I was the kind of kid that would read anything. I had my favorite authors and genres, of course - I'm looking at you, Babysitters Club. Still, I wasn't picky, and I read whatever I could get my hands on. I've always been a fast reader, so I went through most of my parents' bookshelves pretty quickly.
Even now, I cannot tell you my favorite book, author, or genre. I could never choose just one. I might be able to give you my top ten, but even that would be a struggle. Different works resonate in different ways.
This love of all styles has posed a bit of a problem in my writing life.
I like to write in different styles and genres, too. I primarily write horror novels, but there is always a smattering of sci-fi or fantasy or magical realism. These genres are close enough that I can promote them in a similar way.
Here's my problem.
The other side of my writer's coin involves writing plays for middle and high school students. Very different style. Very different audience. Usually, I keep them separate. This site focuses mainly on my darker, more adult work.
Today, I am going to make an exception, and if you happen to be a director of middle and/or high school theatre, this is for you.
I have been directing middle and high school theatre productions for eleven years. My program is part of an after-school program, so funds are tight. My challenge is always to create a production for as close to $0 as possible.
This led me to begin writing plays for my students. Scripts and performance costs can add up fast, and this seemed like a logical response to my situation. It's a lot of fun, and I have amassed quite a few plays. When I realized how many I had, I decided to put them all in one place and make them available to other directors and schools. There is a minimal fee for performances and the scripts, but it is still pretty affordable. I'm thrilled to have them all in one place for the world to see!
So, if you're a director or just like reading quirky (somewhat strange) plays, check out www.schoolplayscripts.com
I'm so excited, I just had to share!
Artists see the world differently.
This applies to all creatives, but I think it differs depending on what kind of outlet you enjoy. As a writer/theatre person, I've noticed that I look at things differently than my husband who is a musician.
My husband, daughter, and I are all involved in the performing arts. My son is not interested at all. He is a visual artist. He thinks in sculptures and drawings. His first thought upon seeing my husband's new kayak was, "Can I draw on it?".
Now, to the point of this post. I have published 6 books since I started seriously writing. For the first 5 books, I used the generic cover designer. They looked okay, but they didn't look professional. There are so many aspects to consider in cover design, and I am not a artist. I tried my best, but I just do not have the talent.
My husband met a graphic artist/comic book artist and made a connection. I loved his style and worked with him on the cover of SuperGym. It was incredible. Somehow, he was able to take my disjointed rambling ideas and make the cover I didn't even know I wanted. It was so much better than anything I could have even imagined.
Check it out:
Love it. So much.
I am working on a second edition of my second book right now. It's hopefully going to be done in time for my girl's birthday. I want it to look as professional as possible, so I contacted my cover guy.
This is what he had to work with: "It's a YA, magical realism story about a girl who lives with her "witch" great grandmother and eventually discovers she is also a witch and is being hunted by an evil spirit. There is a large hedge maze that features prominently in the story."
He asked for a few details about the girl's appearance, and a few days later he sends me a mock-up of the cover that is absolutely perfect. Again, it is better than anything I could have ever imagined. I am so excited to see the finished product.
Writing books is the easy part. Selling books is more difficult.
I'm learning a lot about marketing and selling books, but it can get really overwhelming. I need to always have a creative outlet, and lately that's been plays.
Normally, I write plays for middle school aged kids. They're fun, silly, and weird, and I really enjoy writing them. I usually write them for my students, so I have an idea of who will be playing what part* and when the performance will take place.
*Confession: I've written parts for certain students before. They can be such a great source of inspiration.
This time, I am writing something different. A play for adults. Nothing quirky or fantastical. It's all based in reality - which is a definite departure from the norm. It's still funny, maybe a little dark (like most of my writing), and completely different from anything else I've written.
I have no plan for it. I'm not sure what will come of it (if anything), but I really like it. It's been a nice distraction from marketing headaches. I find writing plays so relaxing, and I'm looking forward to the next steps. Hopefully, I'll see it on stage some day.
I have one other project that I'm currently working on - in addition to the numerous other projects on pause right now. My daughter is always asking if she can read my books. Considering the content of my books, the answer has always been "not until you're older."
One day I was clearing out my bookshelves, and I found an old proof copy of a YA book I wrote. It was actually the second book I ever wrote. I liked it, but I took a break from writing for a little while and kind of forgot about it. I switched publishers and didn't think about it again until my girl wanted to read my writing.
It needed some work. My writing has definitely improved in the last eight(?!) years, and I wanted to give my girl my best work. So, the project I am mostly focused on right now is to revise, re-format, and re-publish my second book. I talked to my cover guy, and he is working on a gorgeous new cover for it. Really hoping to have it ready for her birthday.
Em is a writer, theatre director, and hiker. She likes mixing horror with magical realism and adding sci-fi twist.