Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Author Interview - Emily Benet

Emily was born in London to a Welsh mother and Spanish father, but spent her teenage years in Barcelona.

Her debut book ShopGirl Diaries began as a blog about working in her Mum's eccentric chandelier shop. It won the CompletelyNovel Author Blog Awards at the London Book Fair in 2010 and inspired her script for Shop Girl Blog, a comedy taster starring Katy Wix.


Emily has contributed articles on Blogging and Social Media to guidebooks and magazines including Survival Guide to Journalism, Publishing Talk, The New Writer and Mslexia and runs Blogging for Beginners and Improvers workshops.

 
She has just signed a two book deal with Harper Collins' digital imprint Harper Impulse and her next book, Spray Painted Bananas, will be coming out in Summer 2014. 


If she's not writing or thinking about writing, it's probably because she's up a mountain or fast asleep.

*****
I met Emily through the generosity of my writing friend Sydnee Blake.  If not for her offer of a blogging workshop with Emily I would not be writing this post today.

For anyone feeling uncertain about giving blogging a go I can highly recommend one of Emily's workshops.  And for those who prefer reading to writing there are her Short Stories for Busy Adults and the shopgirl novel which made her a blogging to book sensation.


Her latest novel with Harper Collins' digital imprint Harper Impulse is due out later this summer but she is still waiting on a final decision regarding the title.





?  Why did you start blogging? (Emma - Muswell Hill)

A
I started my blog back in June 2008. At the time I would have liked to have a column in a national newspaper, but without any experience or contacts in the industry there was fat chance of that happening! I would send off pitches to magazines but never hear back. I had also spent 3 years writing a novel (which I ended up discarding) so I wasn't ready to embark on a new one. A blog provided me with a platform for my writing and offered the possibility of gaining a readership. Basically I started a blog because I want to write regularly and be read.

?  What would you say to writers who think blogging is a waste of time and diverts creative efforts away from their bigger efforts like novels? 
(Bev - Sheffield)

A
Blogging isn't for everyone and if you aren't passionate about it at the beginning I doubt it will have a long life span anyway. I also think if you have very limited time then you should concentrate on your main project. On the other hand, my experience and the experience of many other bloggers turned authors is proof that it isn't a waste of time. Blogging is creative and will push you to write more. The more you write the better you get. I think Twitter and Facebook is where the real time gets wasted.

?  How did you advertise your blog and get people to read it? 
(Nichole - Wandsworth)

A
I didn't know what I was doing at the start. I just told people about it, and people shared it with their friends. I set up a facebook group too and I was lucky that only 6 months in to writing it a publisher spotted it. You increase your traffic by blogging regularly, offering good quality and consistent content, and blogging about something that people will care about. If something is great people will bother to share it.

?  What do you think makes your blog stand out from the rest? 
(Steve - North London)

A
I don't know if it is unique enough at the moment! It began as a blog about working in my Mum's chandelier shop so it was funny and quirky. I don't work there now so my blog posts are about the writing journey, social media tips and lifestyle. My voice has stayed the same I suppose, which is good humoured and personal. But I do think after six years of blogging I do need time out to review what direction I'm going in. 
 
What inspires you to write? (Chantal - East Dulwich)

A
I think if you want to make it as a writer, you need to treat it as a job. I never think about what inspires me any more! I just know when I'm stuck, it's probably time to do something physical. I find household chores good for getting ideas. I suppose what really inspires me is seeing people work hard for what they want. I'm not just talking about writers either. I have a lot of admiration for people who 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. 
 
?  What has been the most useful tool in developing your writing? 
(Victor - Highgate)

A
My laptop? Ha. Seriously, I'm not sure if I'd be a writer if I had to use a typewriter or pen and paper for that matter. I suppose my writing has developed due to a combination of writing obsessively since I was 11, getting feedback from writing groups, attending random courses and reading lots of novels.

How much time do you spend on social media versus your other writing? (Sarah - Angel)

A
I would be embarrassed to know how many hours a week I spend checking my mail and fiddling about on Facebook and Twitter. Engaging with people is good, but it's when I'm checking random videos on YouTube to avoid tacking a problem with my novel, that I get annoyed with myself. My actual writing I can monitor more easily and in the end, when I've got a deadline I'll get the novel written, no matter what.


How do you structure your day to facilitate your writing? (Sydnee - Finchley)


A
I set a minimum word count of 1500 – 2000 words. I draw up a column and insert boxes labelled 500. Every 500 words I write, I cross off a box until I've reached my word count. Breaking a word count down into small amounts makes it feel more achievable and it's rewarding ticking off the boxes. Everything I have to do for the day goes into my column. This interview was in my column for the day... and now I'm going to cross it off! I suppose I'm disciplined like that! 

*****
 To keep up with Emily's writing journey you can read her blog or visit her facebook author page. 

Have just heard from Emily that her new novel will be called The Temp. It will be out in bookshops soon so keep your eyes peeled.

 


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