Please welcome Emily Ungar, author of middle grade novel, Liberty Belle.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I always knew I wanted to be a writer, and I’ve been working seriously to devote time to my craft for the past 8 years. I am also a copy editor for an educational publishing company. I live in (cold!) Indianapolis with my husband and two young sons, where we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring! Oh, and I love coffee and lemon cupcakes—together, of course.
What’s more important: characters or plot?
My instinct is to develop character first, and that’s been my biggest struggle as a writer. But I believe that both elements must be intertwined to write a truly compelling book. If we don’t have strong characters, then we won’t care as much what happens to them during major plot points. But if we don’t have much of a plot, then we’ll become frustrated when our characters aren’t facing hard choices and taking risks. In middle grade books, I think it’s especially important to have a good balance of both. Relationships with family and friends are important, but it’s the major events in our lives that really make or break these relationships.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m most likely chasing after one or both of my identical twin toddlers and trying to keep them safe from the danger they love getting into! I love reading, of course, and I alternate between reading middle grade books and women’s fiction or the occasional nonfiction book, too. I also love creating photo books online and scrap booking, though I’m about 2 years behind with that! When it’s warm I love to be outside under the patio umbrella. Spring is Indiana is a very special thing because we’ve waited half a year for it to arrive!
What do you do when you experience writer’s block?
I’ve tried all sorts of things, from drinking large amounts of coffee to looking at Pinterest boards and listening to the special music playlists I create when I write each book. In the end, though, I’ve found the following quote by Robert Frost to be the absolute truth: “The only way out is through.” The best thing for me to work through writer’s block is just to keep writing, even when it’s painful just to write one sentence. Once I start writing, a thought often comes out of nowhere that sparks a new direction or scene.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?
Definitely. I actually lived in 7 different U.S. states by the time I was 19. My family moved around a lot for my dad’s job. Moving a lot was really hard, but it got a lot worse when I got older because my friendships were so strong. I was shy, too, and it was hard to make new friends. Although Savannah (the main character in LIBERTY BELLE) is very different from me, she goes through a lot of the same emotional issues that I faced being the new girl in school.
Where can readers find you online?
I love to connect with readers! My Twitter handle is @emilyungar, and my web site can be found at emilyungar.com.
Emily’s cover reveal of Liberty Belle is this Friday, April 4. If you’re interested in signing up, please go HERE.