Emma Hart is one of my new favorite authors. I read her book, Being Brooke, in a single sitting and knew I had to reach out to the author. The book is funny, sexy, and has characters that leap off the page. My full review of it will be posted on Amazon and B&N and all those good places later today, so check it out if you’d like. And of course, buy that book! Seriously, you will enjoy. And now, on with the interview!
Hi Emma! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I am a really huge fan of yours and I can’t tell you how excited I am to pick your brain a little bit. 🙂 OK so my first question is this. You have gorgeous pink hair! I love your author photo on your website emmahart.org. Okay, I guess that’s not an actual question. 🙂 So my real REAL first question is: you have written A LOT of amazing books. It looks like you started publishing in 2014. So in only four years, you’ve released 30+ books, became a NY Times and USA today bestseller, and had your books translated into several languages. How the heck do you do it?! How do you stay so productive?
Hi, Bethany! Thank you so much for having me.
Thank you! My pink hair is probably my favourite thing about myself. (Don’t tell my butt that, and let’s ignore the fact I have a good inch of ginger roots right now…!)
I have indeed written a lot! I like to keep it fresh – even though I’m writing romantic comedy right now, I change up the tropes so I’m not writing the same thing over and over. Also, I don’t read romance – I’m a paranormal mystery girl – so I’m always fresh. I take a week between books to binge read all the things and reset my mind!
You mentioned in a previous interview that you are very good at procrastinating. 🙂 Me too! How do you get yourself to sit in the chair and work? Or do you perhaps dictate? (I just discovered dictation and love it!) What are some tips for other procrastinating writers?
Oh my gosh, I think I wrote the book on procrastinating. I’m the person who will not write for a week then write half a book in three days! I had carpal tunnel surgery earlier this year, but now, I’m trying really hard to focus every day.
I use an online program called pacemaker.press to track my word count, and that helps. If I miss a day, I can log that I wrote zero words and it updates the rest of my word counts until my deadline. See enough of those numbers creep up and you’ll get your butt in the chair! HA!
I guess my advice would be to set aside thirty minutes a day to block out everything – turn off your internet, leave your phone in another room, and just write. Even if you don’t want to! Discipline is the hardest thing about this job.
If it’s alright, can we talk about when you were first writing? I read that you were reading a ton to help you through postpartum depression, and your husband suggested you write a book, too. (So glad he did!) I know how tough and what a battle it can be writing and going to that creative well when you’re dealing with anxiety or depression. How were you able to write during that time? What helped you keep going?
Yes, of course! I was at home with my daughter, and he got so fed up of me stealing his phone the second he got home from work that it was less of suggestion and more of an…order. 🙂
Honestly, I found it an escape. Sitting down and escaping into another world while she slept was really freeing. It was something my mind could latch onto that was wholly mine, and nobody even knew for a long time. Not even my husband! LOL! I actually had a deadline immediately after my son was born, and I wrote a book in two weeks. I think the process of actually writing during that vulnerable time helped me manage the way I felt. Even now, if I relapse into a dark place, the first thing I do is write.
Okay, let’s go back to your stories! Like I said before, you’ve written A LOT! Thirty and counting! How do you make sure that each story is fresh and interesting? (They are, trust me!)
Thank you!!! Keeping things fresh is definitely hard! For me, it’s as simple as taking breaks between books, having a secret project that’s my “fun” place to be, and changing up the tropes, locations, jobs, etc. For example, my tropes this year have been/will be: office romance, enemies to lovers, best friend’s brother, fake relationship, second chance romance, and my upcoming book, Tequila Tequila, is a best friends to lovers romance. The dynamics of the relationships is definitely the freshest thing.
There’s a real struggle with the dreaded blank page! I’m a writer too but I also teach writing and a lot of my students are always pretty terrified of it. How do you deal with the blank page? Do you outline a lot beforehand, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? 🙂
I’m the CEO of Pansters United. Seriously. I write a vague blurb before I start writing – that’s how my ideas present themselves to me, weirdly – but otherwise, I wing the entire thing. As for the first page, I’ll often get the opening lines for a book I’m writing in six months pop into my head. I think that really helps when it comes to opening that file to not have to see that page.
If you’re really stuck, go do something else. Leave the page open – put the title, your name, and Chapter One, then go do some weird mundane task like scrub out your bathtub, and you’ll be surprised what comes to you when you’re not thinking about it!
On the other side of that, when people are writing, I know it can be difficult to turn off the Internal editor and the voice in your head that says this stinks and it’s not good. Do you have any advice for how to keep going when it feels like every word you’re writing is not very great?
I’m a word vomiter. I don’t really have an inner editor because I tend to just throw words on the page, and I don’t go back and read/edit before I start the next day.
For any advice, I’d refer to my favorite quote: The first draft of anything is sh*t – Ernest Hemingway. It really is, but remember this: you can’t edit words that don’t exist. Even if the words are shit, they’re no good to you if they’re not on the page. Take a deep breath and write them anyway!
Your covers for your books are absolutely stunning. Do you still make them yourself? If so, what is your process like for that?
Thank you so much! I do still make them – I don’t think I could hand them to anyone else at this point. (Can we say control freak??)
It’s a long and stressful one, I won’t lie. I tend to do my covers a few months before I start writing, which makes it easier in terms of finding a person to fit the character. I find the model and write to that, but even after I think I’ve found the model, it can be anywhere between three to fifteen drafts before I find a cover that I really love.
You have a very distinct brand. It’s sexy, edgy rom-com that is a ton of fun. One of my favorite stories is Being Brooke. I always love characters who are a bit of a hot mess. As a self-published author, did you know your brand when you first started, or did it develop over time?
Oh my god, I had no idea. It was actually last year that I really latched onto the idea of my brand being just that and having females on my covers. I mean, I’m a weird one in the indie world. That said, I’ve embraced that. I think it takes a little time to find your corner of the industry.
Let’s talk about your upcoming release. You have four of them coming up in 2019 alone. And you have another one tequila, tequila coming out November 13. Incidentally my birthday! What can you tell us about tequila, tequila? And also what we can expect for your from your 2019 releases?
TEQUILA TEQUILA IS SO FUN. Gosh, sorry. LOL! I am having the best time writing this book. Tequila Tequila is a standalone romcom about what happens when two best friends gets stupid drunk and sleep together – except it is the worst sex EVER. Neither one wants to ruin their friendship, so they refuse to admit that they remember what happened that night. But, you know, all good lies come back to bite you on the ass. 😉
For 2019, my first slated release is CATASTROPHE QUEEN, coming January 29th. I think the title says a lot about what to expect from that one 😉 It’s an office romance and I’m so excited to start it.
In a nutshell, you can expect more sexiness, more laughs, more inappropriate elderly relatives, and a hell of a lot more awkwardness.
I’m so excited to see for your 2019 releases! How do you celebrate when one of your stories is finally out in the world?
Celebrating is hard for me, mostly because release days are SO busy, but I do reach a point where I reach for the wine and give up on the rest of the day!