What inspired Emily Knight?
I didn't feel there were a variety of strong, ethnic lead characters in children's books. I also grew up watching anime and loads of Dragon Ball Z and X-Men. To be honest I just wanted to read a book that was based on what I liked to watch but I didn't want it to be a comic book. When I couldn't find that book, I wrote one.
What inspired The Christmas Heist in The Very Merry Murder Club?
I was in my raw stages of grief after losing my dad and I almost said no to being part of the murder club because I couldn't even write. Thankfully with my agent we managed to come up with an idea. I couldn't write something dark with my mindset at the time, so a dance book mixed with Oceans 11 was perfect for me.
What inspired Love In Winter Wonderland?
The lack of Black love stories especially at Christmas time. There are quite a few films based around that but not so much in books, so I wrote one.
Is it hard getting published?
Yes! I thought it would be a breeze but there are so many ways to get published, especially now via e-books.As long as you believe in your vision just do what's best for you. Be consistent and persistent and read in the genre and age group you want to write for. If you're determined to become an author then please keep writing.
You have such a diverse cast in your books - was that intentional?
Not really. I live in London which is a really diverse city and I have friends from all different races and backgrounds. Some of my best friends are Jamaican, Greek, Indian, Filipino - you get the idea! So I write about what I know. I wish more writers would have more diversity in their books.
Have you ever self-published?
I self-published the first ever Emily (purple cover and if you have that version you're a real one!) when I was 23 after years if trying to getting an agent. 6 months later I signed to my first agent. I have alot of respect for self-published authors.
Do you have an agent?
Yes I am with The Bent Agency and repped by the brilliant Gemma Cooper.
Was it easy to get an agent?
I wish! I was trying to get an agent since I was 18 and secured one when I was 24 and then left them! Getting a second one was way easier though and I signed to Gemma kind of by accident. She was closed for submissions but was offering feedback during the Black Lives Matter Movement in the summer of 2020. I sent a manuscript to her and a week later she signed me!
Is it true that you have the same illustrator as JK Rowling?
Yes! We both used the amazing Giles Greenfield for our book covers. I used Giles for the first edition of Emily Knight.
What is the best advice you were given?
Don't give up, write everyday and read everything. There's not any shortcuts so if you want something, be persistent and work on your craft even when you don't feel like it!
Is it true you got a 6 figure deal?
Yes I still can't believe it! Simon & Schuster are such a dream.
Do you think being a young Black writer is harder?
I've found it pretty cool. I think people are shocked by how young and determined I am but now I'm in my thirties (so not so young) and I think I've got a good reputation for myself in the publishing world. There are not as many opportunities in general for Black people in publishing but it is slowly changing. I for one am using my platforms to help with that change.
Is Emily you?
No lol I'm cooler than her!
When is the next Emily Knight book out?
I'll be writing book 4 soon.
Does Emily like Wesley or Julian more?
Ooh you'll have to wait and see!
Is Emily Knight a Saga?
The I AM saga will be four books but I'm sure at some point I will do another saga because I love writing about Emily's world.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
I can write all the crazy things that go on in my head.
Have you got any more books?
The Very Merry Murder Club is out and published by Farshore. My story is called The Christmas Heist. And Love In Winter Wonderland is out November 2022, published by Simon & Schuster. I'll have a book out in 2023 and 2024.
Are you going to do anymore pop up blogs after Rose?
Rose was so much fun to do and I wanted to see how it went. The views was so good that I wrote Lox and released that in 2015. Roberta came out in 2016 and The Knights in 2018. As long as I can make the time, I will keep doing it.
How can I learn about publishing a book?
I have co-founded The Author School, so come along to one of our classes or sign up to our online class! This was set up to help all budding writers.
Who are your favourite authors?
Jodi Picoult, Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Lauren Oliver, Karen M McManus, Tiffany D Jackson, Angie Thomas to name a few. I am obsessed with all of Jackie Collins books!
What's your favourite book?
Ooh that's a tough one! I would go with Are you there God, it's me Margaret by Judy Blume. I've read it so many times my book is ripped!
How many words do you write a day?
It varies because I have to write to a deadline so when the clocks ticking I can write super fast and always to music!
What are your thoughts on the lack of diversity in publishing?
It sucks! And has a black person, it's pretty discouraging. I can go on about diversity for days but it all comes down to publishers needing to do better! I'm so glad I have a publishing house and an imprint that is devoted to making a change.
What's your name on Instagram?