This installment of Author Showcase we chat with Emma Sterner-Radley Emma Sterner-Radley is an ex-librarian (with the student debt and caffeine addiction to prove it) turned fantasy author. She spends her time writing, reading, daydreaming, lifting weights, hanging out online, and watching the gayest TV shows she can find.
Q I saw you had originally been a librarian. What made you take the leap to being an author?
After we moved away from London, I struggled to find library work and during that time wrote a lot. My wife thought I was good enough to try making a living off it and so I took the plunge.
Q You have a lot of fresh concepts and world building in your novels, when you are starting a new project where do you start, the plot, characters or setting?
It changes from book to book. In the case of my next book to be published (Snowblooded, out with Solaris books in 2024) I first came up with the simple concept of “two arch rival assassins, that are a sort of siblings, are forced to work together.” For the book I’m writing at the moment, I thought of the setting first, a massive desert with an old university in the middle.
Q Do you heavily plot out your novels or do you let your characters surprise you?
I used to plot very little. However, I found that editors and readers were mentioning that my stories were meandering and had superfluous parts. So, I taught myself to plot quite heavily. That way I have an orderly story skeleton to start with but can always diverge from the plot later if need be.
Q Do you have any writing habits that you always follow when writing, ( time, page count, place cats no cats)?
I write each weekday, more on good days and less on the bad ones. (It used to be every day of the week but I’m trying to make myself take the weekends off.) I’ve also had to learn to take breaks to stretch, drink and snack, as well as changing my writing position. My damaged body and strained eyes saw to that!
Q Who were the authors that you read that inspired you to write your own stuff?
Oh, so many. But to pick a few: Terry Pratchett, Erin Morgenstern, Neil Gaiman, V.E. Schwab, and more lately Tamsyn Muir and N.K. Jemison
Q What is your next project you are working on?
As I mentioned above, I have Snowblooded coming out in 2024. I also have a science fantasy murder mystery that will be going on sub to editors/publishers soon. And then I am writing that new fantasy book set in the desert that I also mentioned.
Q} if people want more info about you or your books where should they go?
I am on most social media platforms and I have a newsletter (where you get any news first and can win free books and such). The easiest place to find all of that is my website: emmasternerradley.com
Final four questions –we ask everybody
Q) When the zombies take over the world where will you be?
Hopefully in some hidden shelter, hugging my wife and making survival plans with our group of friends and family.
Q ) What is your favorite Fandom
Right now it’s the one for the Locked Tomb books. I sort of fell into it against my will, but I really love how clever, inclusive, and wild-brained many in that fandom are.
Q) What piece of art, be it in the form of music, a book, a film or picture, do you think people must experience before they die?
Oh, wow. It is so hard to only pick one! I think maybe I have to go with Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea. Because it makes you empathise with so many different types of humans and it has so many layers to explore. And it’s really damn good!
Q) Give one fact that most people would not believe about you?
Despite being very chatty, open, and seeming comfortable when I meet people, it’s a mask and I’m actually painfully shy, introverted, and socially anxious.