I recently went along to a local meeting of the Girly Book Club as hosted by the author Emma Chapman.
Emma’s book ‘How to be a Good Wife’ was released in the UK and Australia at the beginning of the year and my very clever e-reader suggested it might be something I would like to read. Well I pretty much inhaled it I loved it so much, so I was thrilled to go along and hear her talk about the book.
It’s been a long time since I’ve belonged to a book club and I had almost forgotten how great it is to talk to people about a book and get different points of view and opinions. Emma was brilliant at remaining very neutral about the ambiguous parts of the book, letting everyone keep their own conclusions. I’m not going to tell you any more about that because you should just read the book. It’s excellent and don’t let the title mislead you into thinking it’s some old fashioned rule book. It’s not, it’s excellent. Yes, it’s excellent enough to warrant two excellents, which has now become four. That’s how good it is.
After the general question and answer session I cornered Emma hoping to get a chance to pick her brain a little bit about being a writer and the way she works and the processes she uses. She had to rush off but suggested we meet for coffee to chat about it in a bit more detail. A coffee date with a proper real life author?! Brilliant!
From speaking to Emma it’s clear that she knew very early on in her life that she wanted to be a writer, she had the foresight to get a part time job at a literary agency when she was at university realising that if she already had a relationship with them she would have a better chance of them acting as her agent, something which paid off. She then spent three years of her life writing. During that time she did her Master’s degree, which is how the book started, then she moved to the other side of the world to Perth (yay, Perth!) where the book was finished.
During our coffee we talked about how to get started on a writing project and how to find a voice that will ring true. Sometimes it might take some finding, switching from the first to third person for example, or the other way round. Finding a writing group of like-minded people that will give you support and provide valuable feedback is also very important. Because how do you know if you’re any good as a writer if no one reads what you write? Letting people read my stories is something that terrifies me, so I know that I need to do that, if only to stop being so precious about it.
What really resonated with me was the fact that Emma worked HARD at writing, and that working hard really paid off. She was determined that this is what she wanted to do and I am thrilled that she succeeded, because it gives me a little bit of hope that one day I might succeed at it that too.