Emma Davies Sheds Some More Light on Her Writing

Posted on 14th February, 2015
At the end of last November, Emma Davies visited my blog to chat about her indie-
published book Letting in Light. I'm delighted to welcome her back again to find out
how she's getting on.
Emma, welcome back! What have you been doing since we last met up? You 
were on the verge of rearranging your work hours so that you have more
writing time. Did that go ahead?
The start to 2015 has been really encouraging on the writing front. I was a little
in the doldrums before Christmas to be honest, caught in that one step forward
and three back syndrome, plus I had a really nasty bout of flu which didn’t help.
Then, out of the blue I had a string of really positive reviews, and of course was
accepted into the RNA's New Writers' Scheme (more about that below)and since
then it's been all really positive. My sales are steadily growing (pleading voice, please buy me!), but above all I'm am now more determined than ever to get
where I want to be this year. That in itself is a wonderful feeling.
It's therefore really frustrating that I haven’t yet been able to resolve my working
hours issues. My job is of the all-consuming type and very stressful, and whilst I 
have been trying to impose my own work life balance on the situation, it's not
always that easy and I feel now that I am no longer able to give of my best; my
focus is elsewhere at the moment and this is not a great situation for me or my
employer. Around May / June time there may be an opportunity to reduce my
hours from full time, but it's frustrating that this will be half way through the year. It doesn’t stop me from writing though!
You joined the RNA's NWS this year. What made you do that?
This might be a really long answer, sorry, hope you can bear with me! .... I found
out about the New writers Scheme too late last year so missed out, but I was really keen to get a place this year, and as I mentioned it was a real boost. I am
determined to squeeze everything I can out of this year, and this scheme offers
such fantastic support for people like me. It’s the biggest opportunity I'm going to
get to really make a difference to my writing career, and I hope to be able to really learn from their advice. I'm also looking forward to meeting some of the RNA
members and to take advantage of the networking opportunities on offer. I
wouldn’t get this anywhere else.
I've also admitted a few things to myself this year, and although when I was writing
Letting in Light I acknowledged that there was a lot of me in there, the story of Will 
and Helen 'finding' their art is almost autobiographical. I've been writing for years
but not with any real purpose, it was just for me. I know that I deliberately didn’t allow myself to make any more of my writing because once I did I would be
consumed by it, and for various reasons there were things happening in my life
that meant this was not the right time for this to happen. Now, though, although it
scares the pants off me, I've let myself be consumed and if I know one thing now,
it's that I absolutely HAVE to write. Like I said of Will in the book, 'It's in his blood
now, this thing that he does; it's hardwired to his heart.' That’s me all over.
So, having said that, I have to acknowledge that I want to go all out, I want to write
for a living, and I don’t want to do anything else. This is such a hard state to
achieve, I'm realistic that for a while (maybe quite a long while) I will also need
traditional employment. Working with the RNA may be my best opportunity to get
the book deal that will start me on the right path, allow me to think of my writing as
my work, and, .... well let's just see what happens!
And you sent off your NWS book in January!! Anyone who has ever 
experienced the mad scramble as the end of August approaches will be
madly envious. What can you tell us about it?
It’s a little bit of the Blue Peter, I'm afraid; you know, here's one I made earlier. Knowing that I couldn’t join last year I used that time to get Letting in Light as good
as I could, but as I may have mentioned somewhere before, it actually had
different storylines, and a very different ending at one point before it became the
book it is now. It might be a little bit of a cheat sending this off, but what was important to me was getting it in early, and getting the critique back so that I could
learn from these comments as soon as I could and put them to good use. I didn’t
want to wait until August for this process to happen. Of course I'm also madly
hoping that they like what they see ...
What else have you written since Letting in Light? Are you still writing in the 
present tense?
I started another work last year, loosely entitled The Amorous Intentions of Amos
Fry, but for now have put this to one side in order to write the sequel to Letting in
Light. In truth this came about because nearly every review I read said that they
wanted another book based on the same characters - and you should always
listen to your readers! It also means that I get to hang onto my lovely characters
for a little while longer, which I'm thrilled about. This book is also written in the present tense, and again mostly from Ellie's POV; I can hear her telling the story
and now can't seem to write it any other way.
What's next on your writing agenda?
So many things! So little time! Firstly I have set myself a mission to try and have
at least the first draft of the sequel ready by August. This will, I hope, give me
some options, depending of course on the outcome of the NWS critique. It will
either mean that I will have had time to put what I've learned into place with this
book and then I will be so much further down the line in making it a reality, but of
course it will also mean that if the RNA feel that my work is of good enough quality
to look for an agent or publisher, then when I do so, I will almost have book two in
the bag as well - cunning plan! I'm still quite open minded on the traditional versus
self-publishing route at the moment. I think I need to feel my way a little on this one.
I also need to market and network like a thing possessed; I have so much to learn,
and so many things I'd like to do in this regard, that I'm not quite sure where to
start, but I'll keep chipping away. With lovely people like you to support me, it's not
only fun but very rewarding.
What a kind thing to say, Emma – thank you.
What advice would you give other writers? If you'd known back then what 
you know now, what would you have done differently?
I think I did most things back to front at the start. I was so thrilled that I had actually
managed to write a book that I just wanted it out there, and I didn’t really think
about marketing, and social media etc and how important this is. I can see from
looking at others now what I should have done first, so I think I would have told
myself to slow down a little and be patient. So, fledgling writers, do your homework
Hindsight is a wonderful thing however, and I'm a firm believer that things happen
for a reason, and that perhaps this was simply a process I personally had to go
through anyway so that I could learn from it. Every cloud ...
What have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?
I've only just finished all my Christmassy reads, which seems a bit weird, (I was too ill at Christmas to read them!) but two I really enjoyed were Christmas in the
by Karen Swan and The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown. I'm
currently reading Another Night, Another Day, by Sarah Rayner. I've read some of
her work previously, and I'm really enjoying this too.

Emma, thanks for taking the time to give such thoughtful and honest answers. Best of luck with your writing.

Letting in Lightpaperback edition

Letting in LightKindle edition

Letting in LightAmazon review page

Emma's website

Emma's Twitter page

Romantic Novelists Association website

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Comments (4)

I know nothing and write even less than that, but can't help wondering whether, when writers write about writing they are subconsciously engaging in yet another displacement activity for writing.
does that make any sense to you?
What lovely comments; thank you Nicola and Susanna. I know that I'm in the same situation as probably the vast majority of writers, but if the only way to get there is to take small steps, then you had better take them! Good luck to you too Nicola xx
How lovely to hear from you again, Nicola. The wonderful thing about interviewing Emma is that she is so honest in her answers. She allows us a real insight into her thoughts and her work. I hope that recognising the position Emma is in as being similar to your own has helped you - it is always good to know we are not alone, even though writing can be such a solitary pursuit.
What a fabulous and truthful interview. I really enjoyed reading the answers to your questions, Susanna. I am in a similar position work wise and really feel grieved that my writing has to 'fit in'. It is a tough world but coining a phrase by Whoopi Goldberg (which I have adapted and use as my daily mantra) "If you wanna be a writer and the last thing you think of before you sleep is writing and the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning is writing - then girl, you're supposed to be a writer".
So true! Best of luck to Emma - Follow Your Dream!! It will happen!! And thank you Susanna for the wonderful post.