Friday, 4 July 2014

Q&A with Emily Benet

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Here we go with another author Q&A, this time with Emily Benet.


Hello! Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm a London-based writer with a Welsh mother and Spanish father. I was born in London but spent my teenage years in Barcelona. Wherever I've lived, my obsession with writing has followed!  
My debut book Shop Girl Diaries was commissioned and published by Salt Publishing after they spotted my weekly blog about working in my Mum's chaotic chandelier shop. Later, with director Chloe Thomas we wrote the script for a short film Shop Girl Blog which was filmed inside the shop starring Katy Wix (Not Going Out). It was selected for The London Short Film Festival 2014. 

I wrote my next novel Spray Painted Bananas on the online platform Wattpad. It reached over one million hits and led to me signing with MBA literary agency. I have since signed a 2 book deal with Harper Impulse and my book Spray Painted Bananas will be out late summer of 2014, most likely with a new title!
I run blogging and social media workshops and my Blogging for Beginners ebook is available to download from amazon. I have written about the benefits of social media for writers for several publications includingThe New Writer, Mslexia, Writers' Hub, Litro,  Survival Guide to Journalism and  Publishing Talk. 
I love the city but I'm happiest swimming in a lake surrounded by mountains in the Catalan side of the Pyrenees. I've been going there all my life thanks to my Dad being from that part of the world. It's the only place I stop thinking about writing!


1. Did you always dream of being a writer? 

Yes, I wrote my first novels when I was about 11 and illustrated them too. I was influenced by everything I read. I also kept diaries from about 11 until my early twenties which are simultaneously ridiculous, hilarious and embarrassing. 

2. Your debut novel is called Shop Girl Diaries, can you tell us more about it? 

It began as a blog about working in my Mum's chaotic chandelier shop. Every week would bring some funny story since people often came in to talk rather than buy chandeliers. It's also about my journey as a writer and there's a dollop of heart warming romance thrown in for good measure. 

3. There is also a 13 minutes movie about the book on your website, how did you come up with the idea for make a short movie for the book? 

It wasn't my idea. A TV director, Chloe Thomas, saw my blog and got in touch. She asked me to write a short script based on the blog. I'd never written a script before but my lovely husband who'd studied film downloaded the Usual Suspects script for me and we watched the film while we read the script to see how it was done! 

4. You wrote a book with the title Blogging For Beginners as well, what can we find in there and why did you write it? 

It's a straight forward guide book with lots of tip for people wanting to start a blog. I had been running workshops for a while so I had the material and just decided to compile it in a guidebook for people who couldn't make the workshops. 

5. What are you working on right now? 

I've just sent off the final edit of my novel The Temp (formerly known as 'Spray Painted Bananas') which will be released this Summer. My next book is called #PleaseRetweet and as the title suggests it's all about social media, real life vs virtual life!

6. You also write story and have published a collection of them, how is it different from writing a normal novel? 

I think short stories are really challenging to write. It can feel like writing a novel in miniature. 

7. Where and when do you write your stories? 

Usually some small event triggers a thought in my head, a 'what if...',  that unfolds into a story which I'll then feel compelled to write down in one intense session. Next I'll edit it in a few goes. The stories in my collection have all been commended or selected for short story readings. I haven't felt much desire to write anything new recently. At the moment I'm sticking with the novels. 

8. What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing? 

I love being outside. Right now it's sunny in London and I just want to spend all day outside having BBQs with friends and family. I love reading (suprise, surprise), swimming (preferably in lakes) and salsa dance never fails to put a big smile on my face. 

9. Who is your favourite author and why? 

I don't have a favourite. I love reading all sort of books from psychological thrillers to feel good romantic comedies.  

10. If you were shipwrecked on a desert island what 3 books would you want with you?

 Bear Grylls's survival guides, I guess!

11. How would you describe your style of writing? 

Humorous, upbeat, conversational... 

12. Your book Spray Painted Bananas is on Wattpad and it will be published soon as well, what’s it about?

It's about Amber, a broke temp who after many an evening scrounging free wine at gallery openings, decides to become a conceptual artist and starts leaving spray painted bananas all around London.  The question is, can anyone become famous for anything if they make enough noise about it? 

 13. Your father is Spanish and you lived in Barcelona, can you tell us more about your Spanish “blood” and about living in Spain? 

I loved living in Spain as a teenager. I loved being close to the sea and the mountains. I still entertain the idea that I'll move back even though the reality is London is brilliant. I think I idealise Spain sometimes, which is typical of halflings like me. Being half Spanish half British means that when you are in Britain, you feel Spanish and when you are in Spain, you feel British. In practical terms it means I have a good flow of chorizo and Jamon Serrano coming through my flat thanks to my parents coming back and forth from Spain. 

14. If you could change something about your life, what would you change?

I'm very blessed in my life and prepared to work for whatever I don't have, which right now, is a big sun drenched terrace! That's my dream. 

 15. Coffee or tea? Tea, then coffee, then tea, tea, tea, then one more coffee. 

16. Paperback or e-reader? Both. 

17. Mountains or the sea? Mountains and a lake. 

18. Summer or winter? SUMMER!

19. Sweet or salty? Salty. You can keep your chocolate, but I'll pinch your olives. 

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