Guest Post – Emma L Adams: My Writing Journey

I started writing books at the age of 5. I didn’t even know I wanted to be a writer at the time – I doubt many five-year-olds know what they want to do with their lives! But I was a very creative child, and I loved stories. I was always lost in a book, always inventing characters and worlds. I was ten when my teacher told me I could be a writer – and it was like it had been right in front of me all along. I knew – I knew this was what I had to do with my life.

It wasn’t until I was 14 that I started writing a novel. I’d invented a set of characters who starred in various short stories, but I knew they were destined to be part of a novel. No –a series. That was when I started chasing the dream of publication. So I wrote the book. The first draft was a meandering mess that took a year and a half. The problem was, I knew it wasn’t yet ready to be published – but I didn’t quite know how. So I bought writing craft books and read articles online and worked on improving my craft. I decided the best thing to do was to study creative writing at university. When I was 17, I started re-planning that first novel, from scratch, as part of a six-book series. But exams and university applications kept interrupting, and I set my heart on a certain course which I wanted more than anything. And they turned me down. As there were only a handful of places, it was probably inevitable! In the end, I got a place on a different course, and this turned out to be the best choice I’d ever made.

It was summer 2010. I had three whole months before I started my university course. So I wrote the first draft by hand, in little more than a month (this was after over 1 ½ years of planning – I didn’t do things by halves!) Then I printed and edited it. I did at least five complete edits before I showed my family and friends – a major step! The one mistake I made was not getting peer feedback from fellow writers. I did research the submissions process extensively to avoid making newbie mistakes, honed my synopsis and query, and just before I turned 19, I sent it out. I started university. I met fellow writers, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged.

The first rejection was encouraging, but after that, I received a slew of form rejection slips. I began to feel discouraged, once the initial buzz of university had worn off. The course wasn’t really aimed at novelists looking to make a career of writing. I’d finished drafting the second book by the end of my first year, and I decided that I wanted feedback on the first one from someone in the industry. After researching all the options I finally decided to send my work to a well-reputed literary consultancy. And I was told the book was unpublishable. The idea wasn’t original enough.

That stung, but I knew I could write – I just hadn’t found the right story yet. Although I was devastated at the time, it was breaking away from that first novel that gave me the courage to write something new – and that third novel was The Puppet Spell. It was originally my writing portfolio project for my second year creative writing module, and I’d found the kernel of an idea in an old notebook from when I was 15. I had a lot of fun with it despite writing under pressure, and the close scrutiny of my seminar group. This time, I had critique groups and beta readers look at the story before I decided it was ready to face the world. And then something unexpected happened: I was recommended to a publisher by a fellow student at Lancaster –and they genuinely expressed an interest in publishing my book. And I signed with Rowanvale for a small print deal.

Meanwhile, I’d been working on another series. That year was a crash-course in social media, marketing and promotion – exhausting but exciting! I finally saw my book in print, met many wonderful writers online – and discovered a niche my new book series could fit into: New Adult. I’d been fretting about where the Darkworld series, which is an upper-YA urban fantasy/paranormal series set at a university, would fit. YA books with protagonists aged 18+ were difficult to sell. But now publishers were actively looking these books!

Darkworld was my dream project. I’d planned it to have five books, based on the original plots for the later books in my first ever series (but massively altered and updated for an upper-YA audience). I knew this was something I couldn’t rest until I had it written down. It excited me more than anything I’d written before. I got to dig deeper into ideas I’d wanted to put in books for years, as well as drawing on the strange and wonderful world of student life I’d been experiencing for the past two years. The words came out of nowhere, as did the characters – as if they’d been waiting there all along. And the demons scared me half to death!

I finished the draft in September 2012 and started querying after more rounds of extensive edits and feedback from my seminar group. And in February 2013, I got an offer from Curiosity Quills Press! Darkness Watching came out on the 10th October 2013, and now I’m editing Book 2. I won’t lie: it hasn’t always been easy. My writing journey is on-going, and although it’s sometimes frustrating, I wouldn’t miss this for the world!

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Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and was published in October 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

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Darkness Watching

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Author: Emma L Adams

Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Release Date: 10th October 2013

ISBN-13: 9781620073629

Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal
Target Audience: Upper YA/New Adult
Distributor: Ingram

 

 

 

DARKNESS WATCHING Summary:

 

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she’s losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.
Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere – little knowing that it isn’t coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.
All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life – but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she’s looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.
In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be…

 

Read Chapter One.

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Reviews of DARKNESS WATCHING:

 

“Emma is an amazing writer. She has become one of my favorites. I couldn’t put Darkness Watching down.” – Diane at A Creative Mind

“Darkness Watching provides an original world that is fully complete and from a teens POV. It was dark and entertaining and sometimes teen books don’t go full out, this one did. The world building was truly strong in this novel.” – Lexi at 
Book Bliss

“Like good books should, Darkness Watching left me pondering the story after I’d finished reading AND left me wanting more. Adams built a strong world for readers to be immersed. But the regular world retained full realism. Normal every day teen situations felt completely believable.” – Erin at 
Erin Albert Books

“This was entertaining from the start…I didn’t want to put it down, and fans of urban fantasies I think will enjoy this. Darkness Watching was definitely worth the read.” – Jenea at Books Live Forever

“Demons, Sorcerers, evil, and secrets. Could you ask for a better supernatural suspense set-up? I couldn’t, and picking this book to read for Halloween was perfect. It’s full of suspense, danger, evil and dark humor. The plot is original, and completely gripping. From the first page, this book had me hooked, almost too afraid to finish, but knowing I’d regret it if I didn’t keep reading.” – Rose at Desert Rose Reviews

“This is a wildly different story than any I have read about demons…I loved it!” – Kathy at Bookmarks, Spoilers, and Happily-Ever-Afters

“All in all this is a suspenseful first part to an intriguing new fantasy series. I look forward to the next book and finding out what happens next! Recommended to fans of NA & upper YA supernatural & fantasy novels” – Sharon Stevenson, supernatural author