Today I had the honor of interviewing a wonderful woman named Emma Finlayson-Palmer. She is a writer based in the UK, a mom of 5, and seriously amazing at time management.
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you like to do for fun?
A: Writing is what really makes me tick. I spend time every day writing, whether it is a short piece of fiction or part of a novel, I have to write every day or I miss it! I also really love to read. I especially like a good thriller, but I do read an awful lot of Young Adult and children’s books. I try to read books from genres I wouldn’t normally read too.
Q: How long have you been writing for?
A: I have been writing as long as I can remember. My first published piece was on Ceefax when I was about 8 year old, back in the 80s. I knew when I was at junior school that I wanted to be a writer, and idolized Roald Dahl.
Q: Why did you start writing?
A: It’s my passion, and I feel lost when I’m not working on something. It sounds dramatic, but I feel as though a part of me is missing if I’m not writing.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: Just about anything and everything inspires me. Everywhere I go I take a notebook and pens. I’m always listening out for interesting bits of information and conversation. I enjoy people watching to get ideas for characters too. Even dull things such as a paperclip could inspire me. Recently I wrote a thriller short story with a cushion as a writing prompt!
Q: You are the Secretary for the Castlecroft Writers and the Wombourne Writers. Can you tell me a little more about these groups and your role in running them?
A: My role in both groups is very similar, I write down the minutes of each meeting, and email group members with competitions and other interesting writerly information. I also run both Twitter accounts for the groups and organize events such as visiting authors or agents to come and give the group talks.
Wombourne Writers meet in a library, whilst Castlecroft Writers meet in a pub, so both have quite different settings, but both are very friendly encouraging groups. I love attending writing groups and events with writers because writers really are the only people who understand the voices in my head and why they tell me to write their stories!
Q: You also host the Uk Teen Chat (#ukteenchat). What exactly is this event and what goals do you hope to accomplish with it?
A: #ukteenchat is a brand new chat about teen fiction, which starts on Tuesday 16th February 8-9pm. The idea for the chat arose when discussing a lack of things geared up for teen writers with fellow writer Lu Hershey. There is #ukmgchat for Middle Grade writers and #ukyachat for Young Adult writers, but there is a bit of a void in between, which we hope that #ukteenchat will fill.
Q: What challenges do you have being the mother of five children? How do you find the time to write and organize your various groups and events?
A: The challenges as a mother are endless, but my family provide me with lots of ideas for stories. I have four boys and one daughter, and it looks as though my daughter is following in my footsteps after being shortlisted in a writing competition with the National Association of Writers’ Groups last year.
Time is definitely an issue for me with such a large family, and working two different jobs alongside my writing. But I believe if you have a passion for something you will always find some time. I am a nightowl so tend to do a lot of my writing during the evening and late into the night. Organising groups and events has been made easier by mobile phones. Yes, I know they are very anti-social at times, but it’s been very handy to be able to answer emails on the go, and keep up to date with my Twitter notifications throughout the day.
Q: You have told me that you love Zumba. It is without doubt one of the most enjoyable ways to get moving, but what draws you to it? When did you start doing Zumba?
A: I love to dance, but I’m not always the most co-ordianted of people. Zumba provides a place where I can combine my love of dancing with the bonus of it not mattering if I mess up some of the moves, especially as I like to hide at the back of the class! I also enjoy the fact that I can do something I love that helps me to stay healthy, and keep my brain fired up for writing.
Q: You have also told me that you are a bit of a film addict, and especially love Hitchcock, Tim Burton, and Wes Anderson films. What about their films do you like? What criteria have to be met for you to like a film?
A: I have quite ecelectic tastes in both books and films, so I like a bit of everything, but I do have my favourites as listed in your question. Hitchcock is the master of suspense, and created amazing films with limited props and scenes. So his films didn’t rely on explosions and big fight scenes to keep tension going, instead they relied on good storytelling and using camera angles to filter through snippets of tantalising information. My favourite Hitchcock film, in fact, favourite film full stop is Rear Window with James Stewart. The whole film is shot in one room so it really had to have a strong plot to keep the intrigue, but it works beautifully.
I have a love of the gothic and macabre, and downright quirky which Tim Burton does so well. Wes Anderson also creates quirky films with offbeat characters that are often quite unsual but fascinating. I also love the overall aesthetic quality of Anderson’s films with their rich colours, and camera angles. All three directors share many qualities that I love.