Wednesday I posted a review of Emily Littlejohn’s “Inherit the Bones,” which came out in 2017 to rave reviews and was a Colorado Book Award finalist. I was fortunate enough to get a follow-up interview so you can all get to know her and her writing a little better.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing typically energizes me! I always feel great after a nice, long stretch of writing.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Distractions online such as the news, Facebook, other things vying for my attention.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I sold my first book in a two book deal, so my second book was written under deadline.
How do you select the names of your characters?
It depends. Sometimes I’ll borrow first or last names of friends and family. Sometimes the names just come to me. And if I’m stuck, or need inspiration, I’ll refer to books on names.
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing? What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?
For me, the hardest thing is facing down that first white blank page at the beginning of a story. Using outlines has helped tremendously with this. The easiest is the editing – I love to edit and always find things to change in subsequent drafts.
Do you read much? Who are your favorite authors?
Yes! Love to read, always have. Favorite authors is hard, but to name just a few: Michael Connelly, Stephen King, James Lee Burke, Louise Penny, Henning Mankell
If given the opportunity to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?
Not a thing. Each step and outcome has gotten me to where I am.
Do you read any of your own work once it’s been published?
Not really. I’m usually focused on promoting the current book and writing the next one or two.
You were pregnant with your daughter around the time your first book came out. Was your decision to make your main character pregnant based on your own situation, or was it a coincidence?
I actually was not pregnant at the time of writing, only at the time of touring and as the book was published. It was a happy coincidence.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I’ve chosen to learn from criticism, so there really hasn’t been anything tough I’ve heard. There are some funny negative reviews out there but it doesn’t bother me. Readers’ tastes are so unique and personal and not every book is for everyone. Best compliment – getting a second publishing contract to write the third and fourth books in my series.
People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?
Ha, I think this is funny because it’s what I used to believe. I’m sure for some authors it is glamorous but at the end of the day, I write because I enjoy the process and it’s a creative outlet. The writing happens in between my professional career, which I love, and taking care of my family. I’ve changed a diaper and put my daughter down for a nap, written five hundred words, and then she’s up and the manuscript isn’t touched for the rest of the day.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I’ve always been a huge mystery reader, starting with Nancy Drew. It was the natural genre for me to write in.
How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?
A mini-shopping spree.
What do you think most characterizes your writing?
My stories have strong plots and appealing characters. They are traditional mysteries, police procedurals, but they appeal to a wider audience because of the characters and the setting.
How do you feel about ebooks vs print books and alternatives vs conventional publishing?
I don’t have much feelings either way on this topic. There will always be people to prefer print to ebook and at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with ebooks. It’s only recently in our history that stories have taken a print form; for thousands of years we’ve enjoyed stories verbally. So, for me, the format doesn’t really mean much. And for publishing, whatever gets your product into readers hands works. I’ve loved being traditionally published because of the huge support system in place. But for other authors, self-publishing may be the way to go.
Thanks, Emily, for taking the time to answer my questions!
For readers out there who can’t get enough, the second book in the series, A Season to Lie, is already out and book three, Lost Lake, will be published later this year.
You can find more information on Emily’s website: https://www.emilylittlejohn.com