Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Interview with Emma Right, author of Keeper of Reign

Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it? For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema. Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn't get himself killed first.

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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Probably having my five kids.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Actually life was hard for me while I was growing up. I was very much the latch-key kid and had to raise myself since I was about seven or eight I think that's probably one of the reasons I always made-up stories in my head--a runaway mechanism. Also, I buried myself in books and faraway lands--see the trend?
When and why did you begin writing?
When I first began writing Keeper of Reign in 2008 it was just a tale, one of many, that I made up for my five kids then. They wanted a fun, adventure story set in a fantastical setting and as a mom, I wanted the story to be more than just a fairy-tale. I wanted them to learn about the importance of loving each other--as they grated on each other a lot --and the importance of family, and the value of persevering and so on. So I wove these themes into the tale, at the time called Kingdom of Reign. Then I thought, hey, maybe I could publish this…hence the journey to self-publishing.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I've always like to tell stories even as a young girl of eight. I remember how my neighbor friends would sit around by the front porch and kept pestering to tell  one tale after another. I also recall being very annoyed by them--I mean how was a girl going to think up all the stories if she had to keep spewing these out each time she had any moment away from school work, right? As for writing, I joined an ad agency after college and was posted to the copywriting department where I had to write print ads, radio and even some 30 second TV blurbs. It was fun.

When did you first know you could be a writer? 

Probably when I started winning awards at the ad agency. I thought,hey, this is fun and gratifying, too.

What inspires you to write and why?
Life and generally everything around me could inspire me. I see stories around every corner. I just wish I had the time to download them…like a computer!
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I like the Young Adult and Middle Grade Age range. Maybe it's because I've done so many read-aloud with my kids throughout our sixteen years of homeschooling. I remember I sometimes read to them till I was hoarse. As for genre, I enjoy anything from mysteries to fantasy to thrillers to historical sagas.
What inspired you to write your first book?
One of the things that helped me to hone in on the theme for Keeper of Reign is the song from Switchfoot. When I first heard the song , "Meant to Live" (for so much more) it got me thinking about how far short each of us fall from our true potential. The trials and troubles of this world reduce us, and it feels that our troubled world is so big. This is just like how it was for the Elfies.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
I feel my desire to empower young people is one of the things that fueled me on and to write sometimes way in to the night.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
I think writing a novel was the second hardest thing I'd had to do. The hardest is probably raising kids! Writing in general is so different from creating a story and fleshing out characters and the world, and the conflict that can exist on so many levels. And don't forget structure. when I first wrote Keeper of Reign, it never occurred to me that stories had an architecture to them, really? I though architecture had to do with buildings? Several books from Writer's digest later, I had the Aha! moment and then I understood the need to have proper story engineering. All good stories have them. So, I had to re-revise keeper of reign--only about 17 times-- and finally I was happy with the structure. Of course, having two editors helped me some, too.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
I learned that when I put my book out there, in the wide world of Amazon and beyond, I will get praises, but I will also get criticisms, and it's just a fact of life, but that was something I never realized before. No one single book is for everyone. Some people may be offended, some may be confused, some may actually get it. I took a look at some of the bestselling authors and their books on Amazon, and I see that they, too, get five and one star reviews, and they have been doing this for decades, made millions, and even won awards.  Not everyone can eat jalapeno, without hiccuping. But as long some people enjoy the book, that's what's important. That's the most impactful lesson I'd learned from having written Keeper of Reign.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
I have so many other stories in me, so I'd like to continue doing this.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
I am more of an organic writer since I always have a story in my head, an idea I'd like to grow, and once I start with the character and the conflict the story blossoms on its own. I just keep writing until the end. But then I go back to the piece when it's all done (about six-seven months later) to rearrange scenes and plots so that it has the traditional structure that is recognized as the basic architecture of what a good story should be--the 1/4-1/4/1/4/-1/4 structure.
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
My wild imagination.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I feel for people, like when I see someone sad, it really hurts me, too, and I feel this helps me to be more compassionate.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Feeling for people, too much. Funny, how the very same thing that could be a virtue could also be a vice, and that's how it is with me. When I don't put a boundary around this, life can get pretty confusing.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

I have too many quotes to put down, but one that I live by is, "where there's life there's hope". I just feel that hope is such an important element for each person to have to keep on going. 


Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. When she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one. Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children. Visit Emma Right at her home site and blog for tips and ideas about books, homeschooling, bible devotions, and author helps of various sorts: www.emmaright.com and follow her on facebook emma.right.author or her fanpage on facebook.com/keeperofreign

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