Feb 13, 2015

Interview with Emily

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
It took writing Sacrificed for me to realize I wanted to be a writer. Even when I was having fun in the early outlining steps, I was still very hesitant to consider writing as a career choice. It was probably sometime in the middle of my junior year at Princeton that I realized that I was being stupid to ignore how much I loved storytelling.

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?
When I realized I couldn’t write off becoming a writer, I painfully struggled for a year or so with my new decision. Definitely the hardest part about being a writer (so far!) was the huge amount of doubt and insecurity I felt in my senior year of school. There I was, surrounded by some of the most driven people all on their way to amazing careers. I can’t tell you how many times I questioned my choice as I watched my peers land stable, paying jobs. It was especially hard because while I was completing my psychology degree I didn’t exactly have the freedom to do any creative writing. But then I graduated, and I was finally able to remember what it was I loved about writing—storytelling. Just nothing compares.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
I want to say it involved a magical unicorn, but let’s just pretend that didn’t happen…

What made you create (your book)?  How did it come to you?
All right, this is a slightly embarrassing story. In the middle of my sophomore year, I started looking into internships appropriate for a psychology major.  When I told my parents about my plans, my dad countered with, “You should write a YA novel.” You see, I was mildly obsessed with YA at the time (still am). Still, I saw this as the single most ridiculous thing my father has ever said. How was I supposed to write a novel? My friends and I all had a pretty good laugh over it—silly dad doesn’t understand anything. But as I kept reading YA, I started to think about the things that worked and didn’t work in all my favorite novels. Add in an oracle, and you have the genesis of what would later become Sacrificed. What did I end up doing that summer? I outlined Sacrificed. I would resent that my dad got his way, if he wasn’t so right.

Who is your literary hero?
Jane Austen. Her novels are incredibly entertaining with pacing and humor that feel so ahead of their time and swoon worthy male leads who pretty much set the bar for romantic interests (I’m looking at you, Mr. Darcy). But what sets her truly above everyone else is the devastating wit that colors every sentence of her novels. Seriously, I dare you to find a quote from any of her novels that doesn’t have two or three layers of meaning hidden beneath the surface.

How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
In a weird way, Clio’s character arc parallels my own journey to accept writing. For a long time I didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of my writer family, just like Clio doesn’t want anything to do with her Oracle inheritance. By the end of the novel Clio has to learn to stop fighting her destiny just like I had to learn to embrace the writer in me. Of course her struggle is much more epic and action-packed.

Describe your main character in six words.
Stubborn, resilient, quick-witted, loving, brave, imperfect

Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Warring, treacherous, cruel, imperial, ideological, mystical

What scene was your favorite to write?
Anything with action. The scene where Clio and Riece fight off some would-be assassins was particularly fun. Something about trying to capture adrenaline on the page is in itself an adrenaline rush.

What scene was the hardest for you to write?
The scene directly after the pyramid escape. I had just finished a big batch of action, and suddenly I was faced with needing to move forward the emotional progression of Riece and Clio. I threw out several versions because the emotional logic just wasn’t right. Clio’s very untrusting in general, yet she feels this strange bond with Riece, then add in her Oracle burdens and I was juggling too many things that all sort of had to come to a head in the scene.

What are you working on now?
The next book in The Last Oracle Series. I especially love getting feedback on Sacrificed because it gives me material to focus on, smooth out, and improve! I have a couple other projects in the pipeline as well.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
Release The Last Oracle, Book 2 this year!

Are there any authors or books you recommend?
Definitely The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. If you like YA action, adventure, laugh-out-loud humor and steamy romance then this is among the best I’ve ever read. Don’t be scared away by the somewhat elaborate world set up—paranormal and post-apocalypse collide in the most awesome genre-bending I’ve yet seen in YA. Also for you sci-fi lovers, the Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown. The writing is haunting, the world is dazzlingly unique, and the characters breath new life into dystopian YA.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
Well, reading of course. I’m determined to finish A Song of Ice and Fire before the next season of Game of Thrones airs.