Today I’m chuffed to be interviewing Emma Slaughter.
Hi Emma. Welcome. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name’s Emma, I’m 33 years old, so only just an adult in Hobbit years!
- When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I don’t think I realised as such. I never ‘wanted to be a writer’ as in planned it, I just got a story in my head one day that refused to leave until I had written it down, and it spiralled from there.
2. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’m realistic. Very few writers become successful enough to do it full time, much less have a comfortable living off of it. I’m satisfied if I reach people with my writing, no matter how few people that may be. Although the successful writer bit is always a dream, even if it is a pipe one!
3. Which writers inspire you?
I used to say people like Stephen King and Jo Rowling, Stephen for the sheer volume of quality work he produces, and Jo for the fact she was one of the rags to riches success stories that every fledgling writer dreams of. Now it’s those I have made friends with online – David Mccaffrey, Chris Trebault-Blay, Rob Enright, Donna Maria McCarthy – real authors who make such an effort with fellow writers. They make you feel like you are part of a community.
4. So, what have you written? Only one novel so far – Lonely As A Cloud – a diary from the point of view of the last human being alive, and her journey to find other survivors, interspersed with mother nature explaining why the human race had to be wiped out. I did write poetry when I was a young angsty teen but they were God awful.
5. What are you working on at the minute?
I’m currently editing my second book – The Ghost Lights.
6. Why do you write?
Because I have stories to tell. Also because it helps my anxiety and depression.
7. Where do your ideas come from?
Some from real life, some from noticing a gap in certain subjects (for example there are few books post-apocalyptic that have just one survivor) and some spiral from reading an unusual fact about something. For example The Ghost Lights is inspired by the lights that are left on at all times in a theatre. In reality this stemmed from the fact the lights were gas powered, so a light left on helped prevent the build-up of gas leading to explosions. The fiction was that the light was left on for the theatre’s resident ghost. Although there are no ghosts in the book!
8. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
A mismatch of methods. I usually start writing from an initial idea, and then if I find it’s stalling a little I will work out a rough outline so I know where to go next.
9. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve become more disciplined…for the most part. I’ve also learned how to look at my work objectively, and to ignore reviews. Bad or good, it’s somebody’s opinion.
10. What is the hardest and easiest things about writing?
Easiest thing is writing when you have got into the right mind-set. In fact it’s hard to stop when the inspiration hits. The hardest thing can be the opening line.
11. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read a lot! I don’t have a favourite author per se, I just go to the library every couple of weeks and pick up a dozen books.
12. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? The main advantage about self-publishing is that you don’t have to wait for a publisher to decide whether your book is marketable, and that you have total creative control. Paradoxically this is also the negative – unless you have the money you have to rely on yourself (or possibly some nice friends) to edit, develop a cover, format the book properly and above all market it.
13. Do you have any advice for other budding authors?
Never stop. Even if you think your work is never going to be popular it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you touch one person with your story.
14. How do you relax?
I craft. Cross stitch, paper-craft, jewellery making, mixed media…you name it I do it.
15. What is your favourite book and why?
I don’t have one! So many books, so little time.
16. Which character from any book you’ve read, would you like to be and why?
That’s a hard one! I’ll narrow it down to two – Mr Jingles from The Green Mile purely because I’d love to do nothing but roll a spool and eat peppermint candies all day, and Peeves from Harry Potter cos he looks like he has some fun! Sorely missing from the last book I think.
Thanks Emma for a nice chat. You’ve opened my eyes to the joys of being a mouse.
Check back soon for more interviews. Here are Emma’s various links. Check her out: