Chit Chatting with Emily Winslow

 Chit Chatting with  Emily Winslow

Interviewed by:  Jill Sheets

J: Tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get your start in writing?

E: I wanted to write a novel for a long time, but found it difficult to even start. I won some poetry awards, and I wrote logic puzzles for a national magazine. But figuring out how to write a novel eluded me. I found writing community online at a forum called Absolute Write, and found brutal but wonderful advice from the blogging agent Miss Snark. They made all the difference to me, and pointed me in the right direction. I hope this book can help make that difference for others.

J: Tell us about your book Time to Write.

E: It’s everything I’ve learned about writing a novel, both from my experience as a writer published by Random House and HarperCollins, and as a teacher of creative writing at Cambridge University.

J: What are some of the topics you cover in this book?

E: I cover various writing skills and storytelling skills (two very different things!), how to give and take critique effectively, how to evaluate agents and publishers, everything I could think of that has helped me or that I’ve seen be helpful to my students.

J: Do you believe in “Writer’s Block?” If so, how do you deal with it?

E: I find the practice of “body doubling” to be very helpful when I’ve found it difficult to motivate myself. That’s when you and another person meet to work side by side. Of course, we get tea and cake first and chat for half an hour. But then we write.

J: Tell us about some of your other books.

E: I’ve written a series of detective novels set in Cambridge, England, where I live, and a memoir of a criminal trial I was involved with. The novels are The Whole World, The Start of Everything, The Red House, and Look for Her, and the memoir is Jane Doe January.

J: What are you currently working on?

E: Now I’m experimenting with supernatural elements. I like the way the idea of ghosts can be interpreted in various ways and affect a story structurally as well as in plot.

J: Where can people get your books?

E: For Time to Write, the best and fastest way to get your hands on it is Amazon, in any country. 

J: What is the best and worst thing about writing?

E: The best thing is being understood. The worst is the seeking publication phase.

J: I read that you are a trained actress. Tell us about that. Why did you decide that you wanted to be an actress?

E: I studied acting in a very intense conservatory program and learned a lot that I still use today, in writing and teaching. But I hated how personal it was, how our bodies and voices and expressions were constantly up for criticism. I also didn’t like how actors have to constantly seek getting cast before they can do what they love. Writing can be done whenever you want (our seeking phases comes after writing, when seeking publishing), and criticism is more distant, often given in writing and there’s a chance to digest it before responding. For me, it’s a more comfortable way to express myself.

J: Is there anything else you would like to add?

E: Writing is a great way to figure things out, about yourself and how you see the world.

J: Thank you for the interview.


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