Donaghmore author Emma Heatherington is celebrating the re-release of her first novel with top publishers Harper Collins.
Speaking to the TIMES Emma said she was delighted when offered the book deal: “I was delighted when they came back and offered me a four book deal, the first of those four has just been released. It is a re-release of my first novel Crazy for You. I sent them it as a sample and they loved it so much they wanted to re-release it with a new cover.
“We have tweaked it a bit as well because obviously it is for a much wider market than the orginal Irish market it was written for. So it was an interesting process to take out a lot of the Irish slang that people might not understand. “Essentially it is the same story, if people want to refresh and read it again, it was one of my most popular books. But there is a whole new world out there who haven’t read it and that is who I hope to get it to.”
Emma was recently been shortlisted for the Belfast Telegraph’s Woman of the Year Awards in Arts category and said she was shocked when she got the news.
She said: “I was absolutely over the moon to be shortlisted, I was so shocked. When I heard the other three women who were shortlisted as well that is when it hit home because there are some really big hitters there. To be in the same category as Sinead Morrisey, the Poet Laureate is just an honour.”
Speaking about her inspirations and how she always had an interest in the creative craft Emma said: “I grew up in Donaghmore which is a very creative community. We have had a lot of people from Donaghmore who have gone on to work in the arts and media. My own family are very creative, they have a creative background.
“We grew up I suppose very close to the Bardic Theatre and I think that shaped my interest in the Arts and in all things on stage, so it was in me from a very early stage. I do remember writing my very first piece of musical theatre when I was 12, I used to spend my Sunday’s writing songs and songlyrics in my bedroom. I never trained with a musical instrument but I could bang out a tune and put lyrics to it. I used to have everyone tortured to hear these songs.
“So looking back it was in me from a very early age I loved English at school and I went into a career in PR which is a creative industry in itself.
“Then I suppose it was always in my head that I wanted to write, so I entered a short story competition in 2005 in Woman’s Way magazine in Dublin and I was absolutely over the moon to have won. From that it really hasn’t stopped since. Seven books later and a new book deal, I have written over 30 short films and plays and three musicals and lots more on the way. I have a film script in development with Northern Ireland Screen as well so it is all very exciting.”
Offering advice to aspiring writers Emma said: “I started off with just a real hunger for everything. I would say read, read, read! Read lots, to be a good writer you have to be a great reader. Read lots of your favourite authors, people who you would like to write in the same style as and like any craft, just keep practicing. Take creative writing classes if they are on offer in the area, and there is a lot of advice online as well. There are books out there to help as well, I would highly recommend Stephen King’s On Writing, it has been like a bible to me, it is a great book to dip in and out of.”