Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
Ever since I was old enough to remember, I have loved the written word. I asked for books from Santa for Christmas. There was nothing quite like getting a journal and pen as a gift either. I loved writing and reading. I wrote my first short story in fourth grade, and I loved it so much. The characters seem to come to life, and I wanted to continue creating stories. I didn’t really think I would become a writer until high school. I started writing stories again then, and I just knew that it was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I vowed to make it happen, and by the grace of God, I did.
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
A dream, actually. I had a dream where I had been kidnapped and kept in a tower. There was this guy who was working with the group of people who had kidnapped me, but he saved me. It was a silly dream, but the longer I dwelt on it, the more it became this story, eventually becoming The Marked.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
They are totally from my imagination. I think I come up with the characters before the story most times. That’s why I find them so lovable! Their personalities are fun to work with.
What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
I did a lot of research on wolves before writing Knight’s Academy. I enjoyed it, too, because I learned a lot about pack life from it. Wolves are fascinating creatures, and I loved learning about them. I especially loved using this research to apply to my characters!
How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
The process is fairly similar. An idea is conceived, and I end up dwelling on it until I can’t stop thinking about it. I start writing, because I don’t really outline unless the characters or plot needs some work. Then, I see what happens next. For me, there is no set way in writing. I just do what I do. It usually takes me six months to a year to fully write a story. I wish I were faster, but with proofreading other authors’ books, sometimes my own are pushed to the back for a bit.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
I’m currently editing book two of the Knight’s Academy series and writing book three. I am also working on a new Christian Dystopian series.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I write when I have the time. As a freelance proofreader, time is fairly limited, so I don’t write on a daily basis. I just write when I’m able.
How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
Actually, a friend recommended them to me for my other series since my former publisher closed down, but I didn’t go with Clean Reads for that series. I sent in The Marked, book one of my Knight’s Academy series instead. Honestly, I wasn’t even planning on publishing this book. I just wanted to see what would happen, but I’m so glad that I did! I had been sitting on this book for almost five years, and I was finally getting it published! I’m grateful that Clean Reads took the chance on me. It has done so well with them, and they care about their authors. It’s obvious. So the journey to publication took a while with this book, but it was so worth it. I know that I was supposed to publish it with Clean Reads. That’s why I think I never was accepted by anyone else and had waited publishing it as long as I did.
How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
They have been great about it! A lot of people can’t believe that I’ve actually published books, but they seem to enjoy them when they read them. My family has my back 100%. They encouraged me to go for my dreams, so they are super supportive. Even when times are hard for me, they’re always there, telling me to keep going.
About the Author
Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.
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About The Marked: Knight’s Academy Book 1
Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods. When she's offered a full scholarship to Knight's Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed. As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.
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A special thank you to Emerald Barnes for guesting at Pandora's Box Gazette today. Feel free to chat with Emerald and comment below.