SP: Hi Emilie! We’re so excited to have you here on the Spinning Pen! You are such a diverse writer! You write YA, adult, thriller romance, and you’re a successful bookstagramer, create & sell bookish items, you’re a graphic designer, and cover designer. Is there anything you don’t do?? How did you get into all of this to start with?
EH: Ha! Well, I don’t do math 😉 I started freelance writing and photography about ten years ago alongside my main job and loved it so much I vowed that someday I would just do that as my career. Little did I realize I would get into graphic design as well!
I always knew I wanted to write, but as a freelance ghostwriter I got to write in so many different genres (from mail order bride to zombie apocalypse). While I didn’t love it all, it was extremely helpful in learning craft and honing in on what makes a good story.
As for the design part, it came out of necessity when I worked at a church and we needed graphics. Later, that transitioned into book cover design because I love books. And the rest is history I suppose?
SP: Word on the street is you just got a new book deal for your romantic suspense novel! *Squeals with excitement* Tell us all the deets! What’s your book about? And most importantly, WHEN can we order it??
EH: Yes! I am so excited to say that I’ve signed a contract with Sunrise Publishing for a romantic suspense novel focused around Lisa Phillips’ fictional world of Last Chance County. At this point all I can say is that my book will be coming out in 2023 and will feature some awesome characters involved in some dangerous things. *rubs hands together*
SP: How did you get this book deal to begin with? Talk to us about all things agents and publishers! Any advice for other writers who’s publishing journey looks a little different than they anticipated?
EH: I’d say my career path is a convoluted story. I signed with my agent back in 2017 on a romantic suspense book. Great, I thought—now let’s get books out. But the longer I worked on that book the more it didn’t feel right. Fast-forward to 2019 and I realized I felt called to write Young Adult (I still do). My agent was gracious enough to keep me on and happy to represent anything I wrote (what a blessing) so we put my YA sci-fi out on submission earlier this year. We’re still waiting to hear back from a few people.
On the side thought (because I can’t not write), I was publishing sweet romance books under a pen name when my writing group suggested I audition for Sunrise. They offer a unique publishing format that pairs newer writers with an established author to write in their universe, but then you also get their support and mentorship.
I went ahead and sent in my audition chapter and made it to the final ten and then the final four! This was not what I’d expected. I thought my YA would get picked up first, but I really believe in God’s timing and feel like things have happened just how they need to – even if it’s not what “I’d expected”.
As for advice, two things: 1) Take every opportunity. My thought process is “why not” when it comes to writing opportunities and that has led me down some awesome paths. 2) Write the next book. Not a new concept, but when I finished my sci-fi I was already planning 3 other books that I wanted to write (in three separate categories, haha). That has definitely helped me!
SP: You recently revealed that you had been writing & self publishing yet more books under a pen name, Bell Renshaw—yet another amazing aspect of your publishing journey—we would love to hear how this began and why you merged the two accounts!
EH: When I was chosen to be published by Sunrise, my agent and I had a long conversation about my career. She knows my heart is in YA but that I obviously still love sweet romance and romantic suspense, so we decided it was best to just let the cat out of the bag about the fact I was behind the Bell Renshaw pen name.
Really, it’s easier for me to be 2 people instead of 3 (hehe) and I knew I would be able to promote my Romantic Suspense more widely if I was able to say it was me behind the pen name. We’ve decided to put my Romantic Suspense under Emilie Haney and my Young Adult under E.A. Hendryx (when the time comes for that). I still hope to publish more sweet romance under Bell’s name as well – because why not? 😉
SP: You co-host a podcast called Exploring the Blank page. Can you tell us a little bit more about why you started that, who it’s for, and what potential listeners can expect to find there?
EH: It was duringthe pandemic that Christen Krumm, my co-host, and I both said we wanted to start a podcast. Both having a love for Young Adult fiction, we thought it would be better to do this together than separately and we were right! It has been a blast interviewing YA authors we know as well as those new to us.
Our podcast is geared toward readers and writers of Young Adult fiction and, in addition to talking about the guest’s book, we also ask them writerly questions, specifically how they go from “the blank page” to a finished manuscript.
There is a lot of great advice in our episodes from some seriously amazing authors and I always feel charged up after an interview.
SP: Ok, we’re almost done and it’s time for the lightening round! Early bird or night owl?
Yes? LOL. But if pressed, Early Bird.
SP: Most obscure hobby?
I think it might be considered a hobby…but using the Curly Girl Method on my hair. Sounds funny, but it takes TIME and feels like a hobby lol.
SP: Word you can never spell? This may be a trick question.
SP: Alright, time’s up! We’re so sad to see you go! Womp. Womp. BUT…there’s way more where this came from. Where can we go to read more from you?
I am always active on Instagram (both my shop and & YA page as well as my romantic suspense page). I also have a few websites and love chatting with people wherever they can find me – DM or email is totally fine. And, if you’re in the market for a sweet Christmas romance, my latest release has all the Christmas vibes (and a You’ve Got Mail aspect too).
Thanks so much for this interview!
Recent Christmas book release (11/2/21): A Picture of Christmas
Rhett Bradley’s home for the holidays, but it’s not by choice. Faced with a potential backward step at his company in Seattle, he’s forced to take time off, but somehow being back in Winter, Montana isn’t the dead end he was expecting.
Olive Fitzsimons has a secret email friend who’s made her new job at the mayor’s office bearable. Still, putting her true passions aside for the political hubbub in Winter hasn’t been a step in the right direction for her. Sure, she can make her rent payments, but is she happy?
As Rhett and Olive continue to run into each other in the small town amid holiday festivals and sparkling Christmas lights, their once fiery opposition starts to settle into something more. But Olive’s interest in her email friend has grown into a crush and Rhett will be leaving Winter in in the New Year, won’t he?
Join the familiar cast of characters in Winter, Montana as the community joins together in the spirit of Christmas where hearts soften and a kiss between opposites is the perfect holiday miracle
Winter Montana Series: https://amzn.to/3c1wl56
EAH Creative website (cover design & graphics): www.eahcreative.com
Emilie Haney website: www.emiliehaney.com
Shop/YA writing IG: @createexploreread
Writing IG: @emiliehaney_author
Bookish Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CreateExploreRead?ref=seller-platform-mcnav