Blogger Book Fair! Meet Emily Mah Tippetts

Starting with my typical not-so-typical author questions!

In what part of the country do you live? From what part do you originate?

As I type this, I live in London, England, but at the time it goes live, I'll likely be back in New Mexico. We're moving in late July. New Mexico is where I grew up and where my children will likely grow up as well. We're from the north, near Santa Fe. Britain is my second home. I did my last two years of high school here and college, then came back while my husband did his PhD.

Do you have siblings? Where do you fall in the pecking order and do you think it’s influenced your life?

I have a younger sister and am the oldest. I think my parents were equally mean to both of us, though ;-)

How did you meet your best friend?

It's hard to give just one friend that title, so I'll pick one with a cool story. I barely knew my friend Char when she severely injured her leg and couldn't really stay in her living situation. She was a PhD candidate at UNM in Albuquerque and I was a lawyer downtown who'd just bought my own house. Since she needed a place to stay that would be low stress and I needed someone around to let in the various contractors who needed access to the property, I invited her to come live with me. We soon got to know each other very well (obviously) and I found out that aside from having a degree in English from the University of Utah, she was a science fiction fan, so we read a ton of each other's books. One night while we were drinking herbal tea before bed (our ritual) she told me about a dedication she'd read in a book of a writer to their best friend who was the first reader of all their books. She said she dreamed of being such a friend.

I warned her off of making me the writer she attached herself to, but she was stubborn and read a crapton of horrific rough drafts. I finally dedicated Someone Else's Fairytale to her as a thank you, and that book was rejected in round after round of submissions to publishers and agents. So I indie published it and it's been on the Kindle Top 100 twice.When did you begin writing? 

When I got old enough to hold a pencil.

What has surprised you most about the process of being published?

Fortunately, I've had very few surprises about the process of publishing. Part of this is because I knew the business and legal side of things before I ever sold a story. I always knew that it was hard to sell books and a publisher is only as good as the people they employ, who are often overworked and exhausted. I understood the model of indie publishing even before it began to take off, and it's gratifying to see the market work to discover new talent, but not a surprise, necessarily. I guess the biggest surprises I've had are:
1) When authors much more famous than me know who I am and have read my books. A couple have shocked me, because I assumed I was far beneath their notice. One is a client whom I format for and we'd exchanged a ton of messages before she said, "Wait a minute. I just realized you wrote Someone Else's Fairytale. I loved that book!"

2) That I'm now a cover designer. I had to be dragged into that career kicking and screaming, not because I don't like it, but because I haven't had an art class since I was fourteen. I learned Photoshop in order to do my scrapbooking, and I ended up making my own short story covers, which got some positive buzz. Then Caisey Quinn emailed me about this amazing book on her hard drive and I told her she had to get it published and offered to design a first cover for it, that ought to help her sell enough copies to hire a real designer. I still get fan mail about that cover and authors started to pester me to design covers for them. So first I did a few as favors to friends, then I decided to start up my formatting business and offered free cover designs to the first formatting customers, and now people are paying me to design covers. That, I have to say, is really, really weird. Not in a bad way at all. Talk about life throwing you a curve ball!

Is writing your “day job”? If not, what else do you do? 

I'm a mother and a book designer, which is kind of a made up term for someone who does covers and interior formatting. I offer authors a polished look and feel to their books.
What Jelly Belly flavor is your favorite? Toasted marshmallowIf you sat down at a bar at this moment, what would you order to drink? 

Diet Coke. I'm a Mormon ;-)
What was the last book you finished? 
 
Reading: An unpublished novel written by a friend called Punk Rock Girl
Writing: Love in Darkness, a new adult romance.

What has been your favorite writing project to work on?

That always has to be my current one, or else I wouldn't stay working on it!
Are there any characters – yours or another author’s – that have stayed in your head after you’ve finished their book?
Mine always do. They'll always be a part of me and have permanent residence in my brain. And for that matter, most characters from other books and movies stick around for a few days to a few years. If they don't, it wasn't a very uninteresting book.
What performance would you drop everything to see if it came to your town? (Band, artist, opera, ballet, whatever…)See, the problem with living in London is, I've no doubt already seen it. I can't think of one! Give us a couple of your favorite lines from your WIP…

My name is Kyra Armijo and I have two problems. One is that I have a crush on Zach Wechsler. Yes, the lead singer of Triple Cross, the guy idolized by millions of other girls. The other is that I just woke up next to him in his Albuquerque hotel room. For the record, I am fully clothed and we are on top of the covers on opposite sides of the bed. We didn’t even kiss or cuddle. Nobody who catches me sneaking out of his room will believe that, though, especially not if they dug into my background a little. ~from Break It Up, out this November.

About E.M. Tippetts

Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance as E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah. She is a former attorney with degrees in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University and business law from UCLA. These days she lives in New Mexico - the place where she grew up - with her family.

She also designs book covers and formats paperbacks and ebooks for her company E.M. Tippetts Book Designs.