The Bee Talks With… EM Kaplan

EM Kaplan
photo credit: EM Kaplan

Today I am very glad to introduce EM Kaplan to you, the author of the mystery series “Josie Tucker”. Emily was so kind to offer a guest post which will be posted next week Friday about writing Josie Tucker and “real-life” but of course I wanted to know a little more about her and her way of writing.

 
Therefore, with no further ado: The Bee Talks With… EM Kaplan:

How would you describe yourself in one paragraph?! !

Most people are a mixture of something or other, but I’m a mixture of extremes. I was born in Bangkok, but raised in southern Arizona. I went to college in Boston, but have lived in California, Texas, and now I’m near Chicago. I’m half-Chinese, but my family came to America in the 1880s, so our roots are Confucian, pre-Cultural revolution, pre-communism. On the other side of the family, we’re Jews who left Russia during the pogroms. Half of that family settled in Sydney and the other half came to Boston. What am I? Sometimes I hardly know. Half the fun is figuring it out.! !

How did you start writing in the first place?! !

My older sister was an primary school genius. I was slower to catch on to the whole learning process, so I didn’t really start reading for fun until the fifth grade. Then, I was insatiable. I went from fairy tales to Agatha Christie to Edgar Rice Burroughs to Daphne Du Maurier to . . . basically anything I could get my hands on. And when I couldn’t find the stories I wanted to read, I started making up my own.! !

Which authors influenced you and why?! !

In college, I loved William Styron and Chekov. Virgina Woolf made me cry. I read Shakespeare plays as quickly as it took to perform them. I could live in the novel Pride and Prejudice if they had modern medical care and air conditioning. I love Helen Fielding, Jill Shalvis, Jennifer Crusie, Robin Hobb, and the Harry Potter world. Each of these books has magic. That’s what I love. That’s what I want to create also.! !

Josie Tucker Series
photo credit: EM Kaplan



Your writing ritual (if you have one)?! !

I need a glass of water—I have to keep my mouth occupied and I’d rather not chew on a pen or mindlessly eat. I don’t need silence or big blocks of time, though. I have kids and a full-time job, so I squish writing time in whenever I can. It fills the cracks between the bricks of my reality, like mortar. ! !

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if, what do you do against it?! !

I probably have. I don’t really acknowledge it. I call it “being stuck.” My husband is also a novelist, so when I see him writing, it makes me want to write, too. When I’m stuck, I try to let myself daydream more than usual. I read over things I’ve written before. And if worse comes to worse, I just sit down, write crap, and worry about fixing it later.! !

Your advice for apprentice writers?! !

Read and write. Often. It’s OK to emulate people or styles that you like. Experiment. Find people who write well and listen to their criticism, even if it hits you in the gut. Later, you might find out they were full of baloney, but then it’s just a lesson learned. Don’t be afraid to try.

Thanks so much Emily for your time and your enlightening answers. It was a pleasure to have you in my little bee hive and I am looking forward to your guest post next week!

Want to know more about EM Kaplan and her books? Look here:

EM’s Author Page
EM on Twitter
EM on Facebook
EM on Amazon
EM on Barnes & Nobles

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