The Boating Party is a series of interviews with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, designers and the like.
In times of economic hardship the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are the most important aspect of our civilisation. Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy. Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society.
To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.
And perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where’s the creativity that will solve the world’s problems? Including economic and scientific ones?
I hope a brief glimpse into their lives is as inspiring to you as it is to me.
This next installment is by a writer who serves as an inspiration to anyone trying to get published. Wise words from – Emma Silver
What’s your greatest personal or career achievement?
Definitely getting Blackbrooke published. I wrote another book before it that was women’s fiction rather than teen horror and it was rejected again and again by agents and publishers. I always knew it wouldn’t get accepted because it wasn’t good enough and I was constantly tinkering with it. In the end, I got fed up and needed a break and that’s when I wrote Blackbrooke. It only took me four weeks (editing was longer I hasten to add!) and I just knew there was something special about it. It was snapped up by Crooked Cat Publishing straight away.
What’s been your greatest sacrifice?
I wanted to be a writer so I gave up a life that had taken me years to build. I had a decent job with a good salary and prospects, my own city centre place, a dream car etc. But I was miserable. I left my job and sold all of my worldly possessions so that I could live the simple life back in my childhood home for a while. I’d love to say it’s been difficult, but I honestly haven’t looked back.
To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?
My English teacher in high school, Mrs Hynes. She was amazing and really cared about getting the best out of her pupils. However, she didn’t suffer fools gladly and if they couldn’t be bothered, she didn’t waste her energy, instead focusing on the people who wanted to be there. She pushed me to constantly strive for better. Whenever I’m feeling low or having a crisis of confidence, I remember her belief in me and all is well in the world again. I think people underestimate the power of belief for young people, who remember and hold onto it for a long time.
Who and what inspire you?
My parents. They never settled for the ‘norm’ EVER! My mum in particular worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known and did everything she could to give me the best start in life. She’s now living the American dream and having a ball and I couldn’t be happier for her. She certainly inspired me to make a lot of major changes in my life.
I’m also hugely driven by music when I write. I don’t have a preferred genre and always say I’m a fan of songs, rather than bands/artists. However, there are some classic bands that remain on the playlist such as Pink Floyd, The Who and Black Sabbath. It’s all pretty dark and moody for Blackbrooke, although some Stevie Nicks has managed to creep in as well as some 1980s pop classics. Eclectic to say the least!
What was the last thing that inspired you?
It’s probably quite silly, but I’ve not been away for a while, just living in my little bubble in Manchester, and I recently took a work trip to London. The weather was glorious and the capital looked stunning. It was just after the Olympics and the place had a great feel. It inspired me to get my arse into gear and keep working on my second book so I can keep riding the wave of my dream.
What makes you unhappy?
Money. Simple as that. I’m the most relaxed I’ve ever been in my life at the moment and it’s because I finally have some savings from selling my entire life coupled with the fact I’m no longer chasing money. It makes me sad that I was unhappy for such a large part of my twenties – during the years when I should have been partying and living the life. Instead, I was living hand to mouth because I was trying to keep up with a certain lifestyle I couldn’t actually afford. I didn’t see it at the time but now that I do, it feel a little bit sad.
What makes you happy?
There’s a recurring theme featured in Blackbrooke, which is freedom. Whenever I say that word, it sounds more dramatic than I intend. Freedom for me is having some kind of choice, however small. We have more freedom than we think but I still listen to people on a daily basis start sentences with ‘I’d love to do that BUT…’ or ‘I always wanted to be XYZ BUT…’. It frustrates me. I understand there are constraints in life but most of time, we can be whoever we want to be, but choose not to. People should be man enough to say ‘won’t’ instead of ‘can’t’. After all, it’s only themselves they’re lying to. God, an answer about what makes me happy has made me angry!
What are you reading?
How Black is Your Sabbath – a Black Sabbath biography from ex-members of their road crew. I needed a break from fiction and I love a good rock biog. Motley’s Crue’s The Dirt was the last one I read and it blew me away. They were deliciously naughty boys!
Who, or what, are you listening to?
As I said earlier, it’s a mix. I’ve started listening to classical music for the first time in my life with Ludovico Einaudi’s Islands album getting played to death. I’m sure listening to it would be a great conversation starter at a dinner party to make me appear more intelligent than I am. Just one problem – I can’t pronounce his name so I’ll continue to keep quiet about that one…
What’s your favourite film?
Wow. I’m a huge movie buff which I think shows in the Blackbrooke Trilogy because there are a lot of references to movies in there. I have so many movies that I love that’s it almost impossible to choose one but I’m a massive fan of Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s very different from the novel (which I also love) but it’s fantastic. Almost Famous is another favourite. I can’t explain why but I feel as though my life changed after watching it.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
Are you kidding? It would be to the 1970s so I could see all of the bands that I absolutely love when they were just starting out and playing little venues. I’d have said the 1960s because of Hendrix but I’d hate to get trampled by Beatlemania…
What frightens you?
Failing. In every respect. My book failing, my health failing, my relationships failing, it’s endless. I’m my own worst critic and every failure rests squarely on my shoulders – no one else’s. It’s a miserable way to live as some form of failure is inevitable and I just don’t ever want to become completely derailed by it one day.
What can’t you live without?
Sadly, it’s my laptop. My whole world is on there. My books, my photographs and access to all of those lovely social media sites I use to promote my book. I even watch shows and films through it rather than switch on the television. I’m glued to the thing. I wouldn’t say I’m technology obsessed but I’m now thinking of branching out to the wonderful world of iPad. It’s like having my laptop in my handbag, all of the time! Seriously, I need to get a life…
What’s your motto?
It’s a stolen quote – Every passing minute is another chance to change everything around. So true.
If you only had one year to live what would you do?
See the world, without a doubt. I’ve never been outside of Europe and there are so many dream locations that I have to visit. New York would be my first stop and then on to see my mum in South Carolina for a bit. I’d love to get a classic car and tour the States. Having a Jack Daniels in the Whiskey-A-Go-Go would be a must!
Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?
I fear the person whose arse I’d shove a rocket up might actually be reading this. I’d love to say they know who they are but they’re fabulously oblivious. With that in mind I’d just like to say to that person – you’re the human equivalent of plankton.
Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?
Derren Brown. Aside from the crush I have on him (which is a waste of energy given he’s gay) I’d pick his brain about the whole ‘mind control’ thing and see if there was anything he could teach me. Seeing as he’s homosexual I’d be confident he wouldn’t hypnotise me to have his wicked way but I fear he’d put me in a trance just to get me to shut up…
What are you working on at the moment?
Part II of the Blackbrooke Trilogy which has been a real labour of love. It’s been so much harder to write compared with the first book and the pressure to try and make it better has got to me on occasions. Blackbrooke has been fantastically received by teenagers and adults from all over the world and I don’t want to let them down with the second one.
Which six people would you invite to your boating party?
Derren Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Nikki Sixx, Dave Grohl, Sharon Osbourne and Bill Bailey. It’s only Jimi who’s passed on so perhaps Derren could host a séance?
What question would you liked me to have asked?
Can I order 1,000 copies of your critically acclaimed debut teen horror novel Blackbrooke?
Thank you, Emma. I’m afraid I can’t order a thousand copies, but being on The Boating Party might help a little.
Emma was born and raised in Manchester.
Blackbrooke is her debut young adult horror novel after spending many years honing her skills drafting short stories and devouring horror through the ages from R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps collection through to Stephen King.
Emma is also the author of a semi-biographical account of her dad’s years in a rock band in the 1970s, Driving Exile.
Outside of her day job in public relations, Emma has worked for a Manchester entertainment magazine, reviewing theatre shows gigs and movies.
She gets most of her ideas and is inspired by music and also the fighting spirit of young people who aren’t afraid to challenge the norm and stand up for what they believe in. This fleeting ‘moment’ in life is what she tries to capture in her writing.
You can read Emma’s blog here: Emma Silver Author