Comparison is the Thief of Joy: An interview with Emma Scott


Tell us about your current book.

Unbreakable is a contemporary romance/romantic suspense novel about a high-powered attorney and a struggling workingman, thrown together as hostages during a bank robbery. During three harrowing days, they rely on each other for safety, comfort, and even passion.

Would you say that your writing falls into a particular genre?

Definitely. I started out—and intend to return—to writing fantasy. I have an epic nautical fantasy in the works that I had been crafting for years before the itch to write romance side-tracked me. So as a fantasy writer, and as a romance writer, I definitely fall into the “genre fiction” category—twice.

What are the books in that genre that you most admire? Why?

In the romance genre I think Mia Sheridan is an excellent writer as her characters are always good and noble, and that resonates with me. I love to write about good people, about the goodness in people, and seeing them win. Her work exemplifies that as well.

In fantasy … Weiss & Hickman got me started with their DragonLance Chronicles, I love Patrick Rothfuss, China Mieville, George RR Martin, and, of course, Stephen King. These guys are gods.

How do you know when a piece of writing is done?

Good question! Wow, that’s a toughie since I almost always want to go back and fiddle and poke. Quite literally, I’d say it’s never done. I can go back to every single thing I’ve ever written (and we’re talking well over a million words here) and still find things to change. But that’s what deadlines are for, so my final answer would be it’s done when the deadline says it is.

Were you a reader as a kid? What kinds of books did you love as a child?

Oh yes. I was the typical under-the-blankets-with-a-flashlight reader for years. I always had a book going. I loved Little Women—that one was hugely influential on my desire to write—DragonLance, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Treasure Island, David Copperfield, and then I read a bunch of fun stuff too like Choose Your Own Adventure and Sweet Valley High. I was an equal-opportunity reader.

Are there any recent books that you began to read and stopped?  What makes you stop reading?

I’ve read a few in the romance genre that I had to stop, which is rare, but it happens. I stop when either what the writer is doing is so obvious—trying to manipulate the reader’s feelings without craft or skill—or when the plot and characters are behaving so utterly unrealistically that I can’t connect, or worse, don’t want to.

Who are your writing mentors?

Stephen King is my one and only writing mentor. And it’s not that I’ve met him—though I might sell a few body parts for an hour sit-down—but that he is such an amazing storyteller. His purpose is to entertain, and he does. And that’s my goal. First and foremost, to entertain the reader. And if there is a better how-to for writers than King’s On Writing I have yet to read it.

What was most surprising to you when you first began to publish?

How hard it is to market. That’s the Herculean task. To get eyeballs on the page. I started out worrying if people would like the book and that quickly morphed into How can they get it??

What is the hardest part of being a writer?

Self-doubt, inner criticism, comparison. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and that’s the damn truth. It’s very easy to let the doubt creep in, especially when there are so many books—more than ever!—out there making it. And you have to just keep going and keep pushing and never give up, even when your worst critic—yourself—wants to throw in the towel.

What can we read of yours?

My romance series, City Lights is the big project I’m working on. The first book, Love Beyond Words about a shy book-lover and a reclusive novelist is currently free right now, and Unbreakable, as mentioned above, is available now too. The third book, about a talented violinist shackled by self-doubt (write what you know! 😉 ) … is coming out in June.

Each novel takes place in a major city—the first three being San Francisco, Los Angeles, and now New York. I think London is up next, but we’ll see.



Who is Emma Scott?

Emma Scott lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area with her amazing husband and two feisty little girls. She’s been writing since high school; everything from Star Wars fan fiction, to epic fantasy, to romance novels.

Ms. Scott is an avid coffee-drinker, yoga practitioner, marathon runner, and firmly believes in promoting the works of fellow self-published writers. We all have a voice; we just need help making it heard.


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