How coincidental that I’ve spent the entire morning working on a nonfiction book about bullying and today’s featured debut author, Rebecca Emin, has written a young adult novel about the very same topic. It’s like I planned it. And I totally didn’t. Really.
Name of book: New Beginnings
Book genre: Children/YA contemporary (for 10- to 14-year-olds)
Date published: January 23, 2012
Publisher: Grimoire Books
What is your day job? Writer/mum
What is your book about? Sam Hendry starts at senior school (high school) and becomes the victim of bullying. The novel shows how she deals with this issue and makes friends elsewhere.
Why did you want to write this book? I wrote it in an attempt to make people think about bullying and the impact it has on people. I know a lot of people who have been bullied at various stages in life, and it’s a common thing which shouldn’t be ignored.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? For me, with three young children, it’s finding the time to sit and get my words down when I always have a huge list of other things to be doing.
Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write this book (visit certain locales, etc.)? No, this novel is set in an area I know, and actually even when they go away for a break, I used a place I have visited to make sure the facts would be correct.
What motivates you to write? I’ve always said that one day I would write a novel, ever since I was very young. It was when I was 38, I realised time was stamping on and I hadn’t written that book yet… So I set myself the target of doing so before I was 40. Luckily, that worked.
Did you experience writer’s block? I find the best way to beat the block is to not think about writing at all. I find when I am swimming or ironing or basically doing anything where you have thinking time is when my ideas come to me.
How long did it take you to write this book? I wrote the book in one month, during NaNoWriMo in 2009. I then let it sit for about 4 months before going through it again. The editing took 10 months altogether.
Tell me about the publishing process. Was it easier or more difficult than you thought it would be? I have been incredibly lucky in that my publisher requested to read my manuscript before I had even finished it completely. I would never have predicted that would happen. That made it much easier for me than I had anticipated.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about writing a book? That anyone can do it if they have the time. You have to make the time, and you have to want to write it, but more than anything you have to see it through, because when you get to a certain point (I am sure that point varies for each person) you will feel like deleting that file and never reading it again!
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? I loved the edit. Having a professional edit taught me an awful lot. But above all, with all of my writing, I love it when someone reads my work and gets in contact to say that it’s touched them in some way. You can’t beat that feeling.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? I use Twitter, Facebook and my blog to build a platform and get to know people. I have had a book signing in a café near a local school, which was a great success. I’ve done giveaways via Goodreads, been on local radio, and I generally mention my writing to anyone who asks what I do.
Do you plan on writing another book? I have already finished my second novel, When Dreams Come True, which is releasing this month, on May 28.
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I don’t think luck comes into it, to be honest. I think you have to work hard when you’re a writer and anyone who thinks otherwise is in the wrong business. I spend every minute of my day thinking about what I have to do next. It is an all-consuming thing, so hard work is the key.