Sarah Elle Emm, author of Marrying Missy, is a native of Evansville, Indiana, and graduate of The University of Evansville. She has lived in Germany, England, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and traveled extensively beyond. Her travels and multi-cultural experience have influenced her writing and shaped her upcoming release, Prismatic, book one of the young-adult fantasy, Harmony Run Series, due spring 2012 from Winter Goose Publishing. Sarah currently resides inIndianapolis with the chef she married and their angelic, little children.
Hello! What’s your name?
My name is Sarah. Thanks for having me Lisa! My pen name is Sarah Elle Emm. The ‘Elle’ and the ‘Emm’ come from my real life initials, L and M…You see, there are lots of ladies with my maiden and married name, so I created a pen name from sounding out my initials for marketing purposes and a unique Google search. Some might think I am obsessed with my name. After all, my blog is titled, “My Name is Sarah…” Despite appearances, I don’t think it’s a particularly special name. For the detailed story behind the blog title and my mother’s tendency to call me Lucy check out this post.
What do you write and why?
I write general fiction, chick lit, romantic suspense, and young-adult fantasy novels. Mostly, I just like to tell a good story. The genre depends on the mood I am in. As a reader who enjoys multiple genres, I think it’s nice that I enjoy writing different ones…I like writing an email to a friend or writing a journal entry to the lonely, blank pages of one of my ten plus journals just the same. (I think I need to find a journal addiction support group.) Give me a piece of paper and a pen, give me a napkin, a piece of construction paper, or a post it note…Basically, if it’s blank and it can be written on, my fingers practically twitch to put some words there. For years, I didn’t tell people I was writing, but I still wrote. I write because I have to write. It was never a choice.
Do you read the same genre that you write? Why or why not?
Yes. I read a lot of genres and only write in a few of them. I have been an avid reader since I was a kid. I wish I had more time to read. (I have two kids, one husband, two editing projects on the table, a novel I am writing, my weekly blog to keep up, a mini-marathon I have no business doing I am trying to prepare for, and a handful of social networking and marketing sites I try to keep up with…) Fortunately, my NOOK fits on the treadmill at the gym. Multi-tasking is key! I try and read lots of women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense and some young-adult. I like to see what other writers are doing within these genres. I don’t over analyze what other people are writing or how they write. I have to be true to myself, and write the way that the noisy writer within wants. When I am really working on a manuscript, I tend to read less. I become slightly obsessed with my characters and my story. I love to read mysteries and thrillers also, but I don’t have plans to write within those genres as of yet.
What is the title you are promoting right now?
Marrying Missy. It was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October, 2011 and is available in paperback, Kindle, and NOOK. Bird Brain Publishing is offering Marrying Missy for FREE, now through April 10th for the e-version on Amazon.
What is it about?
Marrying Missy follows the chaotic friendship between anAtlanta heiress, Missy, and her one true friend, Tate, who basically saved her life when their paths first crossed years ago in college. This unlikely friendship is seriously put to the test in the days leading up to Missy’s wedding as Tate tries to handle all of the turmoil in her own marriage. Check out the blurb…
With constant criticism from her BFF, Buckhead heiress and bride-to-be, Missy Martin, and a short temper on the rise from her attorney husband, Ben, how is Georgia native, Tate Sullivan, supposed to kick her in-the-closet-nicotine habit?
The ultimate balancing act, Tate copes with sleep-deprived, night shifts, her mother’s interfering behavior, and her ongoing attempts to educate Missy about not making borderline racist remarks about anyone who doesn’t have money or look like her.
When a collision with a runaway Golden Retriever lands Tate in the arms of newcomer to Atlanta, Dr. Jackson Greenfield, Tate begins to think her mother has concocted an elaborate scheme. Wedding planning has never been so nerve-racking…or dangerous.
What makes this book different from others in your genre?
Marrying Missy tends to get compared a lot to Sophie Kinsella-style novels, which is very nice, but I think the main difference is in the subject matter. Marrying Missy is light, humorous at times, but there are some very important social issues in this novel…eating disorders, superficial people, prejudice, domestic violence, betrayal, to name a few.
What’s the story behind the story?
My first book, which has yet to be published, was very light-weight, fun, and total chick lit. As I planned Marrying Missy, I decided to combine the chic-lit feel with a few issues that matter to me personally, like women torturing themselves. Sometimes, I feel like a prisoner in a very superficial society. Everywhere I look there is an ad telling me to change something about myself…Eat less, try this diet, get SKINNY, buy some fake boobs, get a fake tan, buy some wrinkle cream, highlight your hair, get sexy…does it ever end? No. Personally, I struggled for years with awful self-esteem, constantly trying to please other people and get their approval. I have traveled to many places and many countries, and everywhere I go, I encounter at least one person who is dealing with the same superficial mess, some of them more than others. Then there is the issue of judging people. People don’t realize how awful they sound sometimes. I’ve had lots of run-ins with ugliness throughout my life. If I had a penny for every time I had heard something like, “She’s black, but she’s nice.” Or when I became a mother to multi-racial kids and strangers remarked about my baby… “You can’t even tell she’s not white,” with relief in their voices. Honestly, I hope people don’t realize how they sound and it’s just stupidity. Prejudice is real, and it certainly doesn’t lie within one group of people. Judging people is part of the human condition, but who says I have to like it? Missy’s character represents some of the hate that exists within our society. As one reader pointed out to me, “Missy doesn’t just hate a certain group of people. She discriminates against everyone.” I can’t ruin the story for you, but another big theme is hope. Personally, I will never give up hope that this can be a better world. You’ll have to check out Missy to see if she’s capable of change. I can only hope…
What is your goal as an author?
I want to write stories that entertain and that people of all ages can relate to on some level, but also ones where I can bring up at least one important social issue, which matters to me personally, as a female, a wife, a friend, a mother, and as a human. Some of my stories are more controversial than others, like my young-adult fantasy series about to be released, but the point is, I want to get people thinking. Even in the romantic suspense I wrote recently, the main character is constantly struggling with the loneliness and emptiness of the superficial life she has built for herself, questioning the direction her life has taken as she decides, although maybe a little too late, to try and make a change. I want there to be moments in every story I write, no matter how light or dark it is, where the reader can’t help but smile, if only for a moment. More than anything, I want the reader to fall for my characters, to care about them, to picture them in their head and be left thinking about them when they are away from the book. That’s a writer’s dream right there. Make them believe in these characters that have been living in my head around the clock night and day and invading my dreams for weeks. I want my characters to be real people to you. My mother told me recently that her husband read Marrying Missy. “He was talking about your characters like they were real people,” she said with a laugh. That’s exactly what I want to hear.
Are you working on anything new? Give us a preview of what’s to come!
I recently signed my third publishing contract, and all of my writing time is being devoted to this series. Prismatic, book one of the Harmony Run Series, will be released next month, May 2012, by Winter Goose Publishing. I am so excited about this young-adult fantasy series. Prismatic is about seventeen-year-old Rain Hawkins, who is living under tyrannical rule of President Nicks, within the segregated United Zones of the Authority. The possibility of a way out arises when Rain discovers an organized resistance called The Freedom Front, and learns that she, along with many other multi-racial people, has special abilities. Rain sets out on a mission with the resistance that will fill her life with wonder, romance, and the undying hope for a better world. Check out the cool cover and blurb here: http://www.wintergoosepublishing.com/products/prismatic/
Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
I have favorite authors. I can’t choose one. My very favorite fiction collection is Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I could read them and The Hobbit over and over again. I love the FBI thrillers from Catherine Coulter, anything James Patterson, anything Nora Roberts, (although Montana Sky and Carnal Innocence were two of my favorites.) See Jane Run by Joy Fielding and Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor are also on the list. Some of my young-adult favorites are The Chronicles of Narnia, Pippi Longstocking, Trixie Belden mysteries, The Twilight Saga, and of course, The Harry Potter Series.
Where can readers find you and your work?
I blog once a week at “My Name is Sarah…”. If you join my blog through Blogger or Networked blogs, you are entered in the monthly free book giveaway. Marrying Missy is available in paperback, Kindle, NOOK, Kindle apps for I-pads, NOOK apps for I-pads, etc., at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. Stop by my Facebook fan page and ‘like’ to be entered in the monthly free book drawing. I am on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Google +, Goodreads, and Stumbleupon. Prismatic will be out in May on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
What’s your view on the self-publishing/traditional publishing thing? Ideally, which one would you prefer and why?
Before I got my first publishing contract, I was seriously considering going the self-pub route. I think the self-pub options out there are great, especially with all of the resources for writers, and I am considering it for my romantic suspense and some chick lit that I have written. Either way, the workload is still tremendous keeping up with social networking, blogging, editing, and writing. I will say that my publisher, Winter Goose Publishing, and the group of authors there have welcomed me into their family with open arms, and so far it’s been a very positive and fantastic experience. So fantastic, in fact, that I have already signed with them for book two of the Harmony Run Series.
Do you have a favorite quote?
This one has been scribbled in my notebook since I was seventeen…
‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’
What is the most important advice you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. Don’t let your future be decided by a stack of rejection letters. (You should see my stack.) Don’t let a literary agent, (or their assistant,) sitting in an NYC office and their rejection of a query letter you sent determine your worth or knock you off of your writing high. You know who you are and why you have to write. Write because of that voice within you. Write to shut him or her up. Whatever your reasons…just write and never give up. Like Eleanor said, believe in the beauty of your dreams…
Is there anything else you’d like to say before we finish up?
Why yes…Marrying Missy is FREE for the next few days on Amazon for Kindle. Kindle has a free app also. So this means, anyone with a computer can download a FREE copy of my book. The app is for I-pads, I-phones, Androids, Macs, personal computers, and smart phones. Take advantage of this giveaway, tell your friends, and grab a FREE copy. You’ll love to hate Missy…Leave me a note on my blog, website, or Facebook page if you enjoyed…And of course, I love reviews and ratings on places like Amazon and Goodreads. Enjoy this limited time freebie, compliments of my publisher, Bird Brain Publishing! If you’d prefer the paperback, Goodreads is having a giveaway for Marrying Missy, which ends in two weeks, and I’m giving away four paperback copies.
Awesome, thanks for allowing me to interview you!
Lisa, thank you so much for having me! I hope to be interviewed by you again! This was fun!
Please take a moment to visit Sarah at the links below!