Interview with Emily Shore
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and to honor this, author and speaker, Emily Shore was gracious enough to interview with The Writing Chickadee.
Emily Shore is a Minnesota author represented by Carlisle Webber of Fuse Literary for a variety of works, including fiction that brings awareness for anti-trafficking. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Metro State University and is the grand prize winner of #PitchtoPublication, which ultimately led her to her agent.
Ten years ago, the seed was planted for Emily to learn more about the anti-trafficking movement during a visit to Germany. Her time volunteering at seminars, forums, and fundraising opportunities has garnered interest and support in her work from political leaders, anti-trafficking advocates, social workers, educators, musicians, youth leaders, and other authors. She loves connecting with rescue organizations and survivors of sex-trafficking, hearing their stories, and injecting their truths into her youth-targeted books. Her goal is to raise awareness of the brutal sex-trafficking industry, but as a mother of two daughters, she is passionate about her work as a preventative guide for parents and youth.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I believe it was when I learned how to read and write. Ever since I was little, I began writing long stories. I couldn’t confine all the thoughts in my head to short stories, though I did fill a number of journals throughout my childhood. I knew I wanted to go into the field of writing when I realized acting wasn’t going to happen in high school.
What are you working on now?
My goal this year is to write at least 200k, which is no easy feat with two little children. I am working on the third novella in my anti-trafficking Ruby in the Rough Trilogy, the next one in that saga which will feature a new main character, one rewrite of an old paranormal book, one revision, and hope to begin a new book (I am taking votes on which one via my author page).
You are signed with Fuse Literary agency. What is it like getting a book ready with your agent?
There is a learning curve, but it’s very rewarding. My agent is probably one of the best out there to work with. Book deals can take years to get, so patience is necessary and understanding that rejection will happen. I love that my agent always answers my e-mails within 24 hours and that I can call her at any time and talk about my books. She works as a professional editor, so in addition to offering thorough critiques on characterization, voice, world-building, plot, etc, she also can polish the book in full, ridding it of excess verboseness, which seems to my main issue when writing.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I have a love/hate relationship with research. Research is very time-consuming, especially if it’s anything technology or science-related. My favorite form of research is getting to speak to people who know more about an issue than I do. For example, when I wrote my contemporary anti-trafficking book, my favorite experience was speaking to the director of a horse therapy ranch for four hours and picking her brain about everything from horse therapy to daily life at the ranch to the backgrounds of the ones they are helping.
You write a lot about human trafficking to raise awareness. What are some struggles that you’ve experienced in writing about human trafficking for younger readers?
Younger readers are quite open to tough topics these days, so pitching this type of book to younger readers has been quite fulfilling. Writing has evolved over the years, and topics involving abuse are more in demand. It was more of a difficulty due to my own personal landscape and inner psychological struggles with wanting to bring a truthful perspective and respect survivors of sexual exploitation. Fortunately, I’ve had over ten years of buildup in learning, volunteering, and training as an advocate to prepare myself. I don’t know if an issue like this ever stops affecting one, but it does get easier with time.
What author(s) has most influenced you?
This is such a cruel question as there are so many to choose from. Growing up, I was exposed to many of the literary greats from Charles Dickens to Jane Austen to J.R.R. Tolkien and went through different obsessive stages. In college, I fell prey to the Twilight universe. I would be remiss if I didn’t give due credit to Meyer – The Host is still one of my all-time favorite books –, for I may have remained in my one-type fantasy genre, but after broadening my horizons into paranormal, that world led me to science fiction, dystopian, fairy tale, magical realism, Greek mythology, and more.
However, the author I never tire of reading and the one who inspired me to write in a genre I never before considered (contemporary) is Lauren Nicolle Taylor – a little known, underappreciated hybrid author. Her Nora and Kettle work is probably my favorite, but I adore every book she’s written and have a fondness for her characters, who seem like dear friends to me. Each one is colorful and vivid, and Lauren has a natural gift as a wordsmith, so your mind has no choice but to remember the imagery she crafts.
What does literary success look like to you?
Writing without fail whether your words are ever published or not. Writing until you draw your very last breath regardless of a book deal.
You are a speaker for Women at Risk. Can you share a little bit about what the organization is and your passion for bringing awareness about human trafficking?
I chose to train as a representative for Women At Risk, Int for two reasons...
One: I heard their Founder, Rebecca McDonald speak around four years ago, and though I was pretty active in the anti-trafficking movement, it was she who truly set my heart on fire and gave me a passion as both an activist and a parent. Up till then, I’d planned on trying to raise my child in blissful ignorant innocence as I was, but I no longer take that view and instead am raising my daughter to be strong and aware and smart thanks to Becky.
Two: Women At Risk, Int is also the only trafficking rescue organization that provides all of the potential 18 needs a woman coming out of trafficking may need. They provide safe shelter, medical care, counseling, job training, a job, healthcare, childcare, ongoing restoration, and much more. And though they have safe houses in over 150 countries, they have nowhere near as high a profile as other major anti-trafficking organization. Plus, the fact that their Founder, who speaks to Homeland Security, Quantico, DOJ, churches, schools, hospitals, and governments all over the world, is a woman is very inspiring.
And finally, if you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
Be prepared for it to take a really long time. And save money for indie book promotion!