I would like to welcome Emma Newman to the blog. Emma is currently in the throes of launching her debut short fiction collection From Dark Places, while her debut novel 20 Years Later is due for release in July this year. As you can see, 2011 is a big year for Emma and it’s great to have her here as my second guest on MLiSF. Ladies and gents, put your hands together for Emma Newman’s Life in Short Fiction:
1. The first short story you remember enjoying.
That was one by Enid Blyton! It was in a collection of fairy stories that I had as a young child. I can’t remember what it’s called (I must have been about 5 at the time) but it was all about a toad who was trying to make the most impressive present he could to give to the fairy king and queen – everyone in the fairy kingdom had to present one. All of his attempts to create an amazing gift fail in different ways, and the denizens of the fairy kingdom ridicule him as they pass his house on the way to present their own. In the end, he resorts to taking his lowly stool with him, as it’s the only possession he has left in the house, and, of course, the King and Queen love it so much they commission him to make more.
Why did I love it so? Well, aside from the underdog succeeding against the odds, the main reason was that it explained why fairy rings in the garden are made of toadstools (at least to my five year old brain). I took that story out into the world with me; I can remember pointing at a ring of toadstools in the garden and telling my grandfather that the toad had made them for the fairy king and queen.
2. The short story that turned you on to writing short fiction.
I can’t say a particular story made me run to the page and write short fiction. It was a person who did that; the last teacher I had in primary school at the age of ten. He gave us titles and first lines, and then told us to write him a wonderful story. He was the single most important influence on me as a short story writer, and still is, twenty-five years later. Thank you Mr Axon!
3. A story by the author whose body of work you feel has most influenced yours.
That has to be “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, and even just typing the title makes me shiver. I first discovered it in my teens and it absolutely blew me away. I still love it every bit as much as I did then.
Ray Bradbury is by far my favourite short story writer, and one of my writing heroes. His attitude to writing is simply wonderful. He is the writer I would most want to meet.
4. The story from your own body of work that most reveals something of who Emma Newman is.
Now that’s a tough question, and I don’t think I can answer it. There is a tiny bit of me in all of my stories; a detail here, a quirk there, but I don’t think I can point to one and say “Yup, there I am.” It’s probably because I am too close to them.
Saying that, I think “Getting Fixed” and “The Letter” which are in “From Dark Places” reveal the most about my sense of humour.
5. Your all time favourite short story.
Has to be “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury – I guess I already answered that one! I would gush about why it’s my favourite, but I’d much rather you go and find it, the story can speak for itself.
Emma drinks too much tea, has too many ideas and writes too many stories. Only one of these is true. Her debut novel ’20 Years Later’ will be published in July 2011 by Dystopia Press. She blogs and gets up to all kinds of writing mischief at www.enewman.co.uk.
Emma’s first short story anthology ‘From Dark Places’, recently acquired by eMergent Publishing, is available in print and e-book book formats. You can buy a signed copy from her website: http://www.enewman.co.uk/my-books/buy-a-signed-edition-of-from-dark-places and if you like dark short stories, join Em’s Short Story Club (www.enewman.co.uk/sign-up-for-free-stories) to get an original short story for free in your inbox every month.
Emma fell in love with audio book narration when podcasting ’20 Years Later’ prior to her publishing deal. Since then she has recorded audio books for publishers and has narrated short stories for fiction podcasts. To find out more about her voice work go to www.enewman.co.uk/voice where you can also listen to a couple of quirky flash stories written by emerging writers. Emma loves recording speculative fiction, horror, science fiction and steampunk.