Wales Literature Exchange interviewed our Bookcase author Emma Glass, about her writing and her influences.
1. What first inspired you to be an author and where do your ideas come from?
I still don’t quite think of myself as an author, more like a girl who wrote a story and was thoroughly lucky to have it published. Peach started out as a stream of emotions, I wanted to put words to feelings, to form them into something tangible. And I’m still obsessed with this notion. But now that I have this opportunity, a recognisable voice, I want to use it to tell the stories of those who can’t speak for themselves.
2. How would you describe your writing?
Dark, poetic, visceral. I try to write stories that resonate with readers, stories that they can feel, that stay with them.
3. Which authors have influenced you the most?
I love writers like James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, who use language brightly and strangely to tell stories in an unusual way. I’m also inspired by contemporary writers like Megan Hunter and Samanta Schweblin who use lyrical language to cast spells over their readers.
4. In your opinion what are the biggest challenges that writers face today – and do you think these challenges have changed since you started writing?
The biggest challenge I face as a writer is finding a balance between my everyday life and my writing life. The two are essentially different as I work full time as a nurse and it can be difficult to find time to write and prioritise creativity when so much of modern life is tied up in succeeding in a career, maintaining relationships and friendships, paying bills, taking care of health and wellbeing. It is quite rare that young women writers earn a sole income from writing fiction and it can be challenging finding the right kind of work that will allow you the freedom or creative headspace to focus on writing. Another challenge is identifying measurable success. Successful writers are those that sell books, are nominated for prizes, have international recognition, but success can also mean finishing a manuscript, having an expression of interest from an agency or publisher, or even feeling a personal sense of achievement at writing 100 words a day. It can be difficult to recognise success when there is such a huge volume of published work, but I think key to identifying and celebrating success is knowing what is important to you as a writer.
5. What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?
For me, the hardest part is tuning out my internal critic; if I listened to that voice, I wouldn’t set a word down on the page. The easiest bit is letting the language flow - it may not be a plot or character development but it’s freeing and beautiful just letting the words pour out.
6. Which writer from Wales would you recommend to readers and why?
Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine and The Adulterants, his writing is sharp, authentic and funny. Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure, her writing is fluid and lyrical.
Peach by Emma Glass has been selected to the Wales Literature Exchange 2018 Bookcase, our annual selection of recent Welsh literary works which we recommend for translation. Read more here.