Meeting Emma Norry – Hysteria 2015 Judge

Emma completed an MA in Screenwriting at Bournemouth Universityand a Film degree in 1997. She has had previous short fiction in small magazines: Spiked, Aesthetica, Ink and on fivestopstory.com and was a runner up in the Rhys Davies Award 2005. In 2013 she was selected to be part of a collaborative US project between writers and photographers entitled Fading Light in Open to Interpretation open2interpretation.com. Her highlights in 2014 included being placed 3rd in West Sussex Writing Competition, included in the NFFD print anthology Eat my Words and being long listed for the S1 Leeds Literary prize and shortlisted for the HG Wells competitions.

emma norryWhat is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?

I have three tattoos

Do you think there is any elitism attached to the different genres of books, both in the fiction and non-fiction worlds?

Yes, there is elitism and shouldn’t be. I found myself terribly guilty of this. I considered myself a ‘literary’ reader aiming towards literary ambitions. I’ve written short stories for over twenty years. Last May, I embarked on that perilous journey of The First Novel. I’d never written more than 3,000 words and had no idea what was in store. I struggled for 6 months wondering why ‘it’ wasn’t working, throwing away over 50,000 words in the process. In November I had a complete epiphany… My characters were YA! I had never read any young adult fiction and had no idea about the genre, but since making that decision, every book in the genre I’ve read has been a discovery (I defy anyone not to cry at Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls), and every word written has been an absolute joy and as easy as pie. Don’t be a snob about genre until you have read it, widely!

What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?

Not having enough time…and also, letting go of the guilt by being obsessed with your own work. I write best in the mornings but two small kids and part time work mean I don’t have time in the mornings… yet in the evenings, I’m too exhausted. So…. every Saturday I am in a cafe from 8am – 11am, and Sundays 9am – 12. No more lie ins, but nearly a year later, novel complete. Totally worth it!

Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?

Keep momentum going, it’s too easy to have that novel you’ve been writing for years and years… but the pace, the voice and the energy will be different if too much time goes by. Keep on going because the more you write the easier it becomes – and we’ve all heard that ‘you can’t edit a blank page’ quote. If you can, write by hand, not computer for first drafts. There’s a different part of the brain accessed. We’re more reluctant to ‘delete’ on a computer because it already looks’ professional’.

What is your favourite TV moment of all time?

The completely out of the blue moments – two significant and absolutely 100% did not see them coming and gasped out loud – moments in The Wire…(persevere through the rather dodgy-hard-to-get-into series 2) ‘the end of The Sopranos and the character turn around in Breaking Bad’.

Finding Emma Norry

You can also meet Emma on LinkedIn here: Emma (Marks) Norry and on West Sussex writers at: westsussexwriters.co.uk/competitions/national-competition-2014, on Amazon here: amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KZP9ACY and on sileedsliteraryprize.wordpress.com/

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