What’s one quirky thing about you?
I become weirdly obsessed with things. Last year it was crocheting. I crocheted like a maniac for months. This year I’m obsessed with Korean Dramas. I’m hoping this obsession won’t end though because they are so much fun to watch and give me all the feels!
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember but I never had the confidence. I started and abandoned a lot of manuscripts before finally finishing my first one in 2014.
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
Last year one of my books (Hide & Seek) was a finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia (RWAus) Romantic Book of the Year (RuBY). It was such a surprise and an amazing experience to be recognised for my work
What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them? I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced is imposter syndrome. It took me a long time to be able to call myself an author, especially when I meet new people and they ask me what I do. It’s still awkward, but I’m getting better and even have business cards that I hand out whenever someone shows interest in my writing �. My husband was instrumental in giving me the confidence to own the title of author and he is my biggest supporter.
I have also struggled with health issues. I have chronic pain which makes sitting at a desk and writing every day challenging.
Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?
I have learned so many things! I live vicariously through my characters � (I think this plays into me becoming weirdly obsessed by things…when I research something I can feed the obsession �)
My favourite research was looking into what my character would study if she did a sociology degree at Harvard…it made me want to study sociology � The weirdest research I’ve done is trying to find out how long it would take a body to decompose � (that was for Hide & Seek)
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
Don’t compare yourself with other authors. Just keep writing and focus on your why. It’s so easy to get distracted by trying to keep up with other authors. You need to write for yourself or you will lose your passion and it becomes too much like a job.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack? My office is actually the entire master bedroom of our house. Our bedroom is in a smaller room � It also doubles as my art studio and is lined with bookshelves full of books and my typewriter collection.
I was a barista for nine years so coffee is my first love but lately I’ve been drinking a lot of tea. My current favourite is Twinings Focus Blend.
I try not to snack while I write but will set myself food rewards when I get stuck…chocolate is my go-to.
Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?
That is such a hard question to answer! I love all my heroes, but if I had to choose then it would be Jack from my latest novel Game Changer.
What project are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished the first draft in the second book of the Kabiero Royals series and I’m starting to plan the third book in the Hope Springs series.
What’s next for you?
I’m planning to do a blog series showing my writing process and next semester I start University. I didn’t graduate from high school and going to uni has been a long-held dream of mine. I watched my youngest son graduate uni in April and decided it was time for me to give it a go.
Emma Lea is an artist, mother, wife and author of over fifty romance novels. She lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia with her wonderful husband. She has two beautiful, grown-up sons, two amazing daughters-in-law, and an adorable granddaughter.
She loves to read. Reading has been her escape and her safe place. Emma’s earliest memories are of reading and it is the one thing that has always brought her happiness when nothing else could. Now she writes stories and hopes that when people read them that they can find an escape, a safe place, and a little moment of happiness when they need it.
Tell us a little about your new release: Game Changer
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
It was a combination of things. Characters always appear to me first and for this book it happened at the end of writing Manscaping. Dianna appeared and I knew she would be perfect for Jack.
Secondly, I’d been dealing with some chronic pain issues and I wanted to write about my struggles.
Thirdly, I’m a closet gamer � The Legend of Zelda franchise is my absolute favourite and I thought it would be fun to design my own game.
Did you outline the story, or dive right in?
I did outline the book. It’s something I’m doing more and more of. Every book feels like I’m starting all over again so I’m really trying to streamline my process to take the stress out of it.
How did your characters come to life?
Jack was a character in other books, but I didn’t really know his story, just the barest outline. Dianna burst onto the scene like Wonder Woman. I spent some time getting to
know them, although Jack was a lot more tight-lipped than Dianna �
Did you do any cool or interesting research for this story? What did you learn? I researched role playing games and video game development which was so much fun! I also researched fibromyalgia and learned a lot about how chronic pain can affect the smallest parts of your life. I live with it but didn’t realise just how much of my life was impacted by it.
What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging? Writing the snarky scenes with Dianna was my favourite bit. She got to say things that I would never say in real life (but wish I could say)
This whole book was challenging at in October last year I had to take a break from it because it was impacting my health. I’m glad I wrote the book, and it is probably my favourite so far, but it was my most personal book too.
What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out? Game Changer is the third book in the Playbook Series. It came out on 11 April. The next book in the series will be Parker’s story and it will come out next year.
Share an Excerpt:
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“You,” Dianna said as she stepped out of her doorway and into the hall. “You,” he replied with a sneer.
Jack Daniels. Her neighbour and sworn enemy.
They repeated this ritual daily, and it had gotten no better over time. Neither one of them changed their morning routine in order to avoid the other. Why should she? If he didn’t want to run into her every morning, then he could be the one to leave at a different time. Yeah, he might need to leave at this exact time to get his eight-year-old son, Riley, to school on time, but she had to get across the river to her office. Besides, she liked her routine, even if it meant running into him every morning.
“Hi Dianna,” Riley said.
Dianna looked down and gave Jack’s son a genuine smile, not the bared teeth one she gave his dad for the sake of keeping up appearances.
“Hi Riley,” she replied.
She liked Riley. It was a pity she couldn’t say the same thing about his father. Jack was an arsehole, and she had no time for arseholes in her life. She dealt with enough of them in her job.
“Come on, Riley,” Jack said, shepherding Riley down the hall toward the lift. “We need to go.”
Dianna rolled her eyes and followed them. They both needed to take the lift down to the underground garage. They parked their cars beside each other, and yet Jack liked to pretend she was a figment of his imagination. Admittedly, they hadn’t gotten off to a good start, but Dianna took no responsibility for that. She’d simply been moving into her new apartment when she’d been ambushed by a hot, angry man who yelled at her to get out. Not the best way to meet her neighbour for the first time, or one of the co-owners of the building. In her defence, she didn’t know there was more than one owner. She’d signed a rental agreement with Carter, and she thought he was the landlord. Apparently not, or at least, he wasn’t the only landlord.
Jack stood at the lift, pressing the button like a madman. Everyone knew that pressing it more than once didn’t actually make it go faster. But again, this was par for the course. They went through this same thing every single morning. Jack would stand facing the elevator doors, his jaw tight and his body stiff. Riley would smile up at her but wouldn’t speak. They both knew it would incite Jack to anger if they appeared to be friends. It was their little secret. Dianna was thinking of coming up with a hand signal or a badge or something. She knew it would piss Jack off, and that thought made her ineffably happy. She may have even smiled. Jack turned and stared daggers at her as if he could read her mind.
Dianna sighed inwardly. It was such a pity he was so good looking. Who knew grumpy looked so good on him? He was tall, white, and far too good-looking than he had any right to be. She had yet to see him smile, or at least, he’d never smiled directly at her. Every time he looked at her, he had this intense, dark look that should be registered as a weapon. He had the distinct intensity of a certain vampire brother from a certain vampire television show that she may or may not admit to binge watching occasionally.
It was the eyes; she decided. Those grey eyes that had the ability to be stormy and thunderous and piercing all at the same time. And the hair. The dark shaggy flop of too-long hair that wasn’t too long at all. Her hand itched to touch it, to see if it was as thick and soft as it looked.
Damn, she needed to get laid if the grumpy DILF next door was giving her the tingles. Sure, a woman liked her fictional love interests to be the dark broody type, but not so much in real life. Dark and broody became cruel bastard IRL. She should know, she’d fallen for that particular type before and still had the metaphorical scars to prove it.
The elevator doors opened and Jack and Riley stepped in. No, he didn’t do the chivalrous thing and let her go first. That would have meant actually acknowledging her as a
person, and as far as Jack Daniels was concerned, Dianna was little more than an annoying gnat he had to deal with daily.
Dianna got on the elevator and leaned against the back corner. She’d only been out of bed for a little over an hour and a half, and already it felt like too much. Maybe she should have worked from home today, and not just for her own sanity.
It was a heavy, silent, brooding trip to the garage and then Jack and Riley were crossing the concrete floor toward Jack’s car. It was one of those monstrous SUV things that towered over her little sporty Toyota 86. Dianna took her time walking to her car, giving Jack ample time and space to get Riley in the car and leave.
The SUV drove out of the parking space with a roar, and Dianna didn’t even spare it a glance. She unlocked her car and lowered herself into the driver’s seat. She should probably buy a taller car; getting into her car on bad days was a struggle, not to mention trying to climb out of it, and driving a stick shift was impossible some days, but it was one thing Dianna refused to compromise on. She liked her sports car. She enjoyed driving a manual transmission, even in the city. Giving in and buying a sensible car felt a lot like giving up. Her pain had stolen so much from her already, and she just wasn’t prepared to give up one more thing.
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