Today we have the pleasure of getting to know R.G. Emanuelle a little bit more. She’s was so kind to answer our nosy questions.
So, welcome, R.G., and thank you for answering our questions.
Let’s start with something easy – some warm-up questions:
Coffee or tea?
What is life without coffee? I enjoy tea as well, but that’s for comfort, like on a cold winter’s evening or when I’m sick. Although I do enjoy iced tea with dinner sometimes or during the summer. But coffee? That’s the fuel that keeps my engine running. I can’t start my day without it, and I wilt in the afternoons without another dose. Some people would find that terribly unhealthy, but considering that caffeine consumption has been linked to lower incidences of Alzheimer’s Disease, I think it’s a good investment.
What puts you in a bad mood?
Stupid people. I have no patience for stupidity.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Oh, now we’re talking! This is, in fact, one of my favorite subjects. But it’s a difficult question to answer. Only one power? It would probably be super strength because it would mean that I would never get tired.
Where is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
I find something beautiful or intriguing about every place I visit. I love the beauty of Caribbean waters. The red rock mountains and adobe landscape of the American Southwest transport me to another level of consciousness. The awe-inspiring mountains and storylike towns of Switzerland cut right into my heart. But I think my favorite place is Italy. Aside from the fact that my family is Italian, there’s so much to love about Italy: Sparkling Mediterranean waters with grottos, beautiful mountains, hillside villages, great food. But there are so many places I haven’t visited, so who knows what my answer will be if you ask me again in a few years.
Is that more than you really wanted to know?
Lindt truffles and Ferrero Rocher.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Quit my job immediately. Pay off my debts. Build a big animal sanctuary that will shelter all animals slated to be destroyed. Donate to animal shelters and cancer research. If my family needs anything, I’ll help them. Then, I will spend the rest of my life traveling and writing.
And now on to the writing-related stuff:
For how many years have you been writing now, and how did you come to it?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, but the first time I realized I had a talent for it was in the sixth grade (when I was about eleven years old), when my English teacher told me that something I’d written was the best piece he’d read all year. I started writing for publication in the 1990s.
I started my novel, Twice Bitten, in the early ’90s but then began focusing on nonfiction writing. I finally made my way back to fiction in the early to mid 2000s.
Why do you write? What does it mean to you?
I am a glutton for punishment. Aren’t all writers? No, seriously, I write because I am compelled to do it. It’s the only thing I always felt I could do well. Even in moments when I feel I should just end it all and find something else to focus on, I can’t actually bring myself to do it. I simply cannot imagine not writing.
I was always an extremely shy girl, and writing was the only way I knew how to express my creativity. And it appealed to me because I was in control of the characters’ fates and the stories’ outcomes. I later found another creative outlet in cooking, but I never let go of the writing. I merely combined the two in my nonfiction writing.
How long does it take you to write a novel?
Ha! As I said above, Twice Bitten was an ongoing project for 20+ years, but there were reasons for that. My second novel is halfway complete, and I’ve been working on that for about a year now. I will not spend the next 20 years writing that!
How much time per week do you spend writing?
As many as I can squeeze in. Every week is different. Some weeks, I can put in a nice amount of work, and some weeks, I get almost nothing done.
When and where do you write the most?
Everywhere I can. I write on the train to and from work, on my lunch break, in the waiting room at the doctor and dentist, at night in bed… Wherever I can.
How would you describe yourself?
Quiet, shy, funny with a wry sense of humor. Kind and caring, but don’t piss me off.
How much of yourself is in your characters?
There’s probably a little piece of me in most of my characters. Not all, but most. They either have a trait that I have or one that I would like to have. Sometimes I throw a lot of myself into a character if they’re about to have some cool adventure or experience, like vampire hunting or commanding a pirate ship (like my pirate captain, Rianne Cotter, in “Lost Treasure”).
What do you find the most challenging part of writing?
Finding the time to do it and staying disciplined within that time.
Sometimes, I get an idea for a story and a basic plot line with specific scenes that I want to write and an ending in mind. But then I get stuck getting it from one point to another. A long time can go by before I figure it out, and it’s quite frustrating.
I also have a hell of a time with titles. They drive me crazy.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished My Life in France by Julia Child—a wonderful, engaging read—and I’m about to start Bloody Fabulous, an anthology of fantasy stories that incorporate fashion in some way. I’m also trying to work my way down through a huge stack of magazines that have piled up. I’m way behind in my reading.
What do you think makes a good romance novel?
As in any story, the characters have to be strong. The reader has to care about the characters and where they’re going. The decisions they make, the actions they take, and the words they speak have to impact the reader in some way. When a reader begins a story, she is investing her time (and sometimes money), and when they get to the end, there has to be some kind of satisfaction.
For romances, specifically, I think the two love interests have to have a deep need for love, even if they don’t know it. There has to be something inside them that’s missing that only the other person can give. That’s what makes the reader care about them (which goes back to my point above). If the main characters are devoid of this need, then they becomes become one-dimensional and will not elicit emotions from anyone.
What advice would you give new authors?
Write what you want to write. Don’t write what you think people want to read or what you think is the hot trend. If your heart isn’t in it, chances are that it will not be your best work.
Be patient. It takes a long time to become a “good” writer.
Be open to criticism. Too many writers are so resistant to suggestions for improvement that they don’t really learn the craft of writing. Don’t be so busy basking in accolades that you don’t learn the many lessons offered to you along the way. Learn from other writers, especially those who have been around a while, and take every opportunity to learn something new and gain new perspective.
What are you working on right now?
Many things. LOL. I’m working on a second novel, doing research for a third, and have a few short stories in progress. By the time the anthology appears, I will have a novella out called Add Spice to Taste. That one is somewhat different from anything else I’ve written. It falls squarely in the category of romance.
What future writing projects can we look forward to?
I hope to have my second novel out next year, and the third—well, I’ll get it done sometime. I will continue writing short stories as well, and I may be announcing another anthology project in the near future.
Thank you for your interesting answers. It was great having you here.