Today on my blog, I’m interviewing Emily O’Beirne who is the author of the New Adult, GLBT, romance A Story of Now. A big thank you to Emily for answering all my questions.
Nineteen-year-old Claire Pearson knows she needs a life. And some new friends.
But brittle, beautiful, and just a little bit too sassy for her own good sometimes, she no longer makes friends easily. And she has no clue where to start on the whole finding a life front, either. Not after a confidence-shattering year dogged by bad break-ups, friends who have become strangers, and her constant failure to meet her parents sky-high expectations.
When Robbie and Mia walk into Claire’s work they seem the least likely people to help her find a life. But despite Claire’s initial attempts to alienate them, an unexpected new friendship develops.
And it’s the warm, brilliant Mia who seems to get Claire like no one has before. Soon, Claire begins to question her feelings for her new friend.
1. How did you come up with the ideas for A Story of Now?
I’m not even sure how the plot came to me. It started with a set of characters I wanted to write about, and knowing I wanted to tell a story about the attraction between two people who started as friends. And then it just happened. I don’t think it will ever come this easily again.
2. Describe your writing process? Are you a planner or do you write by the seam of your pants?
With A Story of Now (and its sequel, The Sum of these Things) I definitely didn’t plan. I was lucky in the sense the story just came to me. I always had these moments/scenes I could see ahead, and I would simply write to them. I always knew where the story was going, but more in a vague way. It was more about getting the characters to the same emotional place than plot points, I guess.
I think that can be the case for many first-time novelists, from what I’ve read. I suspect I won’t be so lucky in future. The book I am writing now, which incorporates four different girls’ points of view is already a lot trickier to plot. It is going to force me to plan a little. But that will be a good lesson to learn as a writer, so I’m looking forward to the learning curve, to be honest.
3. What makes you happy?
Oh, so many things. When you are reading a writer who forces you to take pause and relish a sentence, or observation or even just a word choice. In the mornings when my dog somehow senses I have woken (before I’ve even moved) and he comes and stands by the bed and wags his tail. When you laugh so hard with someone you feel like you are never going to stop. My friend’s zucchini and chilli salad. When one of my students produces something they are really proud of.
4. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Sit down. Write.
5. What are your writing goals?
At the moment it is just to find the time to write and to finish two projects I am working on now. I finally structured my life so I would have some days free to write, but some other life things have gotten in the way. But still, I want to find the time.
6. When you aren’t writing, what do you get up to?
I teach journalism and communication, which I love. I eat out a lot, catch up with friends, see movies, hang out with my stinky old man of a dog, and travel as much as humanly possible.
7. What are your favourite books?
That’s too hard! Okay, ones I can think of right now: Monkey Grip, Helen Garner, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Kate Atkinson, By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham, Questions of Travel, Michelle de Kretser, Blue Nights, Joan Didion, Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf, A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry (that was my childhood favourite).
8. What is the most important thing you’ve learnt in your writing journey?
I guess it’s the same as my advice for aspiring writers. To just write,
But I’ve also learned better to trust in my story and my style. That can be tricky when it gets to the editing phase, and other people are involved in the shaping of your story. Usually they have only value and knowledge to add, but you also have to know when and why you want to hold on to certain things when someone else thinks differently. I’ve learned to stand up for my voice and for my style, even if it isn’t necessarily the most formal or correct. I’d rather it sound like someone speaking, even if it that means not always ascribing to every grammar rule. I’ve learned that’s okay if it’s a choice I’ve made.