Sunday, August 2, 2015

Interview with Emily Organ

Perfect at Midnight is pleased to present our first interview with author Emily Organ. We loved her classic English mystery THE OUTSIDER so much, that we asked to learn more about her and her writing style. Fortunately, she agreed to sit down with us and tell all.  In reading her responses, it makes us all the more interested to read what she does!  
Favorite color: red
Favorite food: anything hot and spicy
Favorite author: can I only pick one?! Emily Brontë
Favorite children’s novel: The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
Favorite place to write: in bed
Country you’d most like to visit: Sri Lanka
Cats or Dogs: both
Coffee or Tea: coffee
Your favorite quotation: ‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken’ – Oscar Wilde

1.  Why do you write?
I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember and have always dreamt I could write for a living. I’m not sure why I feel the need to write, it feels like an itch I have to scratch. Perhaps it’s because I’m an introvert and have always expressed myself better through writing than talking.
2.  Why mysteries? What’s a nice girl like you doing in crime?
I’m fascinated by the thin line which exists between life running smoothly and life going horribly wrong. Many of us have a fairly sanitized day to day existence which is probably why we enjoy stories about the darker side of life. I’m always interested in a story where an ordinary person is catapulted into a horrible situation because I believe it can happen to any of us.
3.  Who or what inspired you to become an author?
The authors I read when I was a child such as Roald Dahl, CS Lewis and Enid Blyton. I used to try and write stories like theirs and when people told me they enjoyed my writing that gave me the confidence to keep going.
4.  I read in your bio that you have pets. Could you tell us a little about the four-legged, furry members of your family?
Until recently we had two cats and a dog, but sadly we’re now down to one cat and one dog after our thirteen year old cat Stanley died from a tumour a month ago. So we have his sister, Chloe, a long haired black cat who’s nervy but very loving at the same time. She survived being hit by a car a few years ago and still has her jaw wired together! Our dog is a youngster: a border collie who will be two this autumn. He has bundles of energy and is full of love and excitement for everyone he meets, he can be a bit much for some people but he has a lovely temperament. He was born in a rescue shelter where we fell in love with him immediately. He gets me out of the house every day and stops me from being a total recluse!
5. Back to business, what do you think is the single biggest thing you’ve learned about writing?
That what I think might be a brilliant idea for a character or plot development isn’t necessarily what readers like. I’ve learnt that it’s important to test your ideas out with potential readers, learn what their expectations are from a book and what qualities and flaws they like to see in a character.
6. What qualities do you think are imperative for a writer to possess?
A thick skin! Because not everyone is going to like what you write. It’s also a solitary job which some people might find lonely so you have to be happy in your own company and be self-motivated enough to sit down on your own and reach your target word count each day. You also have to overcome the self-doubt which attacks regularly, so determination is important. When the writing feels like it’s going badly, you need to find the strength to get through it and have confidence in what you’re doing. Oh, and you need to be able to create a good story! Perfect grammar isn’t essential because editors can sort that for you.
7.  Do you think it’s important for authors to read? If so, what’s your reading list look like these days?
Really important, I like to know what the bestselling books are and why readers like them. Every writer has their own style but there are definitely popular trends in writing styles that you need to keep an eye out for. By reading lots I learn how other writers handle dialogue, narration, description and character and story development. I have a long reading list, many of the books I’ve recently read are psychological thrillers so at the moment I’m reading The Good Girl by Mary Kubica, so far the story has three narrators and I think she’s really successfully got inside the head of each one and given them unique narration styles. I’ve also recently read Daughter by Jane Shemilt and The Lie by C L Taylor. I also read and learn from the traditional English mysteries such as the Cadfael series by Ellis Peters and I love anything by Agatha Christie. I usually read a book a week.
8.  Time to confess your secret writing rituals. Let’s hear the details!
Lots of coffee, bagels, some chilled out Spotify playlists and hopefully no interruptions! I juggle my writing around my three children so most of the time I’m writing while they’re at school. Each day I walk the dog before I write and that’s really good for clearing my head and also tiring him out so he’s not hassling me to play while I’m writing.
9.  Why do you think so many English authors are successful at writing mysteries?  
Traditionally I think Britain has offered some good mysterious settings: readers love the Victorian gaslight atmosphere of Sherlock Holmes and the quaint English village lifestyle often depicted by Agatha Christie. Not only have so many of us read these books, but we’ve grown up seeing them televised too and they become a strong influence. I think there are good modern mysteries being written by writers the world over now.
10.   Are you a plotter? One that writes everything out before beginning to write? Or a flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type author?
I start out with a vague outline plot but I feel uncomfortable putting too much detail into it as the story usually develops while I’m writing. Plot often comes from the characters so once I get my characters established in a story I find they give me new plot ideas. I guess this means I fly by the seat of my pants!
11.   What would you like readers to take away from reading an Emily Organ book?
I would like readers to be entertained, and to enjoy the escapism of reading one of my books. I like to write at a reasonably fast pace and hope that readers get hooked on turning the pages. I have been told by a few readers that they’ve read one of my books in one entire sitting! I like the fact my book has been able to distract them from all the other stuff they were meant to get done that day. Hopefully the readers are left thinking about the characters afterwards too.
12.   What on earth are you working on? What’s your next planned work?
I’m a third of the way through a psychological thriller which is set in London in a historical time period. This is a new challenge for me because it has meant a lot of research. I love the idea of an old cramped, dark city providing a backdrop for some sinister goings on, it’s a chance to write something evocative and hopefully compelling at the same time. It will be published next year.

* * *

I write mysteries and suspense. My second novel, The Outsider, was published in March 2015. My first novel, The Last Day, was highly commended in a competition jointly run with Bloomsbury Publishing's Writers & Artists site and Mumsnet in 2012.
I'm a freelance writer and have written for and edited a range of lifestyle and parenting sites. I live in Berkshire with my husband, three children, two ancient cats and a hyperactive border collie. I'm working on my third book which is a thriller, you can keep up to date with my news by joining me at and find me on Twitter where I waste valuable writing time @emilysorgan.
She never knew Lisa. But she is haunted by her death.
Yasmin Clark meets wealthy widower Daniel Ward and moves into his home in a small village, but it’s not long since his wife died and emotions are still raw.
Richard Cohen thinks Lisa’s death is suspicious and has started his own investigation. He wants Yasmin to help but can she trust him?
With hostility from Daniel’s friends, events take a threatening turn for Yasmin and her friendship with Richard is ill-fated.
She finds herself pursuing a challenge which has evaded a police investigation. Is the personal cost too great?

LOVED This Book So Much! inquest. The tragic death of a young woman who fell off a balcony during a New Year’s Eve party. A coroner concluding it was an accident due to too much alcohol. A quirky individual who won’t let it rest because, as he puts it, “Someone must have seen something.”
This is the premise of the fantastically entertaining THE OUTSIDER. It’s a classic English mystery that paints a quiet, complex picture of what happens when evil invades the perfect home, the perfect couple, and the perfect life. But was it that? It’s what Richard Cohen means to find out. He’s the quirky individual mentioned earlier, and for him, the case is personal. The gardener knew Lisa Ward, was in love with Lisa Ward— but was he also obsessed? It’s what Lisa’s husband Daniel thinks, and it’s the reason he’s so dismissive of Richard’s very unwelcomed and very intrusive inquiry into his wife’s untimely death. While Daniel and his friends all want to put the heartbreak behind them, Richard’s sleuthing only stirs things up.
There are so many things to love about this book. There’s the strength of the plot, the intelligence of developing memorable characters, and the construction of phrases, but in literature it all comes down to the story. Emily Organ gets that and excels in writing a brilliant one. If you’ve ever watched a flower open using time-lapsed photography, you’ll get an idea of what to expect. The cast reveals themselves slowly, without you realizing the unveiling. Before you know it, they’re fleshed out, and we’re connected so strongly in a very human way. But what’s that shadow to the side? The one stretching across the lawn and just out of reach? It’s the solution—the one we’re committed to finding out. If only that camera pulled back a little further so we could see the secrets … the lies. And so we wait to find out, enjoying being kept in suspense and taking measured steps.
I love all the characters Ms. Organ has created. Daniel Ward is the perfect dichotomy of a self-made millionaire who for all his accomplishments yearns to connect to something real. Then there’s Yasmin Clark, a young college graduate. She’s intent on becoming a journalist, but stuck working as an assistant to a fairly impossible woman who sucks the ambition out of her and leaves her dry. The attraction works. After all, Daniel is the epitome of what she wants to be, and Yasmin? Yasmin is genuine. Tangible. Not someone who’s impressed by what Daniel can buy. She’s only interested in what he is, but that’s the crux of the problem. Is he the man he portrays? The one devastated and left heartbroken and alone by his wife’s demise? Or is he a methodical killer? One that carefully plotted out and executed a cunning murder?
I can’t recommend this book highly enough and am thrilled I ran across it. I’d downloaded a ton of stories and had skimmed the opening chapters of quite a few before clicking on THE OUTSIDER. I’d forgotten what the description said, and had never heard of Emily Organ before, but I thought, why not? I’m so glad I took the chance because I discovered a new favorite author. I have to add tht I was thoroughly dumbfounded by the lack of reviews for Ms. Organ’s work. I looked her up on Amazon when I was just about finished. I figured she had to be a New York Times bestselling author, but nope. I found her author page devoid of even one review. It just goes to show you that there are great undiscovered authors out there, and it’s our job as readers and lovers of books, to find them!
It’s my absolute pleasure to give this work five stars. Ms. Emily Organ, I shall be reading you again so get busy! I’m expecting great things from you and the chance to say, “I told you so!” to those not willing to listen. 
In closing: Buy the book! Now!  

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading this Emily, great to get an insight into your writing world. I'm looking forward to hearing more about book #3 as it develops :-)