I've spent weeks talking about Dare To Fall and the fact I was invited to chair the event last Friday (which I happened to write a post about my thoughts before the event that ended up not posting so that was fun! Sorry about that).
The event was so much fun and it was such a nice turnout so if you came, thank you so much; if you couldn't make it, I'm sure there will be plenty more book launches and signings to come! It was nice to see some familiar faces, new friends, and even someone who was visiting Scotland all the way from Canada - this I found out when Estelle turned to me and yelled "EMMA THERE'S A CANADIAN!" Never has someone been more excited about meeting a human from Canada than me that one time I met Justin Bieber...
As it would be impossible for everyone to make it to the event, I jotted down some of the answers Estelle gave to my questions and have been so excited to share them with you - do forgive me for any misquotes but I wanted to keep this fairly short so I may change some questions/answers for clarity. If you wish to see the event in full (minus the first question where I asked Estelle to provide a brief synopsis and she forgot what the book was about) you can find the live stream on Estelle's Facebook page.
How did this book differ to writing DIMILY?
I wrote DIMILY just for fun, there was no pressure and I could take all the time in the world. It was a trilogy as well where as Dare to Fall [DTF] is a standalone and was also the first book I wrote knowing it would be published so there was definitely more pressure. I worried a lot, like “oh no what if it's not as good”, “What if I can’t write anything good anymore” so I had a lot of doubts. The biggest challenge writing DTF was believing in myself.
Do you prefer writing series or standalones? What are the pros and cons of each?
A series is fun – more books to develop characters. Where as a standalone you have to fit the whole story in one book. I much prefer standalones. I actually hate series, I don’t like reading series - ironic that I wrote a trilogy. I plan to stick with standalone for now.
Where do you get your inspiration for your novels?
Everything around me, people on trains inspire me - I'll be sitting writing notes about them. Also other movies and books trigger ideas.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It used to take me at least a year but now I'm writing full time it takes about 6-9months to write and edit a book.
Do you work better with a deadline or when you’re just writing something for yourself with no pressure to get it finished?
Having deadlines pushes me to write. I also write full time and try to write everyday Monday to Friday. I don't know if a deadline is good or bad. It stresses me out but it makes me write faster.
Do you plan how the book or a scene is going to pan out before you write or do you just sit down, write and see where it takes you? (Basically, I’m asking if destroying my heart and soul is accidental or if you really are just that cruel to me)
I don’t plan at all; most authors sit and plan start to finish and know where story is going to go and character development and all that - I think that's how I should be but the way I've always written is just to wing it. For DIMILY, all I went with was 'girl loves step brother'. It's more interesting for me to write if I don't know what’s going to happen.
Which scenes do you find hardest to write – such as big plot twists, romance scenes, or mundane parts? Do you have any examples of scenes you find particularly difficult?
For me the emotional scenes are the hardest. No spoilers but in DTF there are a few emotional scenes and I want to do them justice so I spend a lot of time trying to get the emotion out and to make sure it reads authentically.
Are there any scenes you edited out of the book?
Oh I don’t think so. All my favourite scenes are in book.
Do you like when people compare DTF and DIMILY or do you want each story to stand on their own and not have to live up to the other?
It’s ok for them to compare to see how writing has change but DTF is separate it’s not just another dimly book. I think people should look at it with fresh eyes.
Your books have really taken off internationally, do you think there is anything in particular that has helped this or have you just been lucky?
DIMILY is so universal. It's set in America - if it was set in Scotland, it wouldn't be as good. The story is different and it's a controversial topic that's not been done in YA a lot.
What has been your favourite moment from your international trips – either book events or the dimily trip?
I went to Paris in December to a book fair. I was nervous, like 'what if nobody turns up' is always my biggest fear. But in Paris, I was signing for 3 hours and that was with queue closed before got there. My back was in agony from sitting there that long. I looked up and saw how many people were in the queue and it was still so long. That's when I realised "I am living my dream". I'm in in paris and there's a massive queue of people standing waiting to meet me. I’m just a quine fae Scotland. [Quine is Doric for girl]. That’s moment that hit me. I’m actually living my dream this is cool.
Speaking of the DIMILY trip, do you plan to visit Windsor?
Uhhh… no. It's literally a small town so I wouldn’t go as there's not much there… I should just start setting my books in palces I really wanna visit. Next book is gonna be set in Las Vegas because I really wanna go there.
Have you had any memorable experiences with your readers?
I have a French reader who runs a fan account. Her name's Marie and she is so dedicated. When I was in paris I finally got to meet her and she was in tears, giving me hugs. I just can't believe people are that supportive and dedicated and devoted to me. It was so cool to see her and thank her in real life.
If you could tell your 13-year-old self one piece of writing advice, what would it be?
Stop adding in random plot twists for the sake of drama. First draft oh my goodness. By the third book it was just not realistic. Gonna put this out there in Did I Mention I Miss You? Eden shot Tyler like come on! Lay off unncess plot twists. Believe in myself. Writing in my teenage years meant a lot of self doubt and worry that I couldn't keep up with older authors and took time to learn that I do belong same market.
What do you think 13 year old you would say if she could see how far she and her newly formed idea of Tyler and Eden have gone since then?
So proud of my little babies.
Do you miss writing about characters you’ve known for so long or do you enjoy finding new ones?
I wrote about Tyler and Eden for 5 years - I grew up with them. Tyden are my babies. I've always got a soft spot for them
When you first wrote the words ‘No Te Rindas', did you ever think that it would become a sort of motto for DIMILY series and that people would go so far to get it tattooed?
I know readers pick stuff latch on and there's a few things from DIMILY but No Te Rindas really stuck. It's crazy people have it tattooed in my handwriting!
Although you are a contemporary romance author, there’s a tiny hint of mystery in Dare to Fall. Would you ever attempt to write a novel in a different genre such a mystery or even delve into dystopian or fantasy etc?
I would absolutely love to write a YA thriller. There are so many adult thrillers out there and not many teen fiction thrillers. I think they're so cool and there should be so much more. I would have to be really smart to think of a plot though. I don’t think im clever enough. It would be super cliché. In future though, I'd love to but for now I'm comfortable with contemporary.
What can you tell us about your next project?
I’ve started writing my next project. It's still YA and contemporary. Still set in America. YA, contemporary, America. That's sort of my style. I can’t give much away but if you're a fan of DIMILY or DTF you’ll love it.
So I've actually covered most of the questions I asked Estelle but for full answers and some more questions (including some from the audience members I managed to coax into talking), head to Estelle's Facebook page linked above!
Apologies for the radio silence this last week. It was a crazy week and I've started to get sick so the blog was on the back burner. But I'm here now and hopefully back on track!