Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Emma Robinson and I write commercial women’s fiction. My novels are The Undercover Mother, Happily Never After, One Way Ticket to Paris and My Silent Daughter.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
My first novel was inspired by my own experiences having my first child. It explores the experiences of maternity leave and the unexpected changes a new baby can bring to your life.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
All of my books so far have had a mother as a central character, so I am able to use my friends and other mothers I know. I also read a lot of parenting blogs and sometimes things are said which get my thought processes moving!
How do you deal with creative block?
If I am struggling with a certain section of the plot, I usually leave it for my subconscious to work on. This might mean sleeping on it, or just taking a walk or – in extreme circumstances – doing some housework! When I feel that I need to give my brain a break from my current work in progress, I will often write a blogpost or poem for my blog www.motherhoodforslackers.com Writing in a different form can often give me renewed interest when I return to my novel.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately! – my publisher makes all the decisions on covers and titles. I do know that it is important that covers work just as well as thumbnails as they do full size as this is how they will be viewed when readers are browsing online.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
As a debut writer, I found it very difficult to read bad reviews. Whilst I appreciate that books can’t appeal to everyone, it is hard to hear negative comments about something you have worked hard on for months. That said, I have been lucky not to have too many bad reviews and you definitely develop a slightly thicker skin with each new release!
How has your creation process improved over time?
My publishing contract is for two books a year, so I have definitely got faster! I have learned a lot about plotting through reading the books Into the Woods by John Yorke and Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. These days, I spend a longer time plotting out my books before I begin. I also use the computer programme Scrivener to write my first draft as the corkboard function enables me to play around with the structure if I need to.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
I love mindmapping. Once I have an idea for a book, I mindmap all the various elements of the character, plot, setting etc. Then I draw a plot out on a narrative arc (exposition, inciting incident etc.) before using a five act structure to give me a detailed synopsis which is then pulled out into scenes and chapters.
What are your plans for future books?
I am currently working on my fifth book which is about a woman who has lost herself. Like most of my books, it covers themes of motherhood and friendship.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I am also an English teacher and I once spent a summer teaching in China.