On this two year anniversary of being published, I sat down with some writer pals from the same publisher who gave me my very first contract and, with their permission, this was our conversation. (Since those early days we've all moved on and spread our wings, but with fond memories of these early days we looked back on what we've learned).
FIRESIDE CHAT with Alexndra O'Hurley and Emma Shortt
Jayne - So
ladies, here we are sitting down with chilled chardonnay and some authorly
wisdom/whining. I'm so glad you could spare a minute to stop in and chat.
Put another log on the fire and grab a beanbag. I'm afraid I don't have
any with Hugh Jackman printed on them. Or Justin Bieber. Sorry Alex. (And
I want you to know I had to Google that to get his last name spelled
correctly - that's how cool I am)
describe yourselves and what you're wearing right now, because I know Youtube
can't handle the vision of the three of us at one time.
Emma - I’m sat here in a vest and my knickers – that would be pants to any Americans. Now I don’t want anyone to swoon over the idea of me in red lace and silk because the reality is sooo not like that! The vest is stained and the pants are about ten years old and reach to my armpits. They’re also a sort of dirty grey with faded little flowers on. I know, I know, I’m such a seductress!
- Alex -I’d like to start off
by saying I wouldn’t sit on a Justin Bieber bean bag if it was the last beanbag
on earth. Wait – beanbags are fun. Yes I would.
Anyway, I’ve got my lovely authorly lounging wear on. My tight black leggings and my blue mandarin
collared tunic. My long hair’s twisted
up in a bun. Not a speak of makeup – now
that’s something YouTube couldn’t handle right there.
- Jayne -
Alex, Methinks the lady doth protest too much about Justin Beiber beanbags. And Emma ten year-old stains? Don't you have a maid? LOL
Emma- I have a man servant. He doesnt do laundry.
Alex- all rumors of me and Justin Beiber have been vastly exaggerated. He's still dining off those rumors. Please! He's too old for me.
Jayne - ok ladies, I know the last few years for me have been crazy. I went from being a struggling would-be author with a shoe-box of rejections and a dwindling ray of hope, to seeing eight books into e-book format and print in just two years. I'm sure you've both faced similar changes (and challenges). At what point did you feel you were finally a "writer"?
Emma - Maybe with the first proper royalty check or when one of my books finally hit a best seller list, it kind of became real then. That being said I don’t think I’ll feel like a proper author until I earn enough money to make it my day job.
Jayne - How do you keep the fingers typing and the ideas fresh? I always want to say I do Yoga and drink wheatgrass. (does vodka count? It's wheat, right?)
Emma - The ideas are not a problem. I have documents full of them, truthfully I probably have enough to keep me going for the next ten years. It’s more the constant non-stop-ness of it that I struggle with. To keep the books coming out and to try and branch out in other directions it feels like I am never pausing. Once one book is done the next has to start and it’s exhausting! These writers that do a book a year? Geez I am so jealous of them. I’m pushing myself for one a month and I’m bloody knackered.
Alex - I’d say any type of alcohol is a whole grain and it should have its own place on the nutrition guide. To be honest, on nights where I struggle to get the wordage in, I will pour myself a glass of wine or two. It seems to get everything flowing rather well. And on a scientific note, I read a report saying scientists had done an experiement where they had a group of men drink two beers and then do some math. The tipsy group did exceptionally better than the control (ie sober) group. So there is scientific evidence that alcohol can make you smarter. Just don’t go crazy.
Alex -That’s hard to say. They’re all a part of me, a little nugget o’Alex. Hmm, I’d have to say Burlesque Trio, just because I’ve gotten rave reviews on it and no one bought it. It’s lying there dying, its lovely story crying in a dark corner. I so want to go and hug it, pat it on the head, and tell it everything will be okay. http://www.bookstrand.com/burlesque-trio
If you would do anything differently in any of the books you've written what would it be? Ever written a character you really didn't like afterward? And which hero you penned is your absolute favorite?
Alex -I actually had the chance to re-write two of my novels, which was torture. But I was able to get them closer to the polished novels they should have been from the start. A character I didn’t like? Many of my villains, which I seem to have too many of. My favorite hero – would have to be Michel from Deviant Knights. http://www.evernightpublishing.com/deviant-knights-by-alexandra-ohurley/He’s broken and the emotion within him actually brought tears to my eyes.
Emma - I’d change The Kiss. http://www.evernightpublishing.com/products/The-Kiss-by-Emma-Shortt.html Probably add in about another 50k and really push myself on it. I don’t think I’d developed enough as a writer when it was published to do the idea justice. It ended up as a novella (about 50k), I’d make it a super packed novel if I could, and maybe will when I get my rights back
Jayne - I've read condemnation of my characters in nasty, anonymous blog posts which I later found out (with a little investigation - and trust me, I'm no Sherlock Holmes) were by other writers who gave up their craft. Can't please all, never will. My aim is to bring pleasure to some people, some of the time, and to write what I love to write all of the time. Simple. Easy. Or is it?
I know, it’s silly. But when I met him for the first time, to go pick up the pants, it was love at first sight.
So there you have the sordid truth ladies and gents. Writers and what not.
Website for Alexandra O'Hurley: www.alexandraohurley.com