Tuesday, 4 August 2015

In Conversation with Emma Cameron

Today I am so pleased to welcome the delightful Emma Cameron. A talented and hardworking author who was so generous with her time when Destiny Road was first published. Her novel Cinnamon Rain was the first verse novel I ever read and would highly recommend it!

Quick Plug …
Cinnamon Rain – a verse novel about change, choice and working out what’s important in life.

Tell us a little about your writing journey.
In late 2004 my job with the NSW Department of Education was abolished. What a wonderful opportunity to choose a new career. Unsure what to do, I went back through school reports to see what inspired me before adult life took over. Apparently, as a six-year-old, I was an avid reader, possessed a most expressive, effective vocabulary, and wrote well, with creative flair. Thinking back to how I enjoyed books and the energy of young people when I’d worked in school libraries years earlier I immersed myself in books again. I soon knew I wanted to become a writer. In 2005 and 2006 I completed courses in writing and editing and in 2007 signed my first contract for pieces to be used in education resource kits. Novel length works, of course, took longer to be written and reach publication. Cinnamon Rain was contracted in 2010 and published in 2012.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
The fact that, no matter how much we know and understand about writing, there is always more to learn. Delving into the hearts and minds of characters to find what’s really at the core of their story can also be incredibly satisfying. As can crossing out anything that doesn’t earn its place on the page. I’m a fan of the delete button on my keyboard. Hitting it gives me an incredible sense of freedom.

What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
How much there is to learn. An inexhaustible amount of learning on offer can, in itself, be exhausting. Another hard part of being a writer is that it can take an awful long time to know what’s at the core of a story, which means the incredible sense of freedom I get from hitting the delete button may not strike as often as I’d like.

Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?
While my stories don’t necessarily stem from things that have happened to me, there are elements within them that I’ve taken from things I’ve observed. I find people fascinating and watching how others react to situations helps me tap into what makes people tick, which I think is essential to being able to present believable characters to readers.

Tell us about your publications?
Much of my writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, has found a home with educational publishers or in magazines and anthologies.
Cinnamon Rain, my first novel, is told in verse from the viewpoint of its three main characters Luke, Casey and David as they journey into adulthood. They each have varied challenges to overcome and though it’s marketed as YA it has attracted many older readers. I was tickled to receive an email from an elderly man who said it got him back into reading again. Besides being a 2013 CBCA Notable, a 2013 and 2014 Stella Prize shortlisted book, it was published in the US, under the title Out of This Place, where it was a finalist in the 2015 Global Read Aloud.

 View From the 32nd Floor follows William, a deep thinker, who worries about things he notices around him. His response to each of these shows how surprisingly little effort it takes to instigate great change. A 2014 CBCA Notable it was also nominated for 2015 Sakura Medal.

What is the most surprising thing about writing/publishing you have learnt?
When I decided to embark on a writing career I adopted a strong business approach and I think this meant that there’s never been anything about publishing itself that surprised me. It’s more what’s happened after my novels reached readers that pleasantly surprised me. To see what has been said about my stories shows me that I’ve connected with readers in very special ways and that wasn’t anything I ever expected.

Other than writing what else do you love?
The peace and quiet that reading brings, even if I’m in a noisy place. The noise and fun that playing with my grandchildren brings, even if we’re in a quiet place.

What would your dream location for writing be?
Anywhere I can use a pen and paper is fine. If it comes with sunlight, so much the better.
Five words that sum you up.
Honest, thoughtful, experimental, hardworking, determined.
How can we learn more?
Thanks for the interview, Melissa. It has provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my writing journey so far and you can learn more about what I do via my website www.emmacameron.com.au
Thanks so much for your sharing your writing journey Emma. May all that hard work and dedication keep paying off!




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