Dec 18, 2011

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Emma Carlson Berne

 Emma Carlson Berne is the author of the upcoming novel STILL WATERS.  Due out in two days!!!  I'm so excited for this one!
Here's what it's all about: 
Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He’s leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they’ll never forget. But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn’t seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin’s dark side, and her own safety.
Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.

I was very lucky to get an interview with Emma.  :)  Check it out and be sure to check out her website for more information. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Writing is hard work and I don’t think there’s any way around that. It’s hard to force yourself to write when you don’t feel like it. It’s hard to write when you’re stuck in the middle of a long, difficult scene that keeps wandering all over the place. It’s hard to write when you’re facing a daily quota of 3,500 words and you have to pick your toddler up from preschool in three hours. My best advice is don’t sugar coat the process. It’s easy to imagine yourself only writing in a garret by the light of a candle, with the luminous words pouring across the page. It’s a lot less glamorous at 8:30 on a rainy Monday morning when you have a cold. If you can write then, on that rainy Monday  morning, and meet your word quota for the day—or whatever your self-imposed deadline is—you’ll be signaling you have what it takes to stick with this job for a long, long time.  

What’s your favorite/least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part is easy—when the book’s finished. Getting the printed galleys from my editor, getting a first look at the cover, and seeing that beautiful heavy box with the publisher’s name on my doorstep. Those are the glorious parts. Running a close second would be getting that phone call from my agent that the publisher has bought a new book concept.  
My least favorite part? Drafting. This seems wrong to say somehow, but it’s true. I know a lot of writers love drafting. But not me. In fact, I agonize through every word of a rough draft. I count the words until I can be done for the day. I moan, I drag around the house, I get grumpy. Drafting for me feels like a long, dry desert. My agent doesn’t want to talk to me. My editor doesn’t want to talk to me. No one does—they just want me to sit at my desk and type until the blasted draft is finished. Then they want to talk. 

Now that you’re published, how has your life changed (or your writing changed)?
I really wish I could say that I’ve been covered with glory since being published and that I’m living The Life of a Famous Author. I’m not sure exactly what that would be, but it’s not my life. Actually, little has changed. I still write and agonize about selling another book. I still fret neurotically over the eternal question Am I Good Enough? (Good Enough for what, I’m not sure, but that doesn’t end the fretting.) I have some street cred now, as a writer, which is good for parties when people ask, “And what do you do?” At least I no longer feel like a fraud when I mumble, “I’m a writer.”   

What books inspired you most as a writer?
Oh, so many. But they’re all the same books that inspire me as a reader. I’ve never “studied” writing except that I am a passionate and endless reader. Reading, I can honestly say, is the thing I do and have always done that brings me the most pleasure in life. I never would have made it through an agonizing adolescence without it. Some books I particularly admire: Lolita, Jane Eyre, Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.

Can you describe the basics to your writing process?
As far the daily process, I’ve discovered the importance of putting on clothes when you work at home. This is opposed to wearing pjs all day. So no matter what, I force myself to put my hair back, wash my face, put on jeans and a sweatshirt. The jeans can be dirty, no shower is necessary, but these are the basics. Otherwise, I just feel depressed. Then, make coffee—such a cliché—check Facebook and random web sites for the required half-hour of procrastination, then actually begin typing,  with much groaning. Must have frequent breaks to wander aimlessly around the house and stare out the windows.
I find I do much better if I write in the morning (I’m sure this is not unique to just me), and that I really can’t do more than about four hours maximum of drafting per day, and about six hours maximum of revising. So I’m basically useless after about one o’clock. That’s when I turn into a mom/housewife again and start cooking, cleaning up piles of random stuff, and cajoling reluctant little people into snowsuits.

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