I’m delighted to welcome Emma Jackson to the blog today. Emma has had an exciting few months since signing her first contract and she’s here to talk to us about how she’s enjoying being a newly published author.
Emma, what have you learnt in the first six months since you’ve been published?
I signed my first publishing contract in September 2019 and my debut novel, A Mistletoe Miracle, was published by Orion Dash at the end of November 2019. It was a quick turn-around and I thought that would be my biggest challenge, but I’ve come to realise an even bigger one.
Quite apart from the steep learning curve there is when it comes to creating your author-brand, deciding on a policy of whether you will read reviews or not, and how much posting about your book on social media is too much(!), the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that it is not easy to write a book under contract. Or at least, it hasn’t been for me.
Could you tell us a little about why that’s been such a challenge?
Before I signed my contract with Orion Dash, I dreamed of the day when I knew that the book I was writing was guaranteed to be published. And even as I write that now I know that it’s a wonderful position to be in. My dream came true, but then I discovered something about myself – and it may well be something that’s similar in a lot of writer’s – my brain wants to write every single story apart from the one I’m supposed to be writing!
I’ve always regarded myself to be a “turtle” writer; I’ve never won NaNoWriMo. Partly this has been because of having small children but I know many writers with full-time jobs and kids, who are much speedier, so that can’t be the whole excuse. It’s also to do with how fast I write when I do get the chance and – most importantly – how I deal with the story evolving. I’ve discovered that I need mulling over time. I need those gaps where I can just think and go back and make it better before I move on to the next chapter.
So far I’ve written one book under contract – Summer in the City, which came out this month – and I did not have a lot of time to write it.
So, how did you go about hitting your deadline?
There is a lot to be said for the NaNoWriMo ethos of just getting it written and the fact you can’t fix a blank page. I absolutely had to grit my teeth and get words written, when in the past I would have given myself the evening off and gone back to it the next day. But I also realised that my brain can’t write a whole book that way – I get equally as stuck if I’ve realised it would be better for the characters to react a different way, and therefore the next scene I’ve planned no longer makes sense.
I’ve learnt that once I hit around the 15 – 20k mark, I’ll want to go back and redo the first chapters. And then again once I hit the halfway point, and then probably once more in time for the final act! It can seem tedious and make a deadline approach at terrifying speed. Why not just wait until the end and do it all in one go, you might ask? I don’t know is the answer, but that’s just my way.
Being a published author under contract has taught me that it’s vital to get my bottom in the chair and write, even when I don’t feel like it, but equally, and just as importantly, to trust my instincts about the best process for me. I’m going through the same first draft agonies now – only times 100 because writing in the time of Corona is no picnic – and I have to keep reminding myself of this. And also that I’ve done it before, and I’ve never been more proud of myself than I was when I handed a my first (or in reality about the fourth) draft in, on time.
Can you give us a sneak preview on what you are working on next?
I’m not sure how much I can and can’t say about it, but it’s another romantic comedy set at Christmas time, which is bringing some additional challenges! I wrote Summer in the City with the wind and rain battering at the windows, and now I’m trying to get festive while the sun’s shining, which seems typical of most authors I’ve spoken to!
Thank you so much for joining us, Emma. Good luck with your next book!
About the author:
Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published in 2019 by Orion Dash, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. SUMMER IN THE CITY was released in June 2020. She also writes historical-fantasy fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE was released in February 2020.
Summer in the City: http://bit.ly/SummerITC
A Mistletoe Miracle: http://bit.ly/AMistletoeMiracle
The Devil’s Bride: http://bit.ly/TheDevilsBride
You can find out news about Emma via her website, by signing up to her newsletter at www.esjackson.co.uk or on:
About the interviewer
Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.