Friday, May 3, 2013

Feature Friday: Emma Pass

Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, ACID, will be published in 2013, followed by another stand-alone thriller for young adults in 2014. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband in the North East Midlands.

Interview:
A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Emma:
Keep going! Getting rejections is frustrating and sometimes downright disheartening, but that ‘yes’ from an agent or editor could be just around the corner, and if you give up, you’ll never know.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Emma:
I have too many favourites to count! Seriously, I can never pick just one book when someone asks me this question. There are so many incredible writers out there!

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Acid?

Emma:
When I was 14, a friend and I challenged each other to write a story about someone breaking out of jail. Although I only wrote the first few chapters, the idea never left me. I came back to it several times after that, again stalling a few chapters in, and then it occurred to me to try it as a YA novel – and it worked!

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Acid?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Emma:
Funnily enough, the biggest snag I hit was what to call the police force in the book. They started life as CIDA – the Crime Investigation and Defence Agency – which doesn’t have much of a ring to it, does it? I didn’t like the name, but couldn’t think of anything better, until one day, I suddenly thought of changing it to the Agency for Crime Investigation and Defence – ACID. Now, not only did my sinister police force have a name that suited them perfectly, but my book had a really punchy title!

I always hit snags when I’m writing, though, especially in the first draft. As I don’t plan in detail, it’s an inevitable part of the process for me. One thing I find really helps is to write myself a letter starting ‘What needs to happen next?’ I nearly always find an answer when I do that, and am able to move the story on.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Acid is your favorite and why?

Emma:
It has to be Jenna! She’s so kick-ass and cool and brave, but she also has a really caring side to her, and is more likeable than she thinks.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Emma:
I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was 13, after seeing the film ‘Jurassic Park’ and trying to write a sequel (which was a whole 125 pages long!). After that, and over many years, I tried all sorts of writing – crime, literary fiction, picture books and just about everything in between. I discovered YA after going on a weekend course with Linda Newbery, an award-winning UK YA and children’s author. I’d been struggling with an adult novel that featured 3 teenage characters, and decided to try it as a YA novel. It was the first book I’d finished writing in a very long time.

Although that novel didn’t get me an agent or a publisher, I knew this was the genre for me, and two books later, I was offered representation by Carolyn Whitaker at London Independent Books. The novel she took me on with didn’t sell, but the next one – which was ACID – did. This year it will be 20 years since I saw ‘Jurassic Park’ and realised I wanted to be a published author!

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Emma:
I’m working on another standalone thriller for Random House, called THE FEARLESS. It’s a dark, post-apocalyptic novel with a dash of horror. This is a bit of the blurb that’s in the back of ACID:
The Fearless. An army powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect – anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare…

A.L.:
How did you prepare to write about the only female in a violent, high security prison?

Emma:
NOT by visiting a violent, high-security prison, ha ha! I did some research on the internet and by watching TV programmes about Supermax prisons in the US, and the rest came from my imagination. Luckily, as ACID is set 100 years in the future, I had quite a lot of artistic license as far as that was concerned.

A.L.:
Why call the police force ACID?

Emma:
I love acronyms (as people will see when they read the book), and wanted a name that represented how corrupt and corrosive this police force were.

A.L.:
If someone were to come visit you in England, where would you take them first? Your favorite place?  A touristy spot?

Emma:
Definitely my favourite places as opposed to touristy spots. I love the countryside, so I’d probably take them for a long walk somewhere. And then to my local pub for a meal, as the food there is amazing!

The Giveaway:
Emma is giving away a signed copy of ACID!  This novel is only available in the UK right now (it's coming out later this year in the US) Be the first of your friends to read it!

Acid: 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.


Read Goodreads reviews.


How to Enter:
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