Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Babies, Writing and Travelling: An interview with Sarah Elle Emm

Today I am delighted to welcome Sarah Elle Emm, author of Marrying Missy.  First of all Sarah, can I ask how you became an author, what inspired you? 

Well, my mother’s side carries the ‘writing gene,’ so honestly, I had no choice.  Since I began to read, I have always appreciated being transported into the pages of a good book.  I tried to write a story on Mom’s typewriter when I was eight, but years later, observing Mom finish writing her first book, I was officially inspired.  I began my first book about ten years ago when I was living in Germany, but the whole ‘single girl, globe trotting’ thing prevented me from finishing it right away.  Years later, during my newborn baby’s nap time, I finished writing my first novel.  It was the perfect solution to the isolation I was suddenly feeling as a new parent and stay at home mom.  I had no idea what a mom’s group was at the time.  My ‘me’ time, when my baby was asleep and my husband was working, turned into ‘writing’ time.  Besides, I talk a lot.  Sometimes, it’s just easier to write it down rather than pour your heart out to someone, or talk them to death, lol.  I needed an outlet for the thoughts in my head… So the fiction writing officially became a priority, second to keeping the new babe happy and healthy, of course. 

You have recently published the novel, Marrying Missy.  Could you tell us something about it?

Marrying Missy is a tale about a friendship put to the test, obsessions with the superficial of this world, betrayal, a troubled marriage, and love, but the inspiration for this book was, ‘change.’  Can people be freed of the philosophies, hate, ideas, and prejudices that their parents have taught them? Of course, the social issues, of which there are many, I tried to handle delicately, as I wanted to keep Marrying Missy a fun, page-turning, read.  I wanted the reader to enjoy, and if their annoyance with Missy was what kept them going, then fine.  There are “Missy Martins” all around the world, but I try to believe in a thing called, ‘hope.’ I hope for the future of children everywhere that the world we live in will continue to learn to be a place of acceptance of other people, regardless of our differences.  Marrying Missy was the second novel I completed.

I love the design of your book cover and have even listed on my page, Great Book Covers.  Who did it and how much input did you have? 

I have never met the graphic artist, but her name is Whitney Arvin.  I am told she lives in Indiana.  I was published by an Indiana press, Bird Brain Publishing, and they have worked with Ms. Arvin on some of their previous works.  I got to approve, suggest, and give my opinion throughout the process, for which I am very grateful.  I don’t know who suggested the final cover, but I saw a photo of an actual bride transform into the final product.  They let me choose between various covers with different color schemes near the end, and I loved the pink and blue.  Thank you, by the way, for featuring my cover on Great Book Covers!

What are you working on at the moment? 

Besides trying to get my kids to sleep past six a.m.?  The second book in a Young Adult fantasy series.  I am excited about this series, and I think the YA market will like it as well.  One of those cliché dream moments happened to me for this one.  Seriously, I was trying to nap for a minute while my youngest did about one year ago, and suddenly there they were, the crew of teenagers who make up this story, and I couldn’t fill my notebook up with ideas and details fast enough.  I am also editing a romantic suspense that takes place in the Virgin Islands, where I have been traveling to since I was fourteen-years-old and where I have also lived with my husband, which I hope to see in print very soon.  I wrote both of these books last year after moving to Indianapolis from St. Thomas.

When you are not writing, what do you like doing in your free time? 

Ha!  Free time.  I chase kids.  Seriously, my three-year-old is like Forest Gump… Everywhere she goes, she is running, but instead of behaving politely when she stops running, she is usually pouring out a bag of flour or my coffee.  Still, she is very adorable, so this makes up for the time I spend on my feet.  In this present cycle of my life, I have a two hour window of personal time three times a week, and I have been spending these hours in the pool at the gym.  I took up swimming laps about three months ago and am now swimming one mile at a time.  I am slow, but it’s a release of stress and strangely empowering.  After I finish my swim, I temporarily, (thanks to those endorphins,) feel like I could kick someone’s butt if I had to, which is oddly comforting.  Truth be told, my limbs feel like Jello an hour later, and I can hardly walk to my refrigerator, much less kick butt.  Still, I look forward to that swim… so for now, it’s my ‘free time.’

I believe you travel a lot. What is the most interesting country that you have visited and do you think you will do some travel writing in the future?

That’s a great question.  I don’t think I can pick a country.  The most interesting thing about traveling for me has always been observing and comparing other countries to one another.  I have traveled around England, Western Europe, Mexico, Canada, the U.S.A., and the Caribbean, but there are so many places I still want to go, like New Zealand and Australia to start.  I have an affection for Mexico, specifically, Guadalajara, and Puerto Vallarta, but mostly for Latino culture.  I love the warmth and friendliness of the people in Mexico, the music, the style, the language, (hello, something about rolling your R’s is so much fun,) the colorful clothing, and did I mention the warmth of the people?  I am affectionate, so cultures in Europe and Latin America, where people kiss you two to three times on the cheek in greeting and hug make me happy.  I have a soft spot for Italy.  Something about standing in front of the statue of David or on the Spanish Steps is just surreal and romantic.  In my fantasy world, I would live in Italy either part time or permanently, (after winning the lottery).  I don’t even speak Italian.  Despite the language barrier in Italy, I still felt at home on all three trips.  I tend to feel at home most anywhere I go, which is why I have always jumped on every opportunity to travel and live in a new place.  Travel writing?  Sure.  Better, yet, kick Samantha Brown off of the Travel Channel, and give me her job.  I want to get paid to eat, sleep and drink in hot spots around the globe.   

What advice do you have for other authors out there? 

It’s difficult to not get caught up in people’s opinions, but try and block the world out when you write.  I sometimes allow myself to have a moment where I am obsessing about what someone said about my future in the industry or what so-and-so will think about my book, but then I have to take a deep breath and remind myself… I love to write.  I love that feeling when suddenly the conversation or chapter just clicks and a smile crosses my face, “Yes, that’s what I wanted!”  It doesn’t matter if I’m never a ‘success’ story.  It only matters that I can keep writing and that I write what’s in my heart.  I think that’s what we should all try to remember.  Like Nike’s ‘Just do it’ campaign, but for writer’s instead… Just write.

Where can we buy your book?

Marrying Missy is available in paperback at www.barnesandnoble.com and www.Amazon.com.  It is also in e-format for NOOK and Kindle at both websites.  My website is updated regularly with book promos and info at www.SarahElleEmm.com.  

Finally, do you have any parting comments that you would like to share with us?

Let me tell everyone about my monthly book drawing.  Everyone who ‘likes’ my Facebook page, Sarah Elle Emm, is automatically entered in the monthly drawing for a free paperback copy of Marrying Missy.  Also, in between the Forest Gump chasing, swimming, editing, writing, and driving my husband crazy, I write a weekly blog, My Name is Sarah, at www.SarahElleEmm.blogspot.com.  Please stop by my blog, and join if you’d like.  I’d also like to say a heartfelt thank you, to you, Katheryn, for welcoming me to your blog for this delightful conversation.  This was a great experience!   Now, back to those preschoolers.  They are demanding chocolate milk!

Thank you so much Sarah for taking the time to chat with me about yourself and your work.  I’ll let you go and make chocolate milk.  I'm going to head off and check out your blog.   


  1. Thanks, Katheryn for presenting Sarah's life as an author. Her chef husband and her travels are intriguing. I love travelling as well. Makes for some wonderful stories as well as people watching. Much success to her and you in this new year.

  2. Hi Tanya,

    Thank you for visiting. Wishing you much success and happiness in 2012 as well!

  3. Thanks again, Katheryn, for chatting with me. Tanya, thank you for your lovely comments as well! Happy Holidays to all!