Fossend Publishing

Fossend Publishing

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Author Interview with Sarah Elle Emm

Today I would like to welcome author Sarah Elle Emm to my blog, she is author of the brilliant Harmony Run Series, and I'm so excited to be able to interview her about the latest book in the series, Chatoyant.

Chatoyant - Harmony Run Series Book 3

Interview with Sarah Elle Emm:
Q: Welcome Sarah, it’s great to have you here today.  Can you give the readers a brief overview of your Book, CHATOYANT?
CHATOYANT is the third book in my young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, the Harmony Run Series.  It is set in the year 2050 and follows the continuing story of seventeen-year-old Rain Hawkins and those closest to her as they take on the dictator of the former U.S.A.

Here is the book blurb:
In the wake of an interrogation led by the UZTA's dictator, President Nicks, Rain Hawkins and her friends must deal with the consequences of their defiance as the countdown continues towards the execution of the mixed-zone citizens across the United Zones of The Authority. The Freedom Front faces new challenges as Rain's cousin, Calista, prepares for her impending relocation to the pure zone, and Rain sets out to solve the mystery surrounding her mother's torment while being followed by an officer of the Elizabeth Guard. As she uses her abilities to dodge The Authority and follows the strange clues from her dreams, Rain is determined to persevere, to secure the future she and Jabari have been fighting for, and to earn The Freedom Front's ultimate goal of liberation. 

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and when your interest in writing began.
I am married to Charles, a chef restaurateur, (which translates to a very busy and talented man), and we have two daughters, six and eight.  I grew up in Evansville, Indiana, which was founded along the banks of the Ohio River.  When we weren’t boating and waterskiing, we were traveling. My parents took us everywhere, (around the U.S.A., Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Europe), so I blame them for sparking the travel bug in me.  I applied for every study abroad program I could, so before I graduated high school I had traveled to and or studied in schools in Germany, England, and Mexico, not to mention the various countries I went to along the way.  After getting my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, I packed my backpack and lived in Germany again and later Mexico.  In Mexico, I worked in a restaurant, taught English, and learned Spanish.  After Mexico, a friend in the U.S.A. offered me a restaurant job in a town where there was a culinary school, and I thought it would be another way to continue traveling…having a culinary degree.  So after getting my degree, I was hired by one very handsome, talented chef, and we discovered we had the Virgin Islands in common.  Charles had worked there over many years, and I had traveled there yearly with my family.  So naturally, we fell in love, and I moved to St. Croix with him.  We operated two restaurants in the U.S. Virgin Islands before we ended up in Naples, Florida.  We love it here, and though we will continue to travel, (we’re headed to Italy, France, and Spain this summer), we are not moving again!  I’m grateful for the interesting story ideas and inspiration traveling has created for me over the years, though I felt compelled to write long before my travels began…

I remember watching my mother write at her typewriter or on yellow legal pads when I was a little girl, and I felt so drawn to do the same.  I wanted to tell my own stories and play with words myself.  The first vivid memory I have of writing is around age seven.  I wrote a Christmas poem for my parents, and they framed it, which thrilled me.  Mom still has it hanging on the wall at her house.  After that first dabble, I mostly wrote journal entries, poems, and short stories over the years until I finally attempted my first novel around age twenty-two.  Basically, I’ve loved words since I can remember, and I love creating with them.  No matter where I’ve been or what phase of life I’ve been in, I’ve always felt compelled to write.  I’m thirty-five now, and yellow legal pads and blank computer screens or pages from notebooks still whisper to me, just like they did when I was a kid.  I don’t think it will ever go away.  At least I hope it doesn’t.

Q: I have read the first two books in the Harmony Run Series, PRISMATIC and OPALESCENT and really loved them. What prompted you to write the series?
Thank you for reading them and for the amazing compliment! I was taking a nap one afternoon back in 2010 and had a dream about the characters from the Harmony Run Series.  I jumped up, ran to my kitchen table, and filled pages of a notebook up with ideas, character descriptions, and plot points.  I’d always been interested in fantasy and dystopian books and movies, but I hadn’t attempted to write in the genre until that dream.  I really didn’t have a choice after that.

Q: I really liked how you laced the books in the Harmony Run series with comparisons to certain historical events, and specific / relevant social issues.  How important was this to the story?
Thanks, Chrissie.  I remember getting my first email from a parent who had read PRISMATIC and how happy she was to see those historical comparisons.  I have German ancestors, and I spent a lot of time traveling to Germany and studying there when I was younger.  I remember visiting Dachau concentration camp for the first time around age twelve and really being struck with this overwhelming feeling of horror about how evil mankind could be and had been.  Later, I remember visiting Checkpoint Charlie and reading about post war oppression of Germans and that really broke me down as well.  I was intrigued by the spying on neighbors, the attempted escapes from former East Berlin, and the overall oppression. Mostly, I was amazed by stories of hope during all of these historical events.  I know these things still happen today, concentration camps in North Korea to name one, and atrocities occur around the world and have been throughout history.  I thought it would be interesting to pull from real events and use those parallels in my fantasy story about very real social issues we have today, prejudice and racism…

The entire point of the Harmony Run Series is that we’re all just humans, regardless of our outward differences, our cultural differences, or “social status”.  I thought it would be worthwhile to write a story where people of various cultural and “racial” backgrounds would work together towards harmony.  Combining historical events with this fantasy story serves as a reminder that horrific things have happened in our world already, and this story isn’t that impossible to imagine.

Q: You have some excellent characters in CHATOYANT, do you have a personal favourite?
The protagonist, Rain, is hands down my favorite because she is so brave, driven, and nurturing at the same time.  I try to imagine myself living in an oppressed society like hers, and I can’t even fathom being as together as she is.  There are so many things I love about the other characters, it wouldn’t be fair to them (because they’re clearly real-at least in my mind) to just choose one. J However, I love Zi’s witty personality, I love Marcello’s flirtatious nature,- he makes me laugh-, and Jabari is pretty amazing as far a boyfriends go.

Q: What challenges did you face when writing CHATOYANT? 
CHATOYANT was easily the most challenging of the series for me so far. (I’m nearly finished with the last book, NACREOUS, now.) CHATOYANT wasn’t the finale of the series, so it had to connect the dots between book two and four, so to speak, but still be exciting and make you want to pick up the final book.  I felt tremendous (self-inflicted) pressure while writing CHATOYANT. I wanted it to be satisfying and great, but I wanted it to leave you desperate for the final installment.

Q: Will there be any more books in the Harmony Run Series?
Yes.  As I briefly touched on, the final book in the series is called NACREOUS, and it will be released in the fall of 2015.  I care about the characters from this series so much, part of me hates to have to bring it to a close, but I know there are other stories I feel compelled to tell after this. Some of the characters have already been talking to me, but I keep telling them to buzz off for now.  I’ve got to finish Rain’s story. ;)

Q: Do you have any specific writing routines?
My writing routines have adapted over the past few years.  Before, the kids were home, and their nap time was my golden hour of writing.  These days, I write whenever and wherever I can.  I take my notebook and laptop with me everywhere.  I write at my desk, in the car pick up line at my daughters' school, at their after school activities, in my bed, on the couch, and outside on the patio while the kids play in the yard.  I write in between doing laundry and household cleaning.  I also write in the evenings after the kids go to bed.  I've found that when I don't write, too much angst builds up in me, and I feel like I'll explode.  So even if I just write a journal entry, two paragraphs of my manuscript, or even a short poem, I have to write something.  It makes me feel good.

Q: What are the best and worst things about writing? 
I love finishing a chapter.  I don’t know why, but that feeling is so good when a chapter clicks and falls into place.  You’ve just taken your imaginary friends and brought them to life using a keyboard or pen.  You’ve not only expressed your own emotions and released them somehow, you’ve written something that will probably make at least one person out there feel something real, too.  All from your imagination.  I think that’s pretty cool.

Worst thing?  Those rare, but amazing days when the words are flowing, you can’t stop writing, and then, boom, reality check… You’ve got to stop what you’re doing and rejoin the world and your responsibilities.

Q: Do you read?  If so what type of books do you read?
Yes, I love to read!  I have an enormous to-be-read pile.  It is a bit out of control, but I slowly, but steadily make my way through it.  I read lots of young-adult, suspense, chick lit, inspirational, some fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, mystery and romance, even nonfiction from time to time.  I end up reading middle grade too, to see what my daughter’s reading mostly, and sometimes I read books before her to make sure it isn’t something I don’t want her reading.  My favorite genre though is YA dystopian and fantasy.  I also read the Bible everyday, which I didn’t start doing so diligently until a few years ago, but it is part of my daily routine.

Q: Do you have a favorite author?  If so, who and why?
I honestly couldn’t choose.  I have favorite books, but just choosing one author as my favorite?  I don’t think I can.  Some of my favorite books include Trixie Belden Mysteries by Julie Campbell, See Jane Run by Joy Fielding, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Twilight Saga, The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss, Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, The Story of Harriet Tubman: Freedom Train by Dorothy Sterling, and The Last Supper Catering Company by Michaelene McElroy.

Q: Do you do a lot of research for your books?  If so how important is research for you?
Yes. Even though I write fiction, as you noticed, there have been some historical comparisons in the Harmony Run Series, and I’ve done research for each of the books.  I’ve also pulled a lot from my own memories of visiting museums, Checkpoint Charlie, and Dachau concentration camp. Last year, I also visited the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida, which is a wonderful resource for more research.

Q: Tell the readers something interesting about yourself that others may not know.
I am very shy.  I’m around 78% introvert according to one of those free online personality tests.  I’d much rather hang out at home or in a tranquil environment than to be in a large social setting.  I tried to overcome that part of me for years, but ultimately, I accepted the fact I’m quite content in my solitude. I love to “talk” to my notebook or computer.  The pen in my hand can say whatever it is I can’t seem to express when I am in uncomfortable social settings. I love people, don’t get me wrong, and I enjoy travel, but I find it difficult to relax if there are too many people.  I’m more of a small group or one on one type of person.

Q:  What’s next for Sarah Elle Emm?
After I finish NACREOUS, the last book in the Harmony Run Series, which I expect to do soon, I’ll go through the editing process for a few months. After that, I’m planning to write another YA fantasy series.  But first, I have to finish a Middle Grade (MG) story I started for my eight-year-old last summer.  I promised her I would complete it as soon as I finish NACREOUS, and she reminds me of it weekly.

Quick fire round:
Sweet or savoury

Beach or countryside
So, I live one mile from the beach, but I absolutely miss and adore the countryside. I love visiting my mother in Indiana and sitting on her patio swing and walking around her grassy, wooded acreage. It’s beautiful.

EBook or paperback

Classic or modern

Sun or Snow

About the Author:

Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS set for release August 2015). Her debut fiction novel MARRYING MISSY, an Amazon Best Seller in marriage, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of the University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has travelled extensively beyond. Her love of journal writing, travel, and multicultural experience have all influenced her novels. Sarah lives in  Naples, Florida with her husband, Chef and Restaurateur Charles Mereday, and their two daughters. When she's not walking the plank of her daughters' imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.

To learn more about Sarah you can visit her website, follow her on twitter or facebook

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