EMILY BLEEKER: READ OUT LOUD TO YOUR CHILD FROM BIRTH
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Emily Bleeker’s debut book Wreckage jumped to the top of Amazon ranks. The novel is standing on #1 spot for the last few days. The readers loved the plot and are giving very positive feedback (av. 4.6 stars from 128 reviews).
Emily has very nice story about her transition between education and professional writing. She was kind enough to share it during our interview.
– Emily, what the readers will find inside Wreckage?
– A story about survivors of a plane crash in the South Pacific. After living on an island for nearly two years, the castaways are thrust into the spotlight after their rescue. Every morning show and news program is hounding them for interviews. But they can’t tell the truth about what happened while they were on that island, so they lie. Eight months later, exhausted by the constant media attention, Lillian Linden decides to do one last interview with hard-hitting reporter, Genevieve Randall. She pressures fellow survivor, reluctant Dave Hall, to join her so they can hide behind the exclusivity clause in their contract. But what the survivors don’t know is–Genevieve thinks she knows they are hiding something and she’s willing to tear their lives apart to get the truth.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I actually love news magazine TV shows like the fictional one Genevieve Randall worked for. One night I was watching an episode of, “I Survived” and it was about a boat sinking in the ocean, leaving a large group of the crew stranded in the middle of the ocean. There were two survivors being interviewed but it wasn’t until the end that you knew they were the ONLY survivors. As I thought through their stories I realized: they could be lying about all of this to make themselves look good! I don’t really think that they were lying but it did put the thought in my head—what would have to happen in a survival situation to make lying a better option than telling the truth?
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– The structure of the book is a back and forth between the lies in Lillian and Dave’s interviews and the truth of what happened in the past. Keeping the timeline tight was very important to me and took constant attention.
– Tell us something more about your main character Lillian? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– I like Lillian because she’s definitely not perfect. She makes some decisions that I probably wouldn’t make in real life, but I’ve always thought that it’s fun to disagree with characters occasionally. Gives you something to talk about when the book is over! And Lillian is really her own person. She isn’t based on any one from my real life. I wish she was because then I could give that poor lady a hug!
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– From the time I wrote the (unpublished) prologue to the day the book releases on March 1st, it will be a little over four years.
– Was it tough to find a publisher and how you made the connection with Lake Union Publishing?
– I actually signed with an agent last February and she brought WRECKAGE to Lake Union Publishing. Both processes took a lot of work and dedication but I have to say— SO worth it!
– Who are you?
– I’m a former kindergarten teacher and a nine-year sarcoma survivor. I’m also a wife and a mom of four little people who keep me super busy but in a good way. I’m a lover of the arts and a recent convert to the joys of running.
– What are your writing habits?
– The first step in my process is thinking…a lot. I find the best time to think is when I’m driving. Don’t worry, I pay attention to driving too but I’ve thought through almost every one of my major scenes while driving. The actual writing comes in any quiet moments I can find. I make it a point to get to the library to write as often as possible. Where I really find my enjoyment in writing is in the revision process. I enjoy working through a story to make sure it the best it can be. There is something incredibly satisfying about that process.
– How do you find time to write with four kids around you?
– Like I said before, I’m a bit of a daydreamer and you can do THAT anywhere. During those really creative days, doing the dishes can turn into a major brainstorming session. But a book does take (a lot of) actual writing. I just make sure to find time at least once a day to really sit and focus on writing. My kids actually love it when I write. Everyday we all do homework together at the kitchen table, I write, they do their schoolwork. I also write at night when they are sleeping or in the morning before they wake up (sometimes in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep). The fun thing is that after watching me become an author, they’ve started writing their own projects. My oldest writes comic books and my second oldest loves writing Minecraft fan-fiction. I just love seeing the spark of imagination in them and the enjoyment they get from being creative.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I was selected for the Kindle First promotion on Amazon. The ebook version of WRECKAGE prerelease a month early and is available on Amazon FREE for Prime members and 1.99 for everyone else.
March 1st is my official launch and to prepare for that I’ve been planning a launch party/charity auction in my hometown. I’ll be collecting donations and new/like new books for The Book Bridge. This is a wonderful organization that brings books to children in crisis situations like those living in homeless shelters, group homes and women’s shelters.
I’m also active online with my website and social media
– When we will see your next novel?
– I’m working on it as we speak (remember, always thinking!). Can’t wait to share it with everyone!
– You’ve got very interesting story on how you decide to become a writer. Would you share it?
– I’ve always been a closet writer but just very private about it. Then in my first year of teaching I worked as the coordinator for the Academically Talented and Gifted program at our school. As a part of that position I decided to introduce something called Writers Workshop into some of the classrooms I taught in. As the classroom teachers and I helped the kids with their own writing, I started to realize how much I really loved it. From then on out I was hooked. It took me many many years of recreational writing to get to the point where I was ready to really think about publishing anything. After all that practice and continued learning, I now get to do something I LOVE for my job.
– You worked as educator. How important is for the kids to start reading books from their earlier years?
– It is invaluable! Read out loud to your child for at least 20-30 minutes a day from birth and encourage recreational reading as they get older. Your child’s teacher will thank you.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– I guess I’d ask: What advice do you give to other writers with dreams of publication? I love finding other secret writers out there. My advice is
1. Be willing to work very hard at the craft of writing and continually seek opportunities to improve.
2. Be very self analytical. It is easy to see other’s weaknesses but easy to overlook our own.
3. Find a support group of writers in your community or online. And finally–
4. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Take a look at her book