INTERVIEW with EMMA MEADE, Author of YA Debut Novel UNDER THE DESERT MOON
Emma, welcome to my blog. I’m so chuffed you’re here! As I tell every author, your time is much appreciated, and we can’t wait to learn more about you.
Thanks, Sandra. As always, it’s a pleasure chatting with you.
How did it come about that writing was what you wanted to do?
It was never a conscious decision. I’ve always been writing, ever since I was a kid. I would write silly, little poems in a notebook and show them to my parents, and at school I loved writing essays for English class. As a teenager, I wrote Buffy and even some
fan fiction and attempted to write my own TV series. I still have those “scripts” around the house somewhere. I knew I wanted to be a published writer who could write full time. Being able to quit the day job is still a dream. Roswell
When did you start writing, and at what age (if you remember) did you write your first full story? What was it about?
I was probably nine or ten when I started writing poems and then twelve or thirteen when I attempted my first novel. I think I called it Soulmates and it was about students at Irish college (a place Irish kids often head off to during the summer break). A girl fell in love with a ghost, or something like that! Oh, I cringe to think about that story now.
Your YA debut, Under the Desert Moon, is about to be released. After spending some time reading posts and all things good on your website, I noticed that you have another book of short stories (more for an adult audience) called ‘Night Sighs’. These stories are interlinked if I read correctly… tell us about it.
I’m flattered you spent some time on my blog. Thanks, Sandra. Yes, Night Sighs consists of five short stories featuring the same characters, Alex and Tristan. I wrote a short story called “The Dead Beats” some years back, directly inspired by watching a Bruce Springsteen performance of “Because the Night” on youtube. That performance, in
in 1985 was stunning. I got chills watching him and I imagined a rock star vampire called Tristan with the same appeal as Bruce. Then I thought about what it would be like to be a girl in love with such an enthralling being, and Alex was born. Last year, I decided to write four more stories about Alex and Tristan and I went ahead and self-published the collection as Night Sighs. I’m now in the middle of a first draft of a full length novel, Night Whispers based on those characters. Paris
I know you’re a Buffy fan! Is paranormal your preferred genre?
Ha ha, you know me well. Yes, I’ve always been drawn to the paranormal genre. As a child, I devoured every book I could get my hands on from the Point Horror series and that’s mainly what I write now.
How long did it take you to write ‘Under the Desert Moon’?
A few months for the first draft, but I’ve gone back to it many times over the past few years making updates. In fact, the ending is completely different from the first draft. I gave it to a good friend to read through and she told me the ending sucked, not in those words (she was much kinder), but I’m glad she told me the truth.
As far as titles are concerned, how important are they to you?
I don’t spend too much time thinking up titles for my stories. They come to me pretty easily.
Does this apply when naming your characters? How do you choose what name best suits a particular character?
Same with my characters. I couldn’t tell you where I got the name
Erin from for Under the Desert Moon. I just liked the name. I’ve never sweated over what to call my characters. I do remember though, back when I was sixteen and working on my scripts for my TV series (I’m laughing at myself right now), I decided to get all my surnames for my characters from the credits of the film, Interview with the Vampire. I popped the video tape in the VCR and fast forwarded to the end and scribbled down the names I liked from the film crew.
I’m curious whilst on the topic of titles and character names, so I’d like to know which comes first with you regarding both. Title and names, or story forms first and then only do you decide on what names best suit said characters and ultimately the book?
An idea for a character comes first and then I name him or her straight away. The title for the book usually comes as I begin to write the story.
Like me, you love book covers. If I ever had to write a book, I know I would struggle with the decision on how I’d want my cover to look. Who designed yours, and how much input or say did you have on the matter?
I do love book covers and often choose my next book based on the artwork. I self-published Night Sighs, so I got total say in what I wanted. I got lucky last year and stumbled upon a blog mentioning that a designer, Kit Foster (http://www.kitfosterdesign.com/Home.aspx) was building up his portfolio and doing covers for free. I contacted him and he asked me to send the blurb and some info about the book. He did a great job and I am thrilled with the artwork for Night Sighs. Under the Desert Moon is published by a small press, so the publisher asked me to give him an idea of what I wanted. The first cover I received from the graphic designer, Armen Kojoyian didn’t appeal to me. It was beautiful but not right for UTDM so Armen revised it and sent me a new cover, which I loved. That’s what you see today.
Approximately how much time do you spend on research?
It depends on the story. For Under the Desert Moon, most of it came from my imagination, but I did a bit of Googling on
to make sure I got the landscape right. If I ever write a historical novel, I will be spending hours doing research. Arizona
What is a typical writing day like for you. Do you have any rituals?
I don’t have a typical writing day. I’m not the most disciplined of writers. I work at my day job from 9.00-5.30 Monday to Friday and try to do some writing on my next novel/short story a couple of evenings a week and at the weekend. When the going is good, I will sit on my couch with my laptop all day and all night.
Do you ever set goals on how much writing you want done on any given day?
This is something I have started to do. For Night Whispers, I’ve set weekly word count goals, and I’ve surprised myself by sticking to them, so far.
What would you say is the hardest part of writing for you, if anything, and which is your favourite?
I actually find the writing part really difficult, when I’m working on fiction that is. Writing for my blog Emma’s Ramblings on Supernatural Fiction is fun and easy enough. The best part of writing is looking back and seeing what you have just created. A box of copies of Under the Desert Moon arrived at my house a week ago and I was emotional, holding my print book in my hands.
Who are some of your favourite authors, and why?
Right, let’s do this – it’s not easy! Anne Rice, L.J. Smith, Maeve Binchy, Charlaine Harris, Stephenie Meyer, Marian Keyes, Stephen King, L.H. Cosway, and there are probably tons more I’m forgetting. While I may not love all their books, each of these authors has given me a story I will treasure forever and characters who feel like friends.
Tell us something fun/quirky about yourself.
I like to say affirmations out loud. "Today is a wonderful day for me. The world is my oyster. I am fabulous." And so on. My family hear me sometimes and think I'm a lunatic. Tell yourself positive things every day and eventually you do start to believe it.
Last but not least, what is the one thing you would like to share with anyone wanting to write their first book?
Keep reading, oh and write the book you want to read.
Tea or coffee?
Tea. I can't function in the mornings without it. And I like a Bailey's coffee for dessert after a nice meal out.
Cats or dogs?
One day, I'd like to have a dog, when I have more free time. Right now, I have two cats, both strays called Puss and Fox.
Early bird or night stalker?
Night Stalker without a shadow of a doubt. I detest getting up in the mornings. I love when the days get shorter and winter starts rolling in.
Crisps or chocolate?
Mix them both. A packet of cheese and onion Tayto's with maltesers go well together.
Social butterfly or occasional participant?
Occasional participant. I love going out with friends, a few drinks, a music gig and some dancing, but you won't find me up on stage entertaining the crowd – unless I’ve had a few shots!
Introvert or extrovert?
Somewhere in between.
Hamburger or hotdog?
Hotdog with tomato sauce and mustard, yum! I survived a summer in the
once eating hotdogs every day. US
Thank you, Emma. It’s been interesting and fun to learn more about the person behind the story. I wish you nothing but the best with ‘Under the Desert Moon’.
These were really good questions, a lot better than what I could have come up myself. Thanks for everything, Sandra. I always enjoy reading your blog. Until next time, xx.
LOOK OUT FOR AN EXCERPT OF 'UNDER THE DESERT MOON' WHICH WILL BE SHOWCASED THIS WEEK!
Under the Desert Moon on Amazon:
Amazon Author Page:
Publisher: Soul Fire Press