A while back, I asked my Twitter followers if any of them were authors and whether any of them wanted to take part in a new series where I asked them some questions about their publishing experiences.
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I received an abundance of wonderful responses, so I have decided to turn this into a whole series to give as many authors as possible a chance to get their responses in.
This week is Emma Pearl and her responses about publishing, writing, her new book Mending the Moon coming out on 1 November and the fact she’s the great-niece of one of the most famous authors of all time…
What is your book/book series?
My debut picture book Mending the Moon comes out on 1 November 2022. One night the moon falls out of the sky and shatters into pieces. Luna and her grandfather must fix it and get it back into the sky, but they’ll need the help of the animals who live on the mountain. The sequel Saving the Sun comes out in autumn 2023.
What made you want to write a book in the first place?
I’ve written stories all my life – since I was big enough to hold a pencil. It’s really all I ever wanted to do.
What got you into writing?
I’ve always loved reading and writing, and I grew up in a world full of books. Roald Dahl was my great uncle and dedicated The Twits to me (the most exciting thing that could ever happen to a 7-year-old bookworm!). I wrote endless stories as a child, poetry as a teenager, a novel in my 20s, and worked in children’s publishing for a while, but it wasn’t until I had my own kids that I began seriously writing for young people.
What was the biggest struggle when writing your book(s)?
I write novels (middle grade and young adult) and picture books – two very different skill sets. But it means there’s always something else to be working on if you run into a brick wall on one project. I flit between books, which means I’ve started a lot that I haven’t finished yet. For me, the hardest thing has been learning the craft and forcing myself (as a natural pantser) to become a plotter. Even though it wasn’t my natural way to start, it makes everything so much easier once you get your head around it. I will never run out of ideas – I have so many that I’ll never be able to write them all!
What was the publishing process like?
I was incredibly lucky to catch an editor’s interest from a traditional publishing house during an online pitch event. She has been amazing to work with from the start. We did a few rounds of revisions before they made an offer, and then about six months later, they offered on the second book. It’s been so exciting going through the whole process. Picture books are very slow, largely because of the artwork involved, but it’s amazing to see your story brought to life by the genius of the illustrator (in my case, Sara Ugolotti, who is brilliant!).
What’s been your favourite thing about being a published author?
My book’s not out in the world yet, but so far, it’s just been a dream come true to experience my story growing into a book – absolute magic. I can’t wait to share it with children everywhere!
If you could give advice to someone looking to write a book what would it be?
Before you even start writing, read in the genre/age group you’re planning to write. And then read other genres. And keep reading – it’s the best way to learn. Also, don’t be dismissive of learning the craft – even good writers need to understand how stories work. Writing has to be a passion – it’s such a torturous process – writing, revising, editing, being rejected, revising again, being rejected again… if you’re not passionate about it (and frankly even if you are), it’s going to be hard. It takes a huge emotional toll so be prepared for that and give yourself time and permission to deal with it. Perseverance and resilience are essential. And connect with other writers – they are the only ones who understand, and are invaluable for support, feedback, learning and networking. There are many online communities – jump right in and don’t be shy, most writers are introverts too but they are such a welcoming bunch. And finding your tribe can make all the difference.