I’m very pleased to welcome Emma Salisbury to the blog today. Emma’s latest novel, The Silence Before the Scream, the second in her Davy Johnson series based in Edinburgh, is available as an ebook. You can order a copy here: The Silence Before the Scream
Thanks for taking part Emma. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I was born in Cheetham Hill in Manchester, moving to Glossop in the Peak District as a child. I’ve had many jobs, taking me around the UK: Birmingham, London, Manchester and Preston before moving to the East Coast of Scotland in 1998. The jobs I’ve had include working on a market stall, packing boiler suits in a factory, an insurance underwriter, a financial advisor, training manager; latterly I worked with socially excluded young men for an Edinburgh housing association.
Writing suits me as I can finally have control of something in my life! I love any excuse for chocolate and a glass of something fizzy. To balance out my vices I do Yoga and Zumba, and can be found doing the doggy paddle at my local swimming pool most Fridays. I’m married with two sons, and a rescue dog named Star.
I write crime fiction and currently have two series available from Amazon: A police procedural set in Salford featuring DS Coupland, and a Scottish crime series based on Edinburgh’s dark underbelly, featuring Davy Johnson.
What inspired you to start writing?
I loved English Literature at school but couldn’t see how I could make a career out of it; where I grew up people went into practical jobs so I followed suit. The urge to write finally raised its head ten years ago; I started working with socially excluded young men in Edinburgh with a history of offending, substance abuse and homelessness. The way they were treated by the authorities was a real eye opener – it’s no wonder they find themselves stuck in a revolving door. There’s a social commentary through my books that I hope draws attention to some of their experiences. To counterbalance any accusations of bias, I created my Salford series as a way of paying homage to my father in law and two brothers in law who served in Greater Manchester Police.
Tell me about your journey to publication?
My first novel was picked up by a literary agent within three months of submitting it for circulation. If only I’d realised that was only the beginning of what was to be an extremely bumpy road! The novel was about a psychic detective and the publishing houses she sent it to loved the writing but couldn’t see any commercial viability in it. I was asked to change the location as I’d originally set it in the Peak District and one of my agent’s other authors already had a successful crime series there so I changed it to Salford, and then another publisher asked me to change the lead character. I wasn’t precious about my work – I truly felt I should trust the experts as they knew what they were doing but after two years of re-writes I felt we weren’t getting anywhere. Making structural changes like that is so time consuming it would have been easier starting a new novel from afresh, which is what I decided to do, when a friend suggested publishing on-line. By this time I’d written FRAGILE CORD and felt that this should be the one to try with this route. My original novel had been changed so much I didn’t recognise it anymore, however following the success of River on the TV maybe I should think of releasing it, we’ll have to see…Meanwhile, I discovered that publishing via Amazon gave me the freedom to write about characters and locations of my choice and there has been no looking back!
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
THE SILENCE BEFORE THE SCREAM sees local Jack the Lad Davy Johnson witness the horrific suicide of a young man which compels him to find out the reason why someone would want to obliterate themselves in such a way. At the same time the daughter of an Edinburgh crime lord goes missing and Davy is roped in to help track her down as a way of repaying a debt. Set in Edinburgh’s dark underbelly it is a world away from the shortbread tin image seen by visitors.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Yes – I have just completed the first draft of my third DS Coupland novel which still doesn’t have a title!
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
Well, I loved Denise Mina’s Blood, Salt, Water.
What are you reading just now? (February 2016)
I am a big fan of Mark Billingham, Stuart MacBride, Denise Mina and Ian Rankin so I will always have their latest releases to hand when I have time to read. I absolutely love John Harvey’s novels and was sorry to read his final one, Darkness, Darkness, even though it was done so beautifully.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
My husband and I fight over my kindle! He keep losing his reading glasses and Kindle enables him to read using a large font so I let him take priority on that basis, which means I do still buy cartloads of books, and spend many a happy hour in my nearest Waterstones at Kinnaird retail park. I read mainly at night as I like to write during the day when my mind is (supposed to be) more alert. I tend not to read in the bath anymore – plays havoc with the kindle when I do get to use it!
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Well, I have been likened to The Grinch on occasion, although I can’t imagine why…