Saturday, June 6, 2009

Interview with Emily Rapp


LH: Emily, how did you get interested in writing?

ER: I’ve been writing since I was very little. My first crack at writing was a “rewriting” of the Christmas story! =) But I think I really became interested in writing when I learned to read. I have always been a voracious reader. Before I decided to pursue writing as a profession, I was a theologian and a pastor. My very first “shorts” were sermons!

LH: What was your first success?

ER: I actually think my very first story, called “Double Deception,” written in the third grade, was my first feeling of success. The story felt complete to me; in other words, I rewrote it several times and finally felt like it was done. And I still like the opening line, “A shot rang out in Beverly Hills.” Fun stuff. I think my first “taste” of adult writing success was being accepted into an MFA program.

LH: What kind of things do you most enjoy writing?

ER: I’m working on a novel at the moment, so I’m very most focused on long-form fiction. I also love to write letters.

LH: Do you have an agent? Tell us about your experiences with/without agents.

ER: I do. My experience with agents has been nothing but positive. An agent is a writer’s advocate, because the business of publishing has very little to do with the work of writing.

LH: What are your thoughts about marketing? Do you have any great tips on how to do it well?

ER: I think every writer has to find venues in which to promote her work. That said, I’m not inclined to focus a lot of energy on that. Sure, it’s great to make money as a writer, but I’ve never expected to make a living at it. A great deal of my life is devoted to teaching, which is much more up my alley than devising marketing strategies. I try to be strategic, but I don’t make myself crazy trying to figure out how to sell myself.

LH: If you could go back in time and start over, tell us one thing you have learned that would help you to succeed better/faster/with less struggle.

ER: I would not worry about what other people are doing, and focus on my own work. A thoroughbred runs her own race. Envy is a waste of time.

LH: Any other thoughts to share?

ER: If you want to be a good writer, read as much as you can, and learn how to be a fair and thoughtful critic of another person’s work.