Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today I’m chatting to Emme Klama about her books and writing. Welcome to the tearoom, Emme My first question is what would you like to drink?
Thank you for inviting me to tearoom. Please could I have Prosecco, thank you.
Now we have our refreshments, I shall start by asking you when you first began your writing journey, what drew you to your chosen genre?
I’ve always loved science! In college, I started out pre-med, so had a lot of biology, zoology and chemistry but I also had a fascination with physics and especially astronomy. I was always a good writer, and as a child I had an active imagination. Writing science fiction rolled into one all my interests – on a lark I signed up for a science fiction class at college. It was one of the best electives I took – I read a lot of the classics: Asimov, Heinlein. But you know, they were all guys? So as a woman I looked for stories from a woman’s perspective and found none. So I decided to start writing, and wrote my first short-story. I got an award for it from my teacher – he said it was one of the best stories he’d ever read! Sadly, the story was lost (this was before the time of computer storage) but I hope to re-write it one day soon.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
OMG I have a ton! There are so many ideas for books. I am really going to have a very full life once I retire!
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? When writing short stories do you plan them, or let the characters lead you?
Interestingly, my sci-fi trilogy started as a short-story! As I rewrote it, I kept adding plot, and developed the characters. Then, something just came over me and I got some major writer mojo and just kept going! I had enough material for a few books, at least! So, to answer your question, I start with an imagined plot line, and follow it and develop it from there.
What did you learn when writing your book or story? In writing it, how much research did you do?
I learned a lot! I actually am a multi-genre author – I’ve got one sci-fi story out, and a YA kid’s spy story I’m just about to self-publish. I usually do a ton of research – especially for the Scifi. Lots of biology, genetics – I had to answer the question: “How long does it take to travel to Mars?”
What are the fuel options? How can humans survive radiation exposure? All these are woven into my story line and plot. For the kid’s book, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the spy trade! Lots of gadgets, so I had to invent some to bring it down to a kid’s level. That was fun!
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
Ha! I’m sure lots…I’m a mom, I’ve got two grown sons. I own a architecture business with my husband, an architect. I’m actually a licensed interior designer who writes on the side. I was the first in my family to attend college, changing from pre-med to psychology at Rutgers, where I graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors. I went on to Columbia University in New York and earned two Master’s – one in education, and one in Counseling Psychology.
My now hubby and I sold everything, drove cross-country, and ended up settling in California. And even though I started out after graduate school as a teacher and counselor, I heard the siren song of Silicon Valley. As an undergrad, I had a year of computer programming, so worked as a database programmer, then morphed into tech writing, then marketing. I rode the first startup bubble in the late 90’s, early 00’s. I only stayed until my husband could launch his business, then I quit and joined him. It was one of the best moves I ever made! Our lives had so much less stress, and we could have a much more flexible schedule with our kids.
I got into interior design because my hubby needed someone to pick out tile, paint colors, that sort of thing for his projects. I found I had a real knack for colors, and spatial design. I worked for him for several years, took classes, then finally got my license only a few years ago – at the age of 60! So it’s kinda like my third act, one I’m still doing. It’s been taking up more of my time lately, due to the pandemic, so my writing will have to wait a while. But the hustle is worth it.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I try to squeeze it in when I can, but if I do I find I need to block out a few days worth at a time. I need to wrap my head around all the details, and submerse myself in that world – there are so many distractions right now!
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Since I value my privacy, and I write many genres, I adopt a pseudonym for each one. In essence, I’m creating a character who projects to the public. Em Vega was chosen for my sci-fi since Vega is the brightest star in the northern constellation of Lyra, close to my lead character’s name, Leda. For my kid’s stories, I’m Em Stella – stella means “star” in Italian.
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
Names are easy! I take inspiration from key words in different languages, then play around with them and invent new names. That goes back to my Silicon Valley days, when naming was an art – setting an identity in stone, but making it memorable.
My characters develop as the story unfolds, but I do spend a lot of time thinking, well, how would Leda for instance feel? I am a good read of people and their emotions – having a Masters in Psychology does help!
What was your hardest scene to write?
For my sci-fi story, the ending! It could have gone SO many ways! I had to pick THE one that would stay with my reader and pique their curiosity about the next installment. I do hope to have that out sometime next year. I have started to think about it, and am in the process of re-writing the first Lunar Seed story.
How long on average does it take you to write a book or story?
For Lunar Seed, it took 2 years, on and off of active writing. It was really a part-time job, at one point. That’s why I turned to YA fiction books, much shorter, with lots of illustrations. I suits my life right now, until we can make it through this pandemic time. I’m looking forward to 2021 with great big mountains of hope.
Thank you so much for talking to me. When you’re ready to leave I’ll let our driver know so he can run you home, Emme.
If you would like to know more about Emme’s writing and books click on the links below.
Sci-fi story, Lunar Seed on Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Lunar-Seed-Plastic-Mind-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B01976ZS8G
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/The_Em_Vega
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.