through it right now, and it’s pretty fabulous. Strong female protagonist who has real ambitions and problems, and a male lead who is actually likably dangerous without completely ignoring boundaries. I don’t read much romance/erotica in general, but Release Me has been super fun. And hot. Definitely hot.
J: Do you listen to music while you write?
EM: It really depends. Most of the time, no. If I’m writing somewhere crowded, yes. I’ll listen to just about anything. Last night I was listening to The Eminem Show. Sometimes I listen to Enya. It totally depends on my mood.
J: Aside from writing, what are your favorite things to do?
EM: I love to travel. When I was fourteen, I remember answering a question on my Bolt.com profile (hey-o, anyone remember that site besides me?) where they asked if, in ten years, I’d rather have: a lot of money, advanced degrees, fame, or a passport full of stamps. I chose the passport option, and fourteen years later, it’s almost full.
J: If you could be granted one superpower, which would it be?
EM: Teleportation. Hands down. Like Davey in Jumper by Stephen Gould. (Not the godawful movie adaptation. Don’t judge a book by its movie.)
J: Where’s the farthest away from home you’ve traveled?
EM: Hmm. Probably Lwow (Lviv/Lemburg), Ukraine. I used to live in Krakow, Poland, and spent a few days in Lwow one winter. But then it depends on how you define home. 😉 I rather think of Scotland as home, so in that case, Alaska. 😀
J: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known about writing earlier?
EM: STRUCTURE. Novels have a very specific structure that is to be ignored at your own peril. Larry Brooks has a great book on it — I prefer thinking of it in four parts instead of three acts with a central pivot. If you read a lot, you probably have a decent intuition for the basics, but it doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn the ins and outs of it. If you write to publish, this is probably the single most common thing that bars the way forward aside from POV errors.
J: What advice would you give to new writers getting started on their first story?
EM: Develop a thick skin and ask for honest feedback. It’ll hurt at first. I thought my first book was a masterpiece (HA!), and when someone shredded it, it crushed me. At first. Then with some time, distance, and a very helpful multi-published author’s careful statement, “I don’t think this is submission-ready,” it finally clicked. Feedback is great, and if you can’t take it, you’re in the WRONG business. As soon as you publish anything, you open yourself up to every YouTube-commenter type of feedback. Get used to it before you’re published, and when people offer constructive criticism, give it as much consideration as you can.
THANKS MUCHLY, EMMIE!
I seriously love that Joss Whedon quote. No wonder he produces pure awesomeness. And ugh, glad I’m not the only one that couldn’t understand who gave the green light for the movie Jumper. Seriously? Seriously?! You’re awesome, Emmie. Can’t wait for your book to come out.
Okay lovelies! Questions for Emmie? Do you share any of her same favorite authors? Need any advice on the writing/querying process? Do you agree with her comment on needing thick skin? Whatever your questions/comments, let Emmie know below.
You can connect with Emmie in multiple ways, be it Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, GoodReads, or just checking out her blog in general. I would encourage you to read her post about getting an agent, it’s quite informative. And keep your eyes peeled for SHRIKE in the future.