Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Author Spotlight - Emmie Dark

Today we welcome debut author Emmie Dark into our Spotlight.  Emmie hails from Australia, and writes for Harlequin SuperRomance. You can find out more about her at her website and on her blog.

• What is your writing process?
I like to write every day if I can. Usually it’s the first thing I do in the morning, and because I’m not yet a full-time writer, I get up early, grab my laptop, get writing and then once I’ve hit my day’s word count, I get on with the rest of the tasks for the day. I’m definitely a pantser not a plotter, I need to get quite a way into my story in order to work out what’s going to happen! Once I get a good way into the story then I find the threads start to come together and I can go back and layer things in.

• Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
Some days it is definitely hard. It’s not much of an answer, but I just literally force myself to sit down and do it anyway. Even if I don’t feel ‘in the mood’ or inspired by what I’m writing. I just keep going. Sometimes my eyes are peeled to the word counter at the bottom of the screen and I’m just desperate for that number to reach my goal for the day so I can move on. But at least I’ve written something. Sometimes I might have to go back and change or edit, but that’s better than still having a blank page!

• Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
Like many writers I have back problems so I’m quite religious about doing stretching exercises every day. I like to walk and do yoga, so although I’m not really a gym junkie I do realise I need to take care of my body so it can keep my brain and typing fingers in business!

• Do you believe in writer's block?
Hmmm! Tricky question! I don’t know. I’m not sure if I do. I’ve certainly had times when writing hasn’t come easily for me, and times when it’s just flowed as if I was possessed. I’ve found being a published author has been challenging because while I’m trying to write a new book I’ve had to be very focussed on publicity for Cassie’s Grand Plan, and that means I keep having to shift my ‘head space’ from one story to another. That, and all the activity involved in publicity, has got in the way of me writing – but I’m not sure if I’d call it writer’s block!

• Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?
Cassie is the manager of a chain of retail furniture stores. My parents ran their own furniture businesses most of my life (they’re retired now) and my sister worked in a furniture store for a long time. So I had a lot of material to draw from. But my mother and sister have read the book and they both loved it, so I’m not in any trouble with them.

• In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
I didn’t realise there would be so much non-writing work involved! Revisions, edits, publicity... Back when I was still trying to get published I used to wonder what full-time authors did with their time – how could it possibly take up a full working week?? Now I totally get it!

• Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?
I’ve been doing a blog tour to help promote the book. I’ve been trying to make sure I go to each blog and reply to readers’ comments – and I’m seeing some of the same names pop up and I’m definitely getting to know some people! I’m also very active on social media and I have my own website and blog. I’m still very new at this so I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t, but for now I’m just giving everything a go and seeing how it turns out.

• What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Get some help! I have had assistance with organising my blog tour (from Nas Dean) and there’s no way I could have done all the organising and scheduling myself – I simply wouldn’t have had time. You also need to take advantage of all your networks and contacts. While you’re still building your reputation you need all the help you can get with reviews, comments and getting the word out on social media. It’s also a karma thing – you need to help others so they’ll return the favour when it’s your turn!

• What did you learn while writing this book?
The value of perseverance. As my writing group pals can attest, before Cassie got published I was almost at the point of giving up on the whole thing – I felt I’d been so close but just hadn’t managed to find the ‘magic ingredient’ that would get me over the wall. I’m glad I didn’t give up!

• What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Planning Cassie and Ronan’s road trip! I used places I had been before, and did some further research so I could get the right feel when it came to writing up their adventures. The hotel they stay at in Sydney and the breakfast room with the view of the Harbour Bridge are based on somewhere I’ve stayed during business trips.

• And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?
Hmmm. Ronan is a pretty gentlemanly, sophisticated guy. I think he might like to take Cassie to the Whitsunday Islands because he’s also fond of Australia and I think he’d enjoy seeing a new part of the country. I’m sure he can sail, so I can imagine them staying in a resort villa overlooking the ocean and taking lazy daytime sailing trips around the islands.

Cassie's Grand Plan

Cassie Hartman knows what she needs to do to get her life under control. First, she’ll get herself promoted. Then she’ll update her appearance. Steps three and four—marriage and family—well, those will have to wait.

Then Ronan McGuire shows up. The too-sexy, too-polished business consultant has the power to derail Cassie’s plans before she’s even really started. If he doesn’t approve her promotion, she’ll be back to square one—and that’s not an option. Cassie needs to keep her focus on that first step, no matter how much Ronan tempts her to skip ahead to the third and fourth ones….

You can buy Emmie's debut novel on Amazon, AmazonUK, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Harlequin.


April Vine said...

nHi Romy and Emmie :)

Great interview! Ronan sounds absolutely yummy!

Thanks for sharing and good luck!

Sally Clements said...

Congratulations on your debut, Emmie! It sounds great, I must track it down. Love the pic with your books, that must have been fun!

Kat said...

Huge Congrats on your launch, Emmie - it sounds like a perfect escapist summer read. The pic of you with the books is every authors dream, thanks for sharing it with us!

Maya Blake said...

Your cover looks glorious, Emmie. Congrats on your debut!

Emmie said...

Hi April, thanks for your kind words! Hope you enjoy reading the book!

Emmie said...

Hi Sally -- thank you! Yes, the pic shows me with my book in Walmart -- the first time I'd seen it on a shelf! It was pretty exciting...

Emmie said...

Hi Joanne, thank you -- I think Cassie and Ronan's story is very suited to summertime -- there's lots of summer heat in there!!

Emmie said...

Hi Maya -- yes the cover gods have really smiled on me. The team at Harlequin do a fantastic job -- I couldn't have been happier with it.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Great to see you here, Emmie.

I'm very much looking forward to reading Cassie's Grand Plan.


Lacey Devlin said...

I love the sound of Cassie's Grand Plan and that picture of you is fabulous! Thanks so much for all the writing advice :)

Maria said...

It must be great to see your book on sale - especially in another country from where you live!