Well, it's happened again.
TIME TO CELEBRATE!
That's right, we have two more fab interviews today!
First up is Emily Barlow. A software architect by day, Emily enjoys reading, writing, knitting, crocheting, sewing, running, and learning martial arts with her family in her spare time. She is supported by her longtime husband and two wonderful children, who endure her eccentricities with enthusiasm.
Social media users can find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100089226551514); I'm not on Instagram or Twitter, but I do also have a website I'm working on at emilybarlowwritesthings.com. Both of my books are available through Amazon in paperback and ebook format and are included with Kindle Unlimited. Sunchaser is available here: https://a.co/d/fIQxmJU and The Raven's Children is available here: https://a.co/d/7oJAzJH .
Star Trek or Star Wars? I grew up with both and have a massive appreciation for both George Lucas’s world building and Gene Roddenberry’s wild imagination of what the future could look like.
DCU or MCU? Both have their ups and downs, but I enjoy more characters from the DC universe. Constantine and Sandman are perennial favorites of mine.
Favorite hangover recovery recipe? Cameling up and going for a run the next day. The first half mile is rough, but after that i feel a thousand times better.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? I work full time as a software architect, so my work schedule is static regardless; I write around it. Much of my planning is done on the way to and from the office, and I often write while waiting for my son to fall asleep in the evening
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? What do I not like to do is an easier question! I practice martial arts, I knit, I crochet, I sew, I sing and play various musical instruments, and I play video games with my husband.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they? Write. Just write. Pick an idea or character and put pen to paper (or hands to keyboard, whichever you prefer) and see what comes out of it. You may not think much of it, and it may need some work, but once you’ve started you’ve done the hardest part.
What do you think makes a good story? I engage with books when they have compelling characters who develop over time. Plot movement and pacing are also big for me, regardless of the devices used; without apparent development it’s easy to lose a reader’s interest.
What is the first book that made you cry? Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. I remember having to ask my mom to read the last portion of the book to me because I couldn’t see the pages through my tears. She was good enough to sit and cry with me as we finished it.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Briefly, but in the end I published my first novella a matter of months before losing my father to pancreatic cancer, and I wanted him to be able to hold a physical copy of something I’d written and see my name on the front of it. In the end it was well worth it.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? I prefer originality and individuality, as evidenced by my choice to self-publish instead of pursuing traditional publishing. That said, there are plenty of books and stories many would consider un-original that I very much enjoy reading, and I don’t feel a need to judge other authors for their choices when it comes to fan service; it can often be an effective tool for building a reader base. It’s often gratifying to know that something you’re writing is something your readers asked for in the first place.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book? I plan on building my first novella into a series, but I also find joy in writing one-off works, such as The Raven’s Children and many of my shorter pieces. Writing is an outlet for me, and one that takes whatever shape I need it to.
Who shot first, Han or Greebo? Han, 100%. It shows a facet of his character I’m sure Disney would rather ignore: the ability to place his own freedom above the life of someone who would take it from him. That makes him a more compelling character.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? A subscription for Adobe InDesign. It lets me not only lay out manuscripts properly for paperback publishing, but also formats correctly for ebook with very little effort. I highly recommend finding a tool that works for you if you plan on doing your own manuscript layout, as most of the free tools do not offer the same ability to customize your book as the paid ones.
Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else? What is your preferred format? I don’t really have one. My first novella was a compilation of three short stories I wrote in collaboration with my father before he passed as a way to keep his mind off of his chemotherapy. My second book was a YA novel around 100k words, but I’ve also written flash fiction and short stories. Some ideas lend themselves to a certain format while others prefer another. I prefer not to limit myself to one.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? None. There’s a saying we use in software development: “stop starting and start finishing.” I adopted this a couple of years ago with regards to the longer works I’d started and finished out the ones I had in progress. Right now the only unpublished work I have is a set of flash and short fiction that I’ve used to hone my writing over time, though I’m considering publishing some either as an anthology or on my website.
What is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything? 42, of course.
What does literary success look like to you? Telling stories people enjoy. I’ve had so much positive feedback on the books and stories I’ve shared, which means that I’ve touched the hearts and minds of the people who’ve read them. That’s literary success for me.
What do you have coming next? My next novel takes a dive into the adult modern fantasy world. It’s called Involuntarily Immortal, and it follows a woman who has been alive far longer than she desires. She’s roped into a mission to save the world from becoming an undead hellscape, but can her companions also find a way to save her in the process? Find out later this year when Involuntarily Immortal is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook!