Hi Emily, first, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m Emily Conrad, and I write Christian romances. My husband and I own two rescue dogs—an elderly pit bull mix who is snoring peacefully as I type, and an energetic coonhound who’s keeping an eye on me in hopes of going for a walk.
Lots of writers were avid readers as children. How about you? If so, what did you read?
I was! Charlotte’s Web was a favorite. I also read pretty much any book for my age range that featured horses—the Misty of Chincoteague series and The Saddle Club books, among others.
Why do you write?
That’s an interesting question, because, for me, the answer has changed over the last five or six years. I write to explore what I believe and for the entertainment of stories. It’s always both of these, but depending on the manuscript, I find one “why” plays a bigger role than the other.
At the time when I wrote Justice, my priority was on thinking about what I believe. Specifically, in that story, I dove into why bad things happen to good people, and how a desire for justice and a choice to forgive can coexist. As I wrote it, I didn’t know what the ending would be or what the “right” outcome might be. So I learned a lot from the characters as they wrestled with the way to go.
Though I hope my stories are still unafraid to ask the big questions, I’m reading more for entertainment and escape, and I’m writing stories that venture further that direction, too.
But, whatever my reason for writing a story, my prayer is that each one would glorify God and in some way bring readers closer to Him.
In three words describe your style of writing.
Thoughtful, romantic, faith-filled
How do you get to know your characters?
When I start a story, I plan the main characters’ goals and what stands in their way, but I really get to know the characters as I start to write about them. As I write a scene, a quirk or a preference might come to mind. I add it in, and then build from there until—hopefully!—they become unique characters with their own way of saying things and navigating the world.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I’m generally sitting at the kitchen table or one of my desks (I have one out on our porch and one up by a second-floor window so I can switch, depending on the season) from 9-5ish on weekdays. At least that’s the idea. I hold that schedule pretty loosely. Some days, I don’t work the full day, and some nights and weekends, I spend extra time on stories.
One day early in the week tends to be focused on writing my blog post for the week. Then, I split other time between my manuscripts (either revision or writing) and helping friends with theirs. I sprinkle in some time maintaining my social media presence around those bigger tasks.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m in the middle. It seems no matter my good intentions of plotting in advance, my plans leave holes that I end up having to fix. When I wrote Justice, I was a pantster, but the ending just wouldn’t come. I ended up having to delete a bunch of material and go a different direction.
Now, I try to plan more, but I find I’m always having to adjust those plot plans!
Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
Yes! My faith is how I understand the world, so it’s always threaded through the stories. I was once asked if I could remove the faith element from Justice. I took another look at the manuscript and had to say that no, I couldn’t. Without faith, the whole thing would’ve fallen apart.
Do you put yourself in your books?
I don’t know that there’s a way for a writer to avoid putting herself (or himself) in their books. The stories we choose to tell and the way we choose to tell them say so much about us.
That said, since I’ve been asked, I don’t have firsthand experience with the events in Justice. I relied heavily on research because it was important to me to write about what the heroine had been through in a realistic, compassionate, and helpful way. It’s so important to me to do serious topics justice!
What are you working on right now?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m writing other romances. I have a series where each novel features a different member of a rock band, which has been a lot of fun, even as it delves into some heavy subjects.
I’m also trying my hand at some shorter, lighter romances.
I have some submissions out right now, and I’m looking forward to hearing back on those and seeing what God might have in store from here.
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Customer service! I smile to myself at that answer, because I came by my passion for it accidentally.
I needed a part-time job through college. I started working at a call center and, over the years, worked my way up from taking phone calls to leading customer service teams who dealt with incoming calls, emails, and chats.
I discovered a passion for serving customers and working with a team to offer the best possible customer experience. I left working in contact centers to focus on writing, but for the right opportunity, I’d enjoy getting back into it.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t go it alone! Writers need to learn from each other, and we also need the support and encouragement of the writing community to make it through seasons of discouragement.
Beyond that, I’m a regular contributor to the writing blog Seriously Write. The first Tuesday of each month, I share a little thought I hope will help or encourage other writers. Those posts can be found here
The love of a lifetime, a quest for justice, and redemption that can only be found by faith.
Jake thought he was meant to marry Brooklyn, but now she's pregnant, and he had nothing to do with it. Brooklyn can’t bring herself to name the father as she wrestles with questions about what her pregnancy means and how it will affect her relationship with Jake. If Harold Keen, the man who owns the bookstore across from Jake's coffee shop, has anything to do with it, the baby will ruin them both. Can Jake and Brooklyn overcome the obstacles thrown in their path, and finally find the truth in God's love and in each other?
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Emily Conrad writes Christian romance and a blog to encourage women of faith. Her debut novel, Justice, released from Pelican Book Group in 2018. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two rescue dogs. She loves Jesus and enjoys road trips to the mountains, crafting stories, and drinking coffee. It’s no coincidence Justice is set mostly in a coffee shop! Connect with her online on her