Home.About Me.FAQs.Books.Notebook.Contact Me.

© 2007  Emma Cole

Made by Serif

September, 2009

David from British Columbia asks: How much of your ending do you usually know before you begin?

Usually I know the basics of the ending (or at least I think I do), but it doesn't come to me in any detail till I'm two-thirds through the book, at least. And then I almost always get it in a single chunk of writing (usually I have to take this down in longhand, as I'm on a train or in the bath, or somewhere inconvenient) and I'll put that in the Plotting section of my notebook, and when I get through my book and write the ending properly that longhand note is pretty much the finished copy. I don't know why it happens this way, but that's usually the way it does. Sometimes I'll write something quite by accident towards the middle of a book that seems to be the perfect thing to echo at the end, so maybe that's why I don't always know the ending fully when I start.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


June, 2009

Louise asks: Will Allison & Busby be re-issuing all your previous books?


April, 2009

Muriel from Ontario asks: I’ve just finished reading Every Secret Thing and totally enjoyed it. We are reading this for our Book Club and I will be making the presentation of the book.  Could you please help me come up with some intelligent questions that I could ask the members as it seems a bit difficult to find information on the Internet. This is our first mystery so it would be nice to make it super interesting. Again it was a great book and enjoyable beginning to end and as my husband and I have spent a lot of holidays in Portugal it brought back the familiar towns. Thank you.


March, 2009

The review site Singletitles.com asks: Your novels are a wonderful blend of romance, mystery, history, suspense and emotion. What drew you to writing these kinds of books?


February, 2009

Chadwick Ginther of McNally Robinson Bookstore in Winnipeg asks: One common theme in your work seems to be the past intruding upon the present. Rather than writing a straight historical novel, the events of the past are shown to have ramifications to our modern world. Do you do this to keep a point of relation for readers not necessarily versed in the period of your work?


January, 2009

A fan from Ontario asks: When you’ve stopped work on one book to write something else, like you’ve done with the sequel to Every Secret Thing, how do you keep the characters and plotlines active in your mind so you can finish the book later?


November, 2008

Darlene from Ontario asks: When you write your books, do you have an audience in mind or does the story just pop up?


October, 2008

Chadwick Ginther of McNally Robinson Bookstore in Winnipeg asks: Even before you wrote Every Secret Thing, many of your historical novels also featured a mystery element. What made you decide to fully enter the genre pond?


September, 2008

In an interview last May at the Whitby Public Library, broadcaster Ted Barris asked me whether we had seen the end of Emma Cole...


August, 2008

Marijana from Australia writes: To date I have not managed to spot a copy of your Emma Cole book in Australian book stores despite it being available for sale for some time via Amazon.


July, 2008

Recently I was the guest in a forum discussion in “Gail’s Kitchen”,at Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s web site. She asked me: I wonder if you could talk a little about your approach to planning out plot. How much is planned? How much is surprise for you?


June, 2008

Leslie from Ontario writes: I am a big fan of your writing, you are my favourite author. I once told my husband, if a fire was to happen in our house, here are my Susanna Kearsley books on my top shelf; make sure to run quickly and grab these books! I find that your books totally draw me into the story where I don't want to put the book down, I want to savour each line and I don't want the story to end. I was wondering if you had a favourite author(s) that you feel the same way about?


May, 2008

Gwenda from Toronto writes: Dear Ms. Cole, I loved the first 98 pages of your book.  Alas, the 5 copies at my local Bookshop were all defective, and published with pages missing, and/or out of sequence. I am wondering if it was a Canadian printing error and if there has been a correction made and re-printing. My local bookshop refunded my money, but I am left still GASPING for the rest of the story!!! Perhaps you can forward this to the publisher for a reply?


March, 2008

My sister and I would like to know if you ever think of writing a novel based on the Wrens of our forces during the war. They were referred to as Jennys and our Mother was one. Some of her stories were fascinating and very interesting. One of the highlights of her life before she died was attending the Wren reunion out west. Some of the duties the Wrens performed were amazing but the average person hears very little about their efforts in the war. Just an idea!


February, 2008

I wonder if you could talk more about what makes a thriller a thriller and so on. How are these different genres different or the same?


January, 2008

What made you choose to write a series?


December, 2007

When will the next Kate Murray book be published, and will Matt be in it?


October, 2007

How do you balance the importance of the romance vs. the suspense in your novels? Is it something you consciously manage as you write, or is it more a function of the particular plot and characters in each specific work?


September, 2007

Why did you make Kate Murray a journalist?       


August, 2007

Why do you make references to or include some of the characters in Mariana in some of your books but not all of them?  And why do you choose Mariana in particular?


July, 2007

Before now your main characters have always been British.  Why is that, and what made you switch to Canadian heroines?      


June, 2007

Why isn’t Every Secret Thing available in the U.S.?


May, 2007

How long does it take you to write a book?       


April, 2007

What advice do you have for people who want to try writing or want to get a book published?


When did you begin writing and how did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I started reading at the age of two, and fell in love with stories, but I can’t remember when I first began to write on my own.  I do remember being seven, sitting at the kitchen table writing Chapter One of something, while my mother did the dishes.  That was the year that I read Little Women, and connected instantly with Jo.  I thought it would be wonderful to be a writer, just like her.  After that, I was always writing something - stories, poetry, song lyrics - but I never thought that it was something I could make my living doing.  Writers were people who lived in New York and wore black and were angst-ridden, and I was none of those things.  So I went into museum work instead, which I absolutely loved.  But then I finished my first novel and that feeling was like nothing else.  I realized then that writing was the thing that I was meant to do, the thing that made me happiest.


How did you go about getting your first book published?

When I finished my first book, a short mystery-romance called Undertow, I was very naive about publishing.  I sent the book out and it came back, rejected, and I threw it into a drawer for a year.  But then I read Phyllis A. Whitney’s wonderful Guide to Fiction Writing, which reminded me that ‘luck can’t happen to manuscripts left in drawers’, so I took her advice and learned all that I could about the business of publishing - studying the markets and the editors, to find the companies that might be interested in publishing my style of writing.  Four years and a lot of stamps later, the book finally sold to a small New York firm.  I’ve always found it funny that, after all those years of wanting to be just like Jo in Little Women, my first book sold for the same advance that Jo was paid for her first book....over a hundred years earlier.


What is your writing schedule like?

It changes.  In the beginning, because I had another job - first as a museum curator, then when that became too difficult to juggle with my writing time, a waitress - I wrote at night.  That was the only time available to me, and besides, I liked the peace and quiet, and my subconscious seemed somehow more active at night.  Then, when I had children, my writing time became their nap time - early afternoon, because by nighttime I was too exhausted to do much real writing.  Now that they’re a little older, I’m more fluid in my schedule - sometimes morning, sometimes afternoon, and even sometimes back to those late nights I used to love the best.  When I get near the end of a book though, I write at all hours, whenever I can, because the story by that point is coming much faster and I’m so wrapped up in it then I don’t like coming out of it.


How do you go about your research?

As a former museum curator, getting the facts right is very important to me.  I always travel to my settings, because I need to have that sensory detail - how a street’s sound changes with the night, what trees are growing by the road, and how the air smells when I breathe it.  And I come home with hundreds of photographs, to help me hold those memories.  But the research doesn’t stop with setting.  For Every Secret Thing, because the mystery had its roots in World War II, I had to learn from those who’d worked in the intelligence community in those years, and the stories that they told me shaped the actions of my characters.  The research and the writing form a symbiotic process - what I research drives my writing, and what I write determines what I need to research.  It’s a process that begins when a story first starts to take shape, and continues right through to the end.


So how do your stories start to take shape?  Where do you get your ideas?

There’s no simple answer to that - every story is different.  Every Secret Thing had its beginnings in a dinner party conversation, when I heard the tale of someone who had witnessed some illegal goings-on while serving overseas in World War II.  Unable to get anyone to act on the matter, the man had at last made arrangements to meet with a journalist.  ‘But he died,’ so I was told, ‘before the meeting could take place.’  I might have afterwards forgotten all the details of the story, but the ending had lodged firmly in my own imagination, and the character of Andrew Deacon started to take form.