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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Author Interview: Emily Ann Ward

Today I am pleased to present to you all the forty-first in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the Reese's sticks loving Emily Ann Ward, and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
Emily:  Not particularly. In general, if I’m in the mindset to write, I can do it anywhere -- during class in my notebook, on the bus on my phone, on my computer at home. I just need to be in that creative mood. The best setting for writing, though, is me alone in the study with some epic music playing. Something like Hans Zimmer movie soundtracks! With some water, but no snacks or I’ll get distracted!
Paul:  What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Emily:  I read a lot of Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction, but I also dabble in adult fantasy/scifi, contemporary, and nonfiction. My favorite fiction authors are JK Rowling, John Marsden, Suzanne Collins, Samantha Young, Susan Bischoff. These authors have the ability to create amazing (usually fantasy, but not always) worlds and make me care about their characters.
Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Emily:  A little bit of everything! I tend to take inspiration from movies I see, books I read, conversations I hear, people I know, and mix it all up with my overactive imagination. It’d be very fantastical with all kinds of impossible things happening! It’s probably a mess in there, but I imagine it’s a pleasant place. I like happy endings and people who fight against evil.
Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
Emily:  I write whenever I can. On the bus, in class, in between classes, after dinner. I should get more writing done on the weekends but I sit around a lot in my pajamas! I actually tend to do more marketing on the weekends.
Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Emily:  Don’t tell them the ending to the Protectors series. Tell me because I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.
Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Emily:  A little bit of both. When I first start a story, I just write. I usually have a few characters and a very basic idea and I write a couple scenes without any real direction. After a chapter or two, if I feel like it’s more than just a fling, I start plotting. I outline pretty loosely, but I find I write better if I know, very broadly, what my characters are working towards.
Paul:  Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Emily:  It’s a little bit of both, actually. I definitely don’t need to do as much editing as I did five or even one year ago. But I think part of that is because I put more thought and time into my first draft. I edit as I go, and I consider the purpose of each scene. I plot in a little bit more detail than I used to, which gives my characters direction and makes the overall story arc easier to deal with when editing.
Paul:  Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Emily:  Yes, I find I do. Topics range from cloning and human replication (Finding Fiona) to life in a Renaissance-type world (the Protectors) to how exactly electricity works (Connection). I use Google Maps and Wikipedia all the time for stories set in our world. There was one novel (in revision right now) where I did a bunch of research on guns, explosives, and, of course, first aid. I’m practically an expert now ;)
Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
Emily:  My most recent book is called Connection. It’s a YA Contemporary Fantasy about two friends with a strange empathic connection. The two, Aaron and Anna, are trying to rekindle their friendship after a falling out nearly a year ago when they find out they have strange powers whenever they touch. It’s a fun story with romance and superpowers and the beginning of a series called “Le Garde.”
Paul:  What inspired you to write this book?
Emily:  I had a dream where two friends were being pressured by their moms to sit together during a math test so that they could get A's. For some reason, the two of them being close made them geniuses or something. I took that idea and morphed it a little bit -- Aaron and Anna share a connection that enables them to feed off of each other’s knowledge when in a certain proximity to each other. So, Aaron is kind of math whiz and Anna can speak French, so when they’re together, Anna understand Trig and they can carry on conversations in French.
Paul:  Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
Emily:  Oh, definitely! A few Nano novels, some Harry Potter fanfiction (no plans to turn it into a 50 Shades of Gray phenomenon). I like reading over some of them, though, and wondering if I could rewrite them. They were great ideas and characters, just the execution was all wrong!
Paul:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Emily:  Right now, I’m a full-time student studying Linguistics and Social Sciences. So, I do a lot of homework! I also work at the university library with serials and electronic resource management. Writing is definitely my biggest hobby, but I also like traveling. My husband and I have been to Western Europe twice, and we take a lot of weekend trips to the coast, to visit my family in Northern California, to travel around for his shows (he’s a musician).

Paul:  That was wonderful, Emily. I wish you every success for the future.

About Emily Ann Ward: Emily Ward is the author of Passages, Beyond Home, Finding Fiona, and The Protectors series. One of her first stories featured a young girl whose doll came to life. The rest is history. When it comes to fiction, she writes mainly young adult, contemporary, and fantasy. Aside from writing, she’s also a content editor for Entranced Publishing. She loves reading, traveling, sociology, religion, and Reese’s sticks. Currently, she lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband Chris and their crazy cats.

Emily's Website: Emily Ann Ward
Emily on Twitter: @emilyannw
Emily on Facebook: Emily Ann Ward
Emily's latest book: Connection (Amazon)

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