I had the chance to interview mega-talented author of the Haunting Emma series, Lee Nichols, a little while ago and I’m thrilled to finally share her questions with you! Please make her feel welcome on the blog!
Q: ‘Deception‘ is your first published work for Young Adult readers. Were there any cliches you tried to avoid when diving into the genre?
When you’re writing in a genre, it’s sort of impossible to completely avoid cliches, so I try to gently twist them instead. For example, Emma expects her beautiful rich friend Sara to be snotty and mean, but she’s really nice and helpful.
And Natalie who starts off very self-possessed in the first book, ends up having unexpected depth, vulnerability and loyalty. Mostly it’s trying to turn stereotypes into fully-fledged characters that readers want to care about. Emma, herself, is incredibly powerful, but she’s funny and insecure too.
Q: Why were ghosts the ‘it’ paranormal beings for you?
It came from wanting to write a contemporary Gothic novel, which to me meant ghosts and old historic houses.
Q: The ‘Haunting Emma‘ series has a huge amount of Ghostkeeper lore woven throughout the story. How did you come up with all these details and keep them organized throughout the writing process?
A lot of thinking and plotting from the beginning. My editor was key too, making sure the world of ghostkeeping all made sense, and was somehow conceivable.
Q: How did the final drafts differ from what you original planned for Emma’s story? Were there any characters, twists or plotlines that didn’t make it into the final versions of the books? Did anything ‘write itself’ and take you by surprise?
I’m definitely a huge outliner and don’t write until I know exactly where I’m going. I’m never surprised by plot points, but instead by themes that arise as I’m writing. I didn’t plan for trust to be such a major issue for Emma, but that’s one of the major points of ‘Deception’. Although, I don’t think I planned on killing off a character that dies in the end–I won’t say who, for those who haven’t read it–and I definitely surprised my editor.
Q: In ‘Deception‘, we learn there are many different gifts that Ghostkeepers can specialize in. If you were a part of Emma’s world, what gift would you possess and how would you go about using it?
I would love to be able to read objects. Emma and her father can hold objects in their hands and relive the memories of people who owned them in the past. I love antiques and would really enjoy that.
Q: I’m sure you’ve had an insane amount of feedback from readers (Goodreads has ‘Deception‘ pegged at an average rating of 4.08 on last check!). Which character have you found holds a special place with your audience, and why do you think that is?
I think a lot of girls identify with Emma, because she’s funny and snarky and just trying to deal with these insane powers she suddenly realizes she has.
Q: Are there any plans to go beyond three books in the series? What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I planned on three books from the start, so Emma’s journey is over in the third. I’m working on new projects at the moment, but nothing I can announce yet!