Thursday, 29 May 2014

Q&A with Erin Emerson + GIVEAWAY

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Here's another Q&A for you guys, this time with the lovely Erin Emerson, thank you for answering my questions hun and thanks also for offering an copy of your book, giveaway will be further down.

Erin Emerson is an author, living in Atlanta with her husband Paul. Erin spends a lot of time reading and writing. She pretends that she doesn’t spend a lot of time watching Oprah reruns and drinking wine. 

1. Did you always dream of being a writer?

I don't know that I always dreamt of being a writer so much as I have always been compelled to write. I couldn't stop if I tried. And if I never made a penny, to write one sentence that matters to someone else is a breathtaking experience. Readers make a book a conversation.  

2. You book is called What Would Oprah Do? Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Sure. What Would Oprah Do? is the story of Cate Sanders, who is more than a little lost. She wants her life to mean something and she wants that from her profession. Cate loves and admires Oprah. Cate looks to her for inspiration as she searches for her purpose in life. Every chapter begins with a letter to Oprah. While the book is light-hearted and funny, it's about someone who is starting over and her journey to a more meaningful existence. I think one of my favorite bloggers summed it up really well, Margaret Madden of BleachHouseLibrary said, “It is a story of friendship and change.”

3. What does your family think about you being a writer? 

My family is very supportive. I'm blessed to have them.  

4. What inspires you most when you’re writing?

I'm not really sure. Sometimes it feels like an internal dialogue, a question that needs to be answered. When inspiration comes, I'm not sure where it comes from, any more than I know where it goes when it leaves. I have found that if I will be still and listen, it always comes back.

5. What are you working on right now?

I'm working on two things right now. The sequel to What Would Oprah Do?, which is currently titled Becoming Mrs. Right. That is in its editing stages. I have no idea how many drafts I will have to go through to get it right. I've also finished a rough draft of another novel, which is not part of the Cate Sanders series. At this point in its infancy, I'm not sure how I would describe it. I can say that it is very different and something about it resonates very deeply with me.

6. Where and when do you write your stories?

Most often I write at home, during the day. My most productive writing is at the beach or a little spot that I like near a river in Georgia. Being near the water clears my head and it helps to escape the distractions of home, like the laundry that needs to be folded.
This week I'm in New Orleans. Sometimes a change of scenery is helpful and adds a different flavor to the story. New Orleans is full of flavor.

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

Of course I love to read. I also spend a lot of time with my friends and family. It has to be said that my life is full of amazing and fascinating individuals. Writing is a very solitary thing for me. I don’t know what I’d do or even who I would be without them. The company that one keeps is a living, breathing entity. My spare time is spent with people who make me a better person.

8. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Since What Would Oprah Do was my debut novel, I didn't really understand the full process. There were several months when I kept thinking I was almost done, and I wasn't. Writing the first draft was very easy, knowing when I had the final draft was not. 

9. What is the best thing about being a writer?

Readers! For me, without readers writing would just be words on a page.

10. Who is your favourite author and why?

That is a difficult question to answer. If I had to pick just one, it would be Hemingway. I love his style, so straight forward. Writing simply is a complicated thing, and he was a master.

11. How did the cover for your book develop? 

Natasha Brown designed the cover. I told her what I wanted the cover to feel like, and she made it happen. She is incredibly talented, and I think she has a gift for understanding the concept and making it a real, tangible thing. I also told her I wanted Cate to have curves, and Natasha gave her a booty. I loved that!

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

Life of Pi by Yann Martel…I don’t know, I feel the need to be practical here. If there are books like How to Get Off of a Desert Island or Making Fire and Scavenging for Food, I think I would need those.

12. If you could plan the perfect holiday, what would it be? 

Somewhere tropical with the people I love and fresh ocean fare. And drinks, lots of drinks.

13. What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Personally, I won’t review a book that I didn’t like. There are a few exceptions. For instance, I read a book that had me thinking, ‘I’ve read this before’ the entire time. After finding the other book on my bookshelf and verifying what I can only call plagiarism, I set out to email the author of the book that came first. Then I discovered that the two authors are married to each other. As a reader I felt betrayed. For that, I wrote a scathing review in which I clearly outlined the issue I had with it.
For reviewers who are going to write a review; good, bad or indifferent, I think it’s a good idea to think about your intentions when writing a bad review. If you didn’t like a book because you don’t enjoy the genre, then you’re out of your realm. If you want to be a critic, you need to be knowledgeable and thus qualified to be a critic. If you don’t like the subject matter, is your bad review personal? I know some bloggers who are very gentle and articulate when they write a bad review. I respect them. I couldn’t do it. If you’re going to write a bad review, be the kind of person who never forgets that there is a real person behind that fictional work.

In terms of reviews I receive, of course I really appreciate the good reviews. I do. I love them. There have been some that made me dance. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the dance, The Ostrich. Good reviews let me know that I’ve done my job, whether it was just making someone laugh or giving someone a different perspective. That makes me really happy.

Bad reviews…well maybe you have to take the good with the bad. I don’t know. I haven’t. I received a bad review which was full of glaring grammatical errors and incoherent thoughts. I read it and thought, ‘Well, we wouldn’t get along, now would we?’

 14. Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

It’s an individual thing, so figure out what the block is. Dorothy Parker said, “Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.” If you’re not being still and waiting for the words, that may be your truth. If I feel like the words aren’t there, I sit still and wait for them.    

If that fails, I take an unstructured break. Whatever works to recharge your spirit and spark your creativity; do that.  A lot of writers go for a walk. I pace and fiddle around with day to day tasks.

15. Coffee or tea? Coffee
16. Paperback or e-reader? Paperback
17. Mountains or the sea? Sea
18. Summer or winter? Summer

19. Sweet or salty? Salty

Erin on Twitter: @EmersonErin

What Would Oprah Do?

Cate Sanders is a 32-year-old woman living on her own in Atlanta, who’s at a crossroads. After being laid off from her corporate job, she’s determined to find a new career path. To help guide her, she looks to the woman she admires most, Oprah Winfrey. At every new phase she writes a letter to Oprah, knowing in all probability her hero won’t be reading them, but finds hope and inspiration from imagining what Oprah’s words of wisdom would be.

With Amelia Bedelia tendencies and a Chelsea Handler attitude, Cate’s mishaps provide humor, while her relationships give the story depth. Throughout her amusing and heartwarming trials, she searches for the answer to one question. Can she find her purpose in life by pursuing her passion?

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