Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Emma Newman's Week - Interview

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
This week's knight is the lovely Emma Newman. Besides being a regular contributor of the #FridayFlash community and having her stories featured in several anthologies, Emma has published an anthology with 25 of her short stories, From Dark Places, and her debut novel, 20 Years Later was recently released on ebook format and will come out in print this July. Can't miss it! 

Today Randomities will be featuring her interview and later this week you'll be able to read a story featuring a character of 'From Dark Places' and also a review of one of her books.



Silly questions:

1. What's your favourite color? 

Blue, any shade. It makes me feel calm and happy.

The writer:

2. When did you start to write?

I was four years old, and my profession was Seeker of Answers to Everything. My grandmother has told me she remembers me sitting at her table, writing and when she asked what I was doing, I replied "writing a story Nana."

3. Where do you want to go with it? (the writing)

However far it can take me. I've done many, many things in my adult life whilst avoiding being a writer. Now I know that I should be writing, nothing will stop me from doing all I can to carve out a living from it so I can devote all of my time to writing books and not boring press releases.

4. How did writing influence your life?

I don’t think writing influences my life, it underpins it. It got me a place at Oxford University (that's a weird story in and of itself) and now it dominates everything I do. All of my thoughts come back to the current story or novel, or future plans, all of the changes I have made in my life lately have been to make more room for it. That'll be that obsessive streak…

5. Who most influenced your writing?

Do you mean books I've read or people in the real world? Well, the former I answered in an interview with the publisher of 20 Years Later over here so I'll focus on the latter.

Someone who had a major impact on my writing was my last primary school teacher (I was 10 at the time) who was called Mr Axon, and he was wonderfully eccentric. He used to give out the most amazing story titles, or first lines, and then tell us to go and write the rest of the story. I loved that so much, I used to ask him for titles to take with me on holiday. No surprise that I love writing to prompts now for my Short Story Club!

6. Which part of writing do you like the most? 

Oh blimey, there's a question. Whenever I write a short story, I get the shape of it clear before I start, then there is a moment I love when it is perfectly formed in my mind. I am so excited about it, but also so fearful that as soon as I press it onto the page, it will be rubbish. I've learnt how to deal with that now, but it used to really cripple me.

Above all else though, I think I love going to other worlds. Being there. Totally. Now I am being published, I can take other people with me, which is what I have always wanted, really.

7. What's your favourite genre? Which other(s) genre(s) do you write in?

Speculative fiction. I know that's broad, but that's because I read broadly, and the genres I love most, like science fiction, magical realism, urban fantasy and just weird fiction (what China Meiville calls the genre he writes in) comes under that umbrella.

I write dark fantasy, science fiction, dystopian and post-apocalyptic and sometimes just plain old slice of life, whatever the story fits into. The trilogy I'll be writing after 20 Years Later is a quirky mash-up of urban fantasy and lots of other things too.

I find genre classification quite frustrating.

8. Which is the favourite character you ever wrote? Why?

Wow, you like your tough questions, don't you?

In From Dark Places, I think my favourite character is either Nathaniel in "Someone to Watch Over Her" or Charlotte in "Getting Fixed" because both of them know exactly what they want. I like Nathaniel more, perhaps, because he is so deeply, deeply selfish. But I can't say much more without spoiling it.

In 20 Years Later it's either Titus or the Red Lady.

And in the Split Worlds (the project that will come after 20 Years Later is finished) it's either the Shopkeeper or Cathy. Actually I like her brother too. Oh forget it, I obviously can't answer this question at all! Maybe I should add "indecisive" to answer 3.

[Note: The answer 3 Emma refers to, is from the original batch of questions. In that one, that didn't make it to the final interview, I asked her to define herself in a few words.]

9. Do you have some habit/trait that you feel defines you as a person (and eventually as a writer)?

An imagination that just won't stop. It sometimes gives me insomnia, that's true, but that's what I would call my defining feature. Also, a love of tea.


Emma drinks too much tea, has too many ideas and writes too many stories. You can find out more about her debut novel '20 Years Laterhere. She blogs and gets up to all kinds of writing mischief at www.enewman.co.uk.

'From Dark Places' is available in print and e-book book formats. You can buy a signed copy from her website and if you like dark short stories, join Em's Short Story Club to get an original short story for free in your inbox every month.

Emma has recorded audio books for publishers and has narrated short stories for fiction podcasts. To find out more about her voice work go to www.enewman.co.uk/voiceYou can  also find Emma on Twitter: @emapocalyptic.


Note: If you're curious to know how Emma got her book deals, I suggest you check out this other interview with her. Excellent advice here too. :) 

Also, check out her book tour for 'From Dark Places' at Sam Adamson's Future;Nostalgic. Neat! :)


  1. Excellent interview! I've enjoyed learning more about one of my favorite people, and Can't wait to start her book (It's on my e-reader now!)

  2. --Monica: It's so interesting to know how each person's writing process is, no? I'm having a bunch of fun with this knight series!

  3. Great little interview — and not just because I agree with Emma with regard to genre classification being frustrating. I often don't know what to call stories I write — I wrote an urban fantasy before I heard the term, for example.

  4. --FAR: Thanks! I share your discomfort with genre 'naming'. I don't like the term urban fantasy, for instance, but I can't escape the term for my frozen WIP...

    Oy, Em, why don't you ellaborate that Oxford story on the comments? (Q4) I'm sure I'm not the only one who got curious. ;)

  5. Well it's funny you should ask that Mari as I blogged about that yesterday. http://www.enewman.co.uk/the-joy-of-blogging/renegade-a-to-z-l-is-for - it's after the first bits of the post.

    Thanks for the comments guys!

  6. For someone who finds genre classifications frustrating, she sure understands them. I can sympathize. Nice interview, Mari!

  7. Terrific interview! I enjoyed learning about Emma!

  8. --Em: Thanks for playing with me in this whole knight thing. It has been fun! :)

    Heading there to check out your post.

    --John: Em understand this whole genre thing better than I'll ever do, that's for sure!

    --Jemi: Thanks, dear! Always good to have you here. :)

  9. Great interview! I'm looking forward to reading more of Em's work!

  10. What a great interview! However did I miss it?! I can't wait to get my hands on my copy of 20 Years Later and am dying to read Emma's Split Worlds trilogy just as soon as she's written them. :)

  11. --Sam: Thanks! Glad you made it. :)


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