Interview with Emma V

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Sunken City?

I’ve always had an obsession with the water; I grew up in Chicago, next to Lake Michigan, and I was a competitive springboard diver for a long time. The idea for this novel was born over twenty years ago, when I wrote my first-ever novel, called The Sea Girl. I was just six years old. The book was terrible, of course, but it followed a young girl who could breathe underwater and went for adventures on the ocean floor. One year ago, I decided to revive that childhood story, but turn it into something real (rather than stick figures on lined paper).

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Sunken City, what would they be?

Easy. I wrote this book with the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack on repeat. “Jack Sparrow” is my personal favorite. That would be their theme song.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

My favorite genres are contemporary romance, fantasy romance, and select literary fiction. And, coincidentally – yes! Those are also my favorite genres to write.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Gosh, the pile is always massive, isn’t it? Right now, I’d say The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, Book Lovers by Emily Henry (I adore all of her books), Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, , and about 1 million others.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Ohhh, great question! For this book, my favorite scenes to write were the nightclub scenes. There was so much fun world-building to be done in every aspect of the Sunken City, but the nightclubs were where I got to get creative and colorful. I watched my characters truly let loose in those scenes, and it was a joy to see.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I’m not too high-maintenance in most aspects of life, but I am a complete TERROR when it comes to writing requirements. I need a big screen (big enough where moving large pieces of text is easy), a mug of coffee by my side, and – most important of all – a big, cushy chair.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

I’ve been in therapy for ages, and there’s plenty of tidbits of wisdom that I’ve come to live by. One of those kernels is actually said by the character Lukas toward the end of the book: You deserve someone who will love every part of you – the good, the dark, the angry, the broken. Who sees your shadow self and loves that self all the more.”

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

The way the magic system works in this story is that, in order to access your powers, you have to face down your inner demons. To accept the shadow self that lives within you. I have long struggled with OCD and eating disorders, and one of the core tenants of my work in therapy was accepting the scarier, “less acceptable” parts of myself. It’s something I’ve been very vocal about in my writing, and a message I want to spread widely.

It’s better to accept yourself for who you are, rather than fighting it.


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