By day, Emma Chase is a devoted wife and mother of two who resides in a small, rural town in New Jersey. By night she is a keyboard crusader, toiling away the hours to bring her colorful characters and their endless antics to life. She has a long standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.
Emma is an avid reader. Before her children were born she was known to consume whole books in a single day. Writing has also always been a passion and with the 2013 release of her debut romantic comedy, Tangled, the ability to now call herself an author is nothing less than a dream come true.
Tell us one thing about yourself that you do not usually include in your regular author bio.
I bite my nails incessantly. It’s a terrible habit, that I’ve never been able to break.
Who and what did you grow up reading? Do you remember the first book that you fell in love with?
The first book I remember making an impression was Animal Farm by George Orwell. When I was in 4th grade, my older brother had a copy that he had to read for a school assignment. I was sick, home from school for the day, and I was bored so I picked it up and read it in one day. Of course, I didn’t understand the political implications, but I remember thinking it was such a sad, but good story about animals.
The first book I ever cried over was Summer of My German Soldier, in 7th grade. To this day, thoughts of that book tug at my heartstrings. That same year I read a book version of the play West Side Story. I found the ending shocking and devastating.
I also went through a big VC Andrews phase (starting with Flowers in the Attic).
When I was a little older I’d read whatever romance books my mother had around the house - Kathleen Woodwiss, Danielle Steel, and later Julie Garwood and Johanna Lindsey.
Who would you say has had the most influence over you becoming a writer?
Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed. At a very young age, I used short stories and poetry to express whatever feelings I was experiencing at the time.
As far as the biggest influences over me becoming an author – I’d have to say it was the wave of talented self-published and indie authors that have really transformed the publishing industry today. Reading about regular, every-day women who took a chance and put their work out there, inspired me to explore the possibility of publishing. Whereas before, publishing my work felt like wishful thinking, they made it seem attainable.
How long have you been writing? Do you write part-time or full-time?
I’ve been writing my entire life – always part time – whenever I could squeeze it in. I consider being a mother to be my full time job, but since Tangled’s publication I now schedule and plan daily writing time.
What is your normal writing style? Do you outline and plot or do you just start writing to see where the story takes you?
I have the outline in my head. The ending or climax of a story is usually the clearest part for me in the beginning. And then, I work backwards to see how the characters got to that point. But the story itself is all laid out.
That being said, when I actually sit down to write the scenes, it doesn’t always go like I’d originally planned. Certain actions or points end up not fitting with the characters or overall story, and adjustments are made. But typically, the plot ends up being pretty close to what I’d first envisioned.
Do you have any quirky writing habits?
Haha, yes. I have to be alone when I’m writing. If someone talks to me or interrupts me, I’ll lose the words – the feelings of the scene I’m writing. Also, I walk around and speak my dialogue out loud – another reason I like to be alone when I write – it feels less absurd to do this if I’m by myself.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Anywhere from three to six months, depending on what else is going on in life. I enjoy promotion and chatting with friends and fans on social media, but that does take up a lot of time.
What would you say is the hardest and the most enjoyable thing about writing?
The hardest thing is finding the time to get a story or a character out of my head and onto paper. My characters are always with me – new scenes and situations are always popping into my mind. And they’re situations or events that I really enjoy imagining. The challenge is actually getting it written before I lose or forget them.
The most enjoyable thing is completing a chapter. It’s one step closer to telling a character’s story. While finishing a whole book is great too – it’s also bittersweet, because you have to say goodbye to the story. But finishing a chapter is exciting and motivating.
Also – the absolute best feeling – is chatting with someone who’s read and liked my book. Knowing that a reader has enjoyed a story I put my heart into, that they care for the characters as much as I do, feels more wonderful than I could put into words.
What has been your most memorable experience since publishing your first book?
When my husband brought home the New York Times and I was #15 on the ebook & print list. It was a surreal but amazing moment for me.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Write more often. Make the time.
Give us a little hint and insight into what you are working on at the moment.
I’m simultaneously working on multiple Tangled related projects. Bonus scenes, alternate POV scenes, as well as the upcoming books in the Tangled series. It will be a multi-book series, but which story will be published next is still being worked out between myself, my publisher and my agent.
Now, let’s have some fun. What is your favorite pizza topping?
Pepperoni. It’s so bad for you…but so good.
Describe to me your most perfect Ice Cream Sundae.
Vanilla ice cream, brownie pieces, chocolate, caramel and marshmellow sauce, whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. I don’t have Sundaes often – when I do I go big.
As a reader, do you prefer ebooks or paper/hard backs?
Paper/Hardback – no contest. I enjoy the immediate gratification of ebooks, but I’ve never gone back and reread an ebook. I reread my favourite paperbacks all the time.
Where is your favorite place to read?
I like to read in bed or on the couch, preferably when it’s raining or snowing outside. I’m a real romantic when it comes to reading itself – a quiet house, a glass of wine or a hot cup of coffee, a roaring fire – really help me get into a story. Of course between my husband, the kids, the dogs and real life in general, the opportunity to have a “date night” with a good book is few and far between.
If you found yourself stranded on an island, what is the one book you would want with you? And why?
Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey, because no matter how many times I’ve read it, it makes me smile. In my opinion, the banter is witty, the love scenes are steamy and the characters are relatable and so entertaining.
I am a huge lover of book quotes, what is your all time favorite quote from a book? And what book is it from?
“And I pray one prayer – I repeat it till my tongue stiffens – Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul” - Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
For me, Drew Evans from Tangled has always had a little bit of Heathcliff hiding inside him.
And last but not least, I am an animal lover. Do you have any pets? And if so, what kind and what are their names?
Yes, my family and I are huge pet lovers. We have two dogs - Max and Jake, three turtles - Racer, Boo, and Rocky, two hermit crabs - Crabby and Ladybug, and two hamsters - Snowball and Scurry.