Brought to you by OBS owner/reviewer Dawn.
- Be sure to read our review for “Blindsighted Wanderer” at OBS here.
Emma: There were a lot of different inspirations for Blindsighted Wanderer, but the first one came when I was about eight. Occasionally our class would be given little booklets with a couple of short stories inside, all based around a specific theme. One day it was water beings, and one of the stories was a local folktale which really caught my attention. It was about an arrogant young man who went to fish in the forbidden lake bordering his village, and accidentally caught a mysterious nymph called an Asrai. It was almost ten years later when I started to wonder more about the legend, so I did some research, and Blindsighted Wanderer eventually grew out of it.
Dawn: Merrin is beautifully flawed but such a compelling character. She grew more than most main characters in books I’ve read. How important was it to have a flawed but strong female character?
Emma: I’m relieved to hear she came across that way because it was what I hoped for. I really wanted Merrin to be powerful but yet fragile. A lot of my favourite characters in books have a sense of being made strong because of their scars. I hoped Merrin would follow that thread, so people could relate to her story and what it’s done to transform her.
I think the idea of ‘good vs evil’ is quite a main theme in fantasy books, and I wanted to have a situation where that isn’t the case. It’s just a chain of misunderstandings and individual drives that creates such huge barriers for all the characters. If any of them can be assumed the villain role, Merrin seems ideal in some ways, but then she’s not truly as icy as you’d think.
Dawn: What are you currently working on?
Emma: I’m just polishing up a high-fantasy trilogy, about a young soldier. It’s set in the same world as Blindsighted Wanderer, but in a different time period, and over a completely different continent. I don’t want to give too much away about it just yet, but it’s more action-adventure-based, with a darker storyline.
Dawn: If you could spend time with an author (alive or dead) who would it be and what would you hope to gain from the experience?
Emma: There are so many authors who I’d love to meet, like Philip Pullman or Neil Gaiman. But I would be ecstatic if I could have a conversation with Michelle Paver. She wrote the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, which are partly written from the POV of a wolf. I think the way she tackled that is potentially the closest to how animals might see, translated into something humans can understand. Every time I read the books, I’m in awe of how she wrote those passages so simply but yet so full of life and feeling. For both writing and animals, I think talking with her would be amazing.
Dawn: Tell us about your favorite holiday tradition.
Emma: I love winter and how at this time of year, everyone can be a big kid. I’d say my favourite family tradition is my advent calendar. It’s a fabric one that my mum made for me when I was very young, with numbered stockings up to 24. I’ve used it every year since, filled with chocolate coins, and it takes me right back to my childhood.
Dawn: What are your ideal conditions for writing? (a specific place in the house? music/no music etc..)
Emma: I usually write curled up in a corner of the couch, with a glass of fruit juice nearby and music in the background. It doesn’t matter what music it is, but there’s usually a playlist of songs that go with whatever story I’m doing. But recently I was given a Victorian writing desk, which is currently at my grandfather’s house, so hopefully I’ll be working on that sometime in the near future!
Thank you to author E.C. Hibbs for a great interview!