About Emilie Bilokur:
I’m a dog (and cat) lover, and I’ve been writing since childhood. I used to have unfinished stories on piles of paper, now I have unfinished stories in my computer, where I sometimes can’t find them. I’m not a daredevil pilot, or a world-class adventurer, or an exotic spy, but I daydream all the time.
My favorite audience is children. And I have a passion for coloring. Even before I went to art school, I bought and hid away coloring books. I colored in them in secret. There was something about all those colors that made me come alive in a way that nothing else did. I still have many of those coloring books, but now they are out of the closet thanks to their new and well-deserved popularity.
What inspires you to write?
One of the first articles I wrote came from a childhood experience. I loved to visit Yale’s Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT. While all the other kids were ooh-ing and aah-ing over the dinosaurs, I was sitting on a bench in another room, staring at a six-foot-long blue fish. It was a coelacanth, believed to have become extinct with the dinosaurs. There was something that so fascinated me about it that I couldn’t tear myself away. I would sit for what seemed like forever, staring at it. That blue fish was the star of the first article I wrote for Cricket magazine. That is how writing happens for me. What inspires me is that mysterious, magical something that happens inside me. I don’t look for stories, they seem to find me, if I stay quiet enough to hear them.
Tell us about your writing process.
If an idea keeps coming back and won’t leave me alone, I know I’ve got something. The idea bugs me until a story starts to take shape. I keep getting problems that won’t work out, then I get the ah-ha that gets me over each hurdle. At a certain point (it usually takes months) I get a feeling coming from the story, or from a character. That’s when I start to write it down. I become moved by the desire to touch the audience with the feelings in the story. That’s my main motivation for every word. If I don’t feel it, no one else will. In the early stages I jot down little things that can happen on scraps of paper, which I arrange in a folder. When it starts to excite me and feel like a real story, I start a new document in Word, as it’s easy to revise there, and I revise a lot. I do a fair amount of outlining beforehand, but surprises and twists always show up. After every major rewrite, I print it all out, as it looks different on paper than on the screen. Then I mark up the paper copy, and re-input the changes into Word.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I interview them, and listen to what they say. I ask them to tell me something about themselves that I don’t know, and something that nobody knows. I’m often surprised by the answers. They talk to me when I don’t expect it. I work on 2 or 3 projects at a time, and if I’m working on a different project, I am often quickly opening their story file to type what they say so I don’t forget it.
What advice would you give other writers?
Decide what would be a writing success for you. What do you daydream about when you imagine you sold what you wrote? Which of your projects would give you the most joy, make you jump up and down? Focus on that. That is what matters to you. You will write it in a way that no one else can. And always, always write from the heart.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had published articles in Highlights for Children, Ranger Rick and Cricket, most of them were resold (meaning I got paid a second time). Then I started to write fiction, middle grade and easy readers, and sent those to publishing houses. I got nice letters from various editors (I currently have an easy reader with one), but have been lured by the advantages of self-publishing, and am planning on putting more titles on Amazon. New authors should check out both, but I think there are better opportunities with self-publishing. If you go the self-publishing route, you will be tempted to do many things yourself, but always get an editor, it is well worth it. The editor will spot things in your manuscript that you have a blind spot about.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Self-publishing is becoming more respectable as more and more big name authors are choosing that path. The industry is in a major upheaval, with publishing houses wanting to keep paper sales alive. While books will never go away, what I have seen makes me believe they will not be the norm in the future. I think all the advantages of digital will make it the preferred reading format for the majority of readers.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: adult coloring book, middle grade, easy reader, humor
What formats are your books in?: Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.