Interview with Emily English, Author of “Uniting the Heavens” and signed book GIVEAWAY
Emily English is an author who recently (November 6, 2016) released her first novel, “Uniting the Heavens.” I’ve known Emily my entire life, because she is my sister!
What is Uniting the Heavens about?
Uniting the Heavens is a blend of fantasy and mythology with a steampunk undertone. It’s the story of a librarian’s apprentice named Aren who struggles with his identity and self-worth. One day, a message addressed to the Lord Tiede, ruler of the most powerful House in the land, ends up in Aren’s hands. Aren, ever loyal and wanting to please, goes out of his way to deliver the message, and that’s when his world begins to unravel. Gods and magic clash, and Aren has to pull himself together to save the city and the people he loves.
How did the novel evolve from your original idea 20 years ago?
The story has been in my head for about 20 years, but the writing actually took a little over three years with two additional years dedicated to editing—eight months of that with a professional editor. The story has grown up with me. It’s darker than when it started, but it’s also more hopeful without being naïve. The original idea had “knight-in-shining-armor” and “damsel-in-distress” characters because my experiences and viewpoints were very limited. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that because we all bring a different story to the table regardless of our age and experiences, but I am much happier with this darker story, these richer characters, and the offbeat humor.
As a mom of two, when did you find time to write?
I had to be very strict with myself, and I tried to compartmentalize. I have a full-time job outside of the home, so a massive chunk of my day goes to that. After work, I try to concentrate on my family and the house. There was piano and homework and band and dinner and laundry and the usual house stuff we all deal with. When the kids were in bed—or in the case of my older daughter, writing late night papers or studying for tests—that’s when I would write. Sometimes I would write from 10 pm – 1 am, and sometimes I would write five nights a week. Other times, I could squeeze in only 1 hour and maybe one night a week. I refused to let it get in the way of time with my kids or my husband.
What determined (or inspired) you to finish Uniting the Heavens?
I have always enjoyed writing, and I had planned on writing as a career. I majored in Mass Communications in college, concentrating on journalism and writing. After a few unexpected turns, my career path led me to computers and systems analysis. My job requires a lot of technical writing so I’m not out of practice, but while it pays the bills, it doesn’t satisfy the way creative writing did when I was younger. So I made a promise to myself that I would finish a story that I had started 20 years ago. I would do it for myself above all else. On top of that, the characters and story kept growing and growing, and at times it was all I could do to scribble notes and sketch out ideas.
If Uniting the Heavens were a movie, could you see it as live action or animation?
I am so influenced by Japanese anime. I love the art and style of both the serious stories as well as the comedic ones. So, I could easily imagine Uniting the Heavens in the anime style, and I would be thrilled to see fan art done for my book. That said, I could imagine Uniting the Heavens as live action as well. So many books have been well-translated into movies and television series. Magic and imaginary beasts and worlds are made to look so realistic, and seeing other artists (directors, actors, etc.) put their own talents into sharing an author’s vision is amazing.
If live action, who would be your dream cast for the movie (and why)?
I’m not up to date on the Hollywood scene, so it’s hard to say. Off the top of my head, I could see Aren played by someone like Grant Gustin, Scott Eastwood, or Michael Copon. For Kaila maybe Kelly Hu, Brenda Song, or Jessica Alba. Alexis Bledel or Kristen Bell could make a nice Lady Geyle. Emily Blunt as Aalae? Jason Momoa or Mike Colter as Tanghi? So many possibilities! I’d also love to see “lesser known” actors who would have the ability create a new image for the characters, and I’d love to see a diverse cast.
Who are your favorite (or top 5) author(s)?
J.R.R. Tolkein, Neil Gaiman, Patricia McKillip, J.K. Rowling, A.A. Milne, and Stephen King right off the top of my head. I know that’s six, but there are so many great authors out there, and given time, I could throw out a few more. Each of the authors I just listed are also so different in their style and storytelling, and I think that’s what makes them so wonderful to me. When you pick up their books, you can hear their distinct style.
What would you say to moms who want to write a book?
If your heart is in it, if it is something you really want to do, then I would offer the following: make it a part of your schedule, forgive yourself, and find support. Like I said earlier, I put writing into my schedule. I told myself to do it at night when everything else was done. I also said there were some nights I didn’t write and some nights that I didn’t write as long. I had to be okay with that. Beating myself up wouldn’t make me write my book faster or better. Finally, I found support. I’m fortunate to have a really supportive husband. He has been my strength, my sounding board, and my biggest fan throughout the entire process. He knew when I needed to be pushed, and he knew when I needed to take a break. He helped me enforce my own schedule, and he was the first to remind me to forgive myself when I hit a wall. He shared in my dream, and that helped me the most.
Do your children influence your writing?
My daughters influence my writing in subtle ways. In observing the complexities and differences between them I could find those little eccentricities to pull out in my characters. My kids help keep me grounded, keep me connected to the wonders of the world and the beauty inside of people that you sometimes stop seeing when you get older. My daughters also inspire my writing. If I tell them to follow their dreams, I want them to see that I did the same. If I tell them to work hard, I want them to see that I did the same. I want them to see a woman who can do what she sets her mind to. No excuses.
Where can we purchase Uniting the Heavens?
Right now, there are less than 150 limited edition, paperback, first print editions that you can order through my website englishscribbles.com. The digital editions are available for iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and Nook. If you click on the “Shop for Books” link on my website, you’ll get a direct link to each platform.
Is there a book tour?
There’s no official book tour yet, but I’ve been visiting cities in Virginia where folks have requested signed books. I’d love to do an official tour, though! I suppose if there’s enough demand, I’d enjoy visiting libraries and small bookstores all over the country and talking to people about my book.
Do you have another book you’re planning to write or in the works?
Uniting the Heavens is the first in a series of five books. Aside from that, I have another world in my head that I’m itching to write. I have two books planned for that. I have at least two short stories floating around as well. I may keep them as short stories and put together a compilation, or depending on how long they sit in my head, they may end up being full novels of their own. Right now, it’s enough for me to concentrate on Uniting the Heavens and Aren’s story.
About Emily Peraro English
(written by Emily English)
Emily Peraro English has spent most of her career as a systems analyst, writing and editing technical documentation and requirements for enterprise-wide systems. If that wasn’t thrilling enough, in her spare time (aka the wee hours of the night) and over the course of five years, she completed her first novel Uniting the Heavens, a story that had taken root in her skull almost 20 years ago.
Emily is heavily influenced by (and obsessed with) anime and the Final Fantasy video game series. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and a high-anxiety dorgi in the Washington metropolitan area.
Emily is currently working on Book 2 of the Uniting the Heavens series.
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Uniting the Heavens author-signed book GIVEAWAY
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