Writer Wednesday: Erin Emerson

Erin Emerson has been writing since she was a child. In 2009, she started writing full time. She was a two-time contender for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Her novel What Would Oprah Do was released in September 2013. Erin is active on Twitter, where she often tweets about what she's reading, trends in publishing, and bacon. Erin lives in Atlanta with her husband Paul and their mighty dogs.

1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I don’t know if I ever wanted to be a writer so much as the reality that I couldn’t quit writing. If I ever had wanted to be a writer, I might have tried to talk myself out of it. Writing can be a very solitary life if you’re not careful, and it’s also very hard to establish yourself and make a living at it. For example, The Cuckoo's Calling was released as a novel by Robert Galbraith. Despite critical acclaim, it was ranked 4,709 on Amazon’s Bestseller List prior to the revelation that it was written by J.K. Rowling. Given Rowling’s staggering talent, that is a daunting truth for the rest of us to face. I digress. Where were we?

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you?
Becoming one with the character. I’m not ready to write the story until I feel like I’ve bonded with the main character. If that doesn’t happen, the story doesn’t ring true. For me to properly tell the story, the character has to become a voice in my head. And now that I sound crazy, next question please!

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing?
When you feel the story. It’s like a runner’s high. You hit a certain place and everything flows, and you’re surprised by what’s happening because you never saw it coming. That’s where it goes back to my need to bond with the main character. If you know your characters, they will lead you to a place where your endorphins kick in and it’s beautifully addictive.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
That is such a hard question. I wish I had written everything on my top ten list, which can be found on my website for What Would Oprah Do? If I must answer, Chris Bohjalian’s Midwives. I was so drawn into the story and the characters. It is one of the amazing books where excellent writing and graceful sentences come together with riveting storytelling. That is what makes a book a literary masterpiece, and he executed it flawlessly.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, who would you pick and why?
I can’t say. I’d love to, but I don’t want to spoil the sequel to What Would Oprah Do?

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do? 
I don’t know. When I think about it, a lot of my favourite literary characters aren’t exactly having a good time. Exception: Emma Corrigan from Sophie Kinsella’s, Can You Keep a Secret? She and I would have fun. I don’t know how we would start the day, but I think it would end with us getting kicked out of a bar or one of us wearing a banana suit. No, that’s not code for something.

 7. What can we expect next from you? 
The sequel to What Would Oprah Do? I’m reluctant to give the title or pub date as that has been a shaky, moving target. When that is off my plate, my next novel is more serious and involves owls.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out? 
If you’re going to publish something, be brave. Stand behind what you write like you’ve got balls so big that they’re swinging from your knees. Sorry Mom.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you.
Coffee, followed by sitting at my computer, wandering off, and then more coffee. Writing, pacing, coffee, tweeting, repeat.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan, and I’m savouring it. My To-Be-Read stack is ridiculous. There are so many great books out there, I could make a quick list of what I just finished and what I’m about to read next. I’ll add that to my To-Do-List for my website. I love sharing books.

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 humour, 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?

Buy on Amazon | Follow Erin on Twitter
Like her on Facebook | Visit her website

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