As seen in the January issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
Uncaged: What got you started in writing, especially historical? Have you ever thought of writing in other genres?
Ever since I was fourteen and discovered my first ever medieval romance (Almost Innocent, by Jane Feather) I was hooked on historicals! I loved the combination of a larger-than-life romantic tale blended with rich historical detail, so I felt like I was not only escaping to another time, but also learning something while getting swept away by the love story. Because I’ve always been fascinated with Scottish culture, Scottish romances were always a favorite of mine. Then back in 2012, my sister (historical fiction writer Sylvia Prince) encouraged me to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, where you try to write a 50,000-word novel in a month). I decided that since I loved Scottish medieval romances so much, I would write one just for fun. So I wrote the book of my heart, never expecting to let another soul read it (not even my husband!). I reached the 50,000-word mark, but the story was only about three-fourths of the way done. I left it sitting on my computer, hoping to come back to it one day. Then in 2014, the hubby and I took a dream-of-a-lifetime trip to Scotland just for fun. I was so inspired and moved by the visit that I decided it was time to finish my novel, which became Highlander’s Ransom (Sinclair Brothers Trilogy, Book 1). I’d recently learned about self-publishing, so I thought I’d give it a try, and to my surprise and excitement, people started buying my book! Ever since then, I’ve been lucky enough to write historical romances full-time.
I do dream of writing in other genres—I have more book ideas that I could write in one lifetime! I have an idea for a 3-book historical western series based on some amazing stories I’ve learned about living out here in the American West. I also have an idea for a paranormal/shifter series, plus other historical subgenres, including Regency and Victorian. Now I just have to find the time to write them all!
Uncaged: Can you give the readers more information on the different series you have out now?
I have a complete series, the Sinclair Brothers Trilogy (the first book is Highlander’s Ransom, the first novel I wrote), set in medieval Scotland. I also have a series of Viking romances called the Viking Lore series. When I was researching medieval Scotland for the Sinclair Brothers Trilogy, I learned about some of the fascinating Viking influences on Scottish culture, so I knew I wanted to delve deeper into that world with Viking romances! Now I’m back to medieval Scotland for my latest series called the Highland Bodyguards, about—you guessed it—Highlanders sworn to protect Robert the Bruce and the women who steal their hearts.
Uncaged: As a reviewer, I’m always curious as to what authors can take away from the reviews, do you read them and what do you take away from the reviews?
I do read all my reviews, because I really value what readers have to say about my stories. Reading negative reviews can be hard, but I’ve also learned a lot from them! I look for patterns, so if a lot of people say a particular section is slow, or they didn’t like a character as much, I take that into account as I’m writing. I always strive to improve my craft, and reviews can be really helpful in that way. And of course when they are positive, it totally makes my day! It’s such a strange and wonderful thing to imagine a stranger reading something I cooked up in my imagination and wrote down in my living room, and enjoying it or being moved by it enough to share that publicly. It’s deeply humbling, and also incredibly thrilling.
Uncaged: Can you tell us what you have coming up next?
Right now I am writing the seventh book in the Highland Bodyguards series, Surrender to the Scot. It tells the story of Jerome, a Highland warrior who has been sent on an important mission by Robert the Bruce, and Elaine, and English noblewoman who has led a sheltered life but who longs to join the Bruce’s cause for Scottish freedom. When their paths cross, romance—and adventure—ensues! I’ll be releasing this book in early 2018—I’m shooting for February if all goes according to plan.
Uncaged: How long on average does it take you to write a full book? What is your writing process?
It normally takes me about 3 months total from start to finish to get a book published. The first few weeks of that time is spent researching and outlining—I like to have a clear idea of the characters and where the story is going before I start writing. The actual writing time takes 4-5 weeks. I work Monday through Friday, roughly 8am to 5pm (since those are the work hours my hubby keeps, and I like to make sure I have downtime and non-working time). I aim to write about 4,000 words when I am in “writing mode.” Once the first draft is done, I do two rounds of edits myself—the first one I do on my computer, and I’m looking for larger issues like plot holes, inconsistencies, cutting repetitive sections, pumping up the tension, etc. When I’m done with that (usually it takes about a week) I print the entire book and read it on paper. For this round I’m editing more for flow, sentence structure, wording, etc. Then I send it to my wonderful proofreader, who does her own two rounds of edits to make sure it’s as clean as possible. And then it’s ready to go live!
Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite?
There are so many favorite parts, I can’t choose just one. I love getting to linger in my own imagination as I come up with story ideas and write. I never cease to surprise myself as I’m writing, because something I wasn’t expecting always comes out, whether it’s something funny, heartwarming, thrilling, steamy, or emotionally moving. I also absolutely love interacting with readers. I know how much some of my favorite books mean to me, and how much I adore those authors. It is truly amazing to get to give that back to readers—to give them entertainment, excitement, escape, adventure, and ultimately a story that celebrates the power of love. I also love getting to work in my pjs and hang out with my cats all day. 🙂 One of my least favorite parts about being an author is that I wish I could write faster. As I mentioned, I have so many stories to tell, but my fingers can only go so fast, and my brain can only work so well. I wish I could transpose everything in my head into a word document—but then again, I would still probably just come up with more story ideas. Also, I need to find a way to not hunch over my computer so much, because it can really throw my neck and back out of whack. 🙂
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
When I’m not writing, I love to do yoga, go hiking, backpacking or camping with the hubby, travel, hang out with our cats (Bean and Oban), Facetime with my family, and read. Oh, and drink wine.
Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest?
The hardest part for me is always the middle—it’s where things need to get really tough for the characters, and sometimes that’s hard because I like to baby and protect my characters instead of put them through the wringer. I find the beginning, when everything is getting set up and the characters are just getting to know each other, and the end, when they have to fight for their love and find a way to overcome the fact that everything has gone wrong, both go faster for me. By the end, my fingers are normally flying, because I can’t wait to give the characters their happily ever after.
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
I love connecting with readers! Probably the best way to keep in touch is to join my newsletter (which you can do at www.EmmaPrinceBooks.com). I share special content like cover reveals and excerpts, plus new release info, sales, and lots of giveaways with my newsletter subscribers. I also love posting on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/EmmaPrinceBooks/) with pictures and updates on my writing, the cats, my research and inspirations, and more. Speaking of inspirations, I make a pinterest board for each of my books with character inspirations, settings, research, and more, which you can find at https://www.pinterest.com/emmaprincebooks/. Most importantly, I want to say THANK YOU to my fans—it is such an honor to get to share stories with you!