Interview with Emily Reading, Fantasy and Sci-Fi Author

Today we’re welcoming epic Fantasy author Emily Reading to the blog. Emily is the author of the acclaimed Ruins of Rytus epic fantasy series.

Noted for her complex world building skills in the Annual Self-Published eBook Awards, Emily has also received commendations and praise for the first book, Autonoma – Gate 13, in an exciting new series of sci-fi psychological adventure thrillers.

Tell us something about your books, including your genre and your characters and/or themes.

I have two series and one novella, each set in different genres, time periods and places. 

The first series, Ruins of Rytus, is an epic fantasy series filled with warriors, mages and the working masses who are all defined by the colour of their blood. Building Rytus involved a lot of studying the history of Rome and ancient Roman cultures and customs.

The second, a psychological sci-fi thriller – A.M.I. records, follows the story of Alex, who’s loaded into a mixed reality of snowy slopes and hover bots. When the system starts to fail, Alex is thrown into the true past of the A.M.I. facility, and the more sinister roots of its foundation and the people who built it.

My Novella, Daughter to the Heir, is a police thriller about a clerk sent on an observe and listen mission of free drink, and free food at a luxurious party. When the heiress to the largest crime family in the city drops dead, it falls to Meredith to protect the daughter from a ruthless international assassin.

What inspires you to write? Who are your favorite writers?

Everything I write either stems from a ‘what if?’ question or a strange dream I had (The A.M.I. books fall into the latter category). A lot of my influences come from video games such as Assassin’s Creed, Destiny, Halo, Bioshock, Planet Coaster, and Cities: Skylines (which may surprise some people).

I enjoy reading a wide variety of books in the fantasy and sci-fi genres including the big hitters like George R. R. Martin and Oliver Bowden, as well as the lesser known indies.

How do you start writing? Do you have a process or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

I’m an engineer by day, so my middle name might as well be ‘process’.

I love to plan and plot. I open a blank PowerPoint, write my start, middle, and end, then keep breaking down each point into smaller steps until I have 10 lines of action for each chapter.

How has your writing process changed since you started writing?

I’m actually, to get technical, a project engineer by day. My job involves taking a concept component from a CAD drawn idea, through to a production part that can be fitted on the production line.

A big part of the job is being able to make, interpret, and interrogate plans. I’ve recently implemented this in my writing too. I now have a release plan that spans the next 10 years, and will allow me to release a new book every 120 days over that time.

It was a great weight off my shoulders and a big motivator to get my butt in the seat and start getting those words down.

How long does it normally take you to write, and what proportion of the time is spent doing what?

As well as my day job, I also have a baby boy (13 months old at the time of writing this), which doesn’t leave me a lot of time to write.

I essentially have 2hrs a day, 20:00-22:00, 7 days a week, to do everything writing related. Thanks to my release plan though I know exactly what I am doing and when in order to get my books out in time.

I will usually write the first draft of my book and give it a once over to tidy it up, after which it goes to my development editor. While he’s working on that, I’ll start on another book, or edit a previous one.

It’s almost like a production line of its own now, with it laid out so I can alternate between books/series (it helps me realise what I’ve left in my head and didn’t put in my book when I come back to it later).

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I love the planning stage.

When I’m ‘in the zone’ I can really fly and even with just 2hrs a day, I can plan out novels in just a few days, down to 10 lines of action in each chapter. I really enjoy the making of new characters and getting all the lore lined up.

Do you involve other people in your writing, as collaborators or editors? How do you make this work?

Oh goodness yes!

My developmental editor is amazing. He’s fantastic at pointing out the obvious that I’ve missed and the more intricate details that others will miss.

He’ll write me lots of notes for me to think about, and I rarely disagree with what he has to say. Once he’s given my stories a good going over, I’ll edit them again and then send them off to be line edited for any stupid errors.

Do you have any writing tips you’d like to share with readers?

Just do it!

I know that sounds like a slogan for a big company that sells shoes (what, wait, it is? Oh dear), but it’s true.

It’s important to get details and facts right, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a go. You can always go back and edit your work, and it can be really tough, but even if you just end up typing ‘something cool happens here’ and come back to that page later then that’s fine. 

It was almost as if I kicked up a gear when I finally decided to stop being so uptight about that first draft. Once I stopped getting hung up on the stupid little details my productivity shot through the roof, and I’ll be honest with you, I was surprised when I went back to edit it and it actually required very little adjustment.

Anything else I haven’t asked you about?

I would like to just say that the stigma that often comes with being independently published should not put potential writers off if that’s the route you would like to choose. 

I decided from the outset that I would be Indie, I never approached an agent or a publisher, and I know of so many authors who did the same. 

You are not required to go the traditional route first if you don’t want to.

As long as you are prepared to learn, give it a go, and accept help where it’s given/needed then there’s no reason why you can’t consider being Indie too.

The community is fantastic, and I strongly recommend joining a reputable Facebook group or association such as the ‘SPF community’ or the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) to learn the craft and industry. 

Thanks, Emily! I hope that readers who want to be more productive will find her tips useful, I know I did. You can find out more about Emily and buy books on her website.

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Posted in Productivity, Publishing & Marketing, Writing and Plotting
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