An interview with Emma Roberson, author of Beast
Emma Roberson writes about monsters and creatures because she is obsessed with them. She started drawing as a child which led to writing the scenes for the pictures she had created. Emma has worked with horses, reptiles and invertebrates such as spiders and scorpions. All the creatures which scuttle or run across her path find their way into her writng and illustrations. These illustrations are often included in the books.
Emma has worked as a stable hand, as a farm hand, attempted hospitality and warehousing. She works full time and spends her spare time with her animals as well as writng and illustrating. She aims to one day write and illustrate full time.
What is your favourite dragon in literature?
Tricky question. I adore Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, but I also enjoy a more traditional monster-style dragon like the Hungarian Horntail from Harry Potter or those seen in the Witcher games, show and books. I strongly believe that the dragon and its personality must suit the style and feel of the story. And in the previously mentioned examples, I feel the authors accomplished this and created believable and unique dragons.
What comes next? And why should readers be interested?
Beast is book one of a five book fantasy series, The Leviathan Series. I am currently working on book two and should have it ready to be released in 2024.
Beast and the following books contain themes which I did not deliberately write into the story. From the feedback that I have been given, every person that reads this story receives a unique message and meaning.
Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?
Beast, book one of the Leviathan Series, is my first book. The story and characters have changed drastically over the years, and I have worked on it, abandoned it, loved and loathed it for well over a decade. The second book of the series is in progress, and I am enjoying writing this section of the story more than the first. The beginning is always the hardest part to write.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
I have received feedback that the dialogue in my book is good, which I was not expecting as I find dialogue to be quite difficult.
Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?
My first book, Beast, took over a decade of compiling random ideas until it came to fruition. The second book, however, appears to be coming along quite quickly, within a year, as I know where I want to go with the story, and I understand the motivations of the characters. My attention span is short, I quickly become bored, so I find it best to use the dig in an get it done approach.
I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?
Most often, I will write at home, in my room, looking out of the hills with a whisky glass or a mug of tea. If I write at night, I will often have a pet python sitting on my shoulders or head. During the day, my writing companion is usually one of my Blue Tongue Lizards.
I have become more proficient at writing directly into a Word document, but I still enjoy using pen and paper.
Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?
I am one of the lucky few, my family members and friends are the first readers of the first full draft. After the first round of readers, I approach a literary assessor. From there my book continues to the editor and publisher.
I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?
I prefer a paperback or hardback, but I understand the appeal of ebooks and other such options. To be honest, I have rarely visited bookstores in recent years as I have been working on my own projects and admittedly, I am not an avid reader, I have always preferred to create my own stories. That having been said, I enjoy the second-hand bookstore experience the most.
I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and have your tastes changed over time?
I have a broad range of interest, but well written fantasy and fiction draw me in. I do enjoy a good thriller or horror.
Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?
My publisher is amazing, and I can request marketing material such as book graphics and animated excerpts which I use to promote my book. However, my sister and her partner provided me with an excellent piece of advice. I do not solely promote my book and illustrations on my chosen social media platforms. I often post reels and photos of my interests, my animals. This has drawn interest and now I have consistent followers. I am still learning how to optimise my access to social media, but I do think that it is working in my favour, for the most part.
At this time, I manage my own profile, and this is mainly due to the options available to me. I have gone down the self-publishing route and I do not have limitless funds so often the marketing of my book lands with me. I try to post daily, but it is difficult to do and maintain the habit. I am not naturally social media inclined so it is a challenge to give it my time. I must admit I do enjoy the challenge of learning how to market my book.
Through my publisher I have also been linked with the national library service so bookstores and libraries can purchase my book. I do need to place more effort into contacting libraries and bookstores. My other option for promotion, which I have begun utilising, is book reviewers.
Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?
Definitely! The only time I will recycle answers is if I am given the same question – as the response will be the same!
Where can readers and fantasy enthusiasts find you and your work?
FORCED FROM THE SEA HE ONCE ROAMED AS AN APEX PREDATOR, THE LEVIATHAN MUST FIGHT TO SURVIVE ON LAND.
With a new face and name the Leviathan carves a place for himself in a volatile and violent world where monsters and humans wage war against each other and amongst themselves for survival and supremacy.
An unlikely alliance is forged between the Master of the Vanguard, the leader of the kingdoms royally sanctioned monster hunters, and the Leviathan, once the most notorious and elusive monster of the sea. United by terrible circumstance and bound by a shared purpose, the Master and the Leviathan struggle to overcome the hatred and fear which rules and rots the realm.
The Leviathan must defend the realm from all things monstrous, including himself. He must find a way to conquer the turmoil of the kingdom and the darkness of his own nature.