Wednesday, May 3, 2017

YA/Sci Fi/Adventure with Emma Carrie

Hello, Miners! Welcome to a new week at the Diamond Mine. I'm (that would be Suzie) so excited to introduce you to our guest this week. When I first read Emma's stories in a critique group, I was hooked. So much so, I have continued to read her stories. And now they are out in the world so I get to share them with you.

About Emma Carrie (in her own words)

 Hi! I'm Emma Carrie—speculative fiction author, part-time introvert, and opportunist. I've explored an active coal mine, fired a Gatling gun from a Humvee, hitched a ride on a corporate jet, and wiped out on stage while modeling...just to name a few fun adventures.

I've made it a personal goal to say "yes" to opportunities that come my long as they aren't immoral, unethical, or in any way violate my personal code of conduct, which includes prohibitions like consuming condiments and sour candy.

My background is in engineering, a choice largely inspired by a TV show I adored as a kid. But now I write science fiction and fantasy. All my series have been tested and approved by teens and adults who have offered helpful (sometimes emoji-laden) comments.

Regardless the genre, I love quirky characters fueled by unconquerable determination--the encouragement I hope readers take from my stories. Young or not-so-young, we all need a bit of inspiration.

Visit Emma Carrie at

Suzie: Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Emma, and thank you for taking the time to visit with us this week. I'm going to dive right into the questions.

With your background in engineering, what was it that drew you to writing?

Emma: My kids and outreach ministry.

I had left my engineering position to stay home with my kids, which also freed me to increasingly participate at church. There, I led outreach ministries, spoke at meetings, and wrote newsletter articles and Bible studies.

On the home front, I spent chunks of time reading books, often with gospel themes, to my kids. As my kids grew, their reading preferences switched to the action adventure, fantasy, and science fiction books their friends were reading—Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Gallagher Girls, Percy Jackson. The stories had redemptive themes, but no Christian grid.

Suzie: Have you done any interesting/fun/challenging hands-on research for your stories?

Emma: In some regards, my research predated my writing. When I was younger, I fired guns, invented sports, climbed trees, and spied on people.

My current story research includes the internet, library, people watching, and—when not one is around—I playact my action scenes. That's resulted in a few minor injuries and damage to a few household items, but for the most part, it's been fun.

Suzie: After reading some of your action scenes, I can see the potential for both injury and damage to objects around you. Some of those scenes are intense!

What does your writing routine look like?

Emma: Routine isn't a good word to describe how I write. Church ministry and family take priority, so I write in spaces of time that are left.

However, when I write, I prefer to start with an outline: a beginning, an ending, and an arc with conflict options. Though I lay out the story chronologically, my imagination develops scenes out of order. Having an outline enables me to fill in the storyline while writing in spurts.

I also involve critique partners early in the process, so each draft incorporates helpful input.

Suzie: I can honestly say I've never developed an outline for one of my stories. I'm impressed with the plotters who lay it out. It probably makes for fewer drafts than I usually end up with.

What do you do for fun when you're not writing?

Emma: I love ministry and hanging out with my family.

I'm blessed to attend an outreach-focused church that cares for people. It's fun to use my skills and energy as part of a team sharing the gospel.

Our family enjoys sports and new experiences. Cramming into a van and embarking on a new adventure—whether it's catching tadpoles, racing go-karts, or exploring a national park—has become a favorite activity.

Suzie: Sounds like lots of great fun that you might incorporate into future books.

As a newer author on the scene, what challenges have you found in writing?

Emma: I've found almost every aspect of writing, from grammar to structure, to be a challenge at first. I'm currently focusing on description and emotion—which I hope to someday master.

Suzie: On the flip side of that last question, what are some benefits or rewards you've discovered in your writing?

Emma: My skills are sharpening, and they transfer to other contexts, like writing for our church, so I'm better equipped to serve. Another benefit is the joy that comes from creating a story and sharing it with others. I'm excited to see my fiction and nonfiction promote the gospel.

Suzie: An excellent goal to have with your writing.

What drew you to young adult and speculative books?

Emma: My kids loved those genres, and I started writing fiction for them and their friends as a means of sharing the gospel in a context they're excited about.

Suzie: What an honor to share this journey with your kids. You not only write for youth, you also incorporate their input as beta readers. I loved learning this! How has working with teenagers improved your writing?

Emma: They're wonderfully honest about what they like and dislike, and their comments have led me to rewrite scenes, alter characters, and incorporate better ideas.

After giving my first manuscript to a teen, we met so she could give me feedback. She loved the story but couldn't visualize what the characters and setting looked like because I hadn't bothered to include the details. She recommended I change that.

After reviewing the next version, she said there was too much description to week through and wondered if I was bipolar.

Teens are great.

Suzie: What about you? Do you read? What's your favorite book?

Emma: The Bible aside, I read young adult science fiction and fantasy. In part, it enables me to
discuss the stories with my kids, but I also love the genres.

A favorite book is hard to pick. As a preteen, I would have selected A Wrinkle in Time. As a teen, Fahrenheit 451. Since reading my kids' favorites, I now lean toward the Harry Potter series.

Suzie: The Tacket Secret is a serial (several shorter releases before the reader gets the full story). What was your reasoning behind releasing this as a serial as opposed to one book?

Emma: Stylistic preference and learning curve.

Superhero, spy, and detective TV shows inspired this series. In general, these contain an overarching story arc, which is advanced by weekly episodes, which each have a story of their own. I think of it as a layered storytelling. I attempted to copy that style with this series.

Additionally, it's quicker and maybe easier to learn how to publish novella series (~25k words per book) than a novel series (~100k words per book) because the time involved in some steps is less. So the learning curve occurs in shorter installments, which fits into the small pockets of time I work in. After I've learned the process, I should be in a position to publish longer books while still working in small chunks of time.

Suzie: I'm a huge fan of superhero shows and movies. I like that you use the popular shows and current trends in your writing decisions.

When this series if complete, what can readers expect next?

Emma: This series may be the first "unit" for these characters. I'm playing with branching into new adventures with new villains, but that would be over a year out if it were to happen.

In the meantime, after the 7 novellas of The Tacket Secret series are published, I plan to focus on a 4-novel fantasy series I've drafted currently call The Rebel Mission. Each novel is close to 100k words, and it's allegorical pieces are powerful.

Stay tuned.

Suzie: You guys, I've gotten to peek at The Rebel Mission and you are in for a treat! It's different than the Tacket series but an engaging read that's got lots of action in it.

Emma, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to hang with us this week. I wish you the best as you continue writing and spreading the gospel through story.

Miners, here's a look at the first installment of The Tacket Secret:

Out of the Shadows (The Tacket Secret Book 1)

A teen assassin on the run. A rogue general on the hunt. And a skeptical detective sucked into the chase.

Three years ago, Emily Brelin escaped the general who trained her. She fled across the globe to Golden City, New York, where she sought anonymity and redemption. There, she found a professor who kept her location and genetic enhancements a secret.

But now her murky past is about to catch up with her.

When the professor dies, her will names Detective Victoria Tacket as the new guardian. Emily worries her secrets will be exposed, and she fears the general will kill anyone to recapture her. So rather than risk the detective's life, she plans to run away.

Detective Vick Tacket is shocked when she learns her best friend has died. She's even more stuneed when she learns her friend had a hidden dependent and named Vick—a single woman with no maternal interest—as the girl's guardian. Convinced she'd be a terrible mother, Vick plans to decline guardianship, until the teen disappears.

Vick scours the streets of Golden City, searching for Emily—but what she discovers threatens both their lives.

This book is free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers or you can order on Amazon.

If you don't have a Kindle Unlimited subscription (or a Kindle for that matter), Emma is giving away an eBook version of Out of the Shadows. Your choice of a .mobi or .pdf version. All you have to do is leave a comment below. Tell us about your favorite YA book or even your favorite superhero. be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you if you win.

***Giveaway valid with 5 valid comments with contact information. Giveaway ends Wednesday, 5/10/17

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