1) What has your writing journey been like?
My writing journey actually started when I was 10 and in fourth grade. I was bored and started filling up all of my pages of work with drawings of dogs. This then led into me writing about the dogs while waiting for my brother to finish his homework at McDonald’s – and this led to me writing Blue’s Prophecy during class time. The result: My teacher, Hannah Hoy, called my mom and said we had a problem because I wasn’t paying attention to anything in class any more. We struck a compromise – I could work on the writing and illustration of Blue’s Prophecy if I finished my schoolwork first. And my mom promised me a “box of books” – self-published – if I finished the novel. Well, after I finished the novel, she read the initial draft and asked me if I wanted her to work with me as if I were a professional writer (she’s a fourth generation journalist and a former editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Like an idiot, I said I did. That meant we spent another year with her edits causing me to write and rewrite the book. I probably have a dozen drafts of the book. Then we decided to self-publish it – now at 55,000 words. But she had a friend who read the novel and thought we should try to sell it – and the first publisher who saw the manuscript – TitleTown Publishing in Green Bay, Wi – accepted it, with a multi-book contract. (I have the right to bail if I don’t want to write any more since I was only 12 when all of this happened.) Since then, things have been amazing – and frustrating – and amazing some more. We still had more edits to go through with the publisher’s copy editor, and then there’s been a lot of marketing. I love the writing –and hate the marketing. That said, I loved going to Book Expo America in Chicago last year and looking forward to it in NYC this year. It was amazing when I learned Barnes & Noble bought hundreds of books for their stores — I was told only 1 percent of authors now have their books in actual stores. It’s amazing to get to talk to kids my own age who want to do the same thing – I love helping them work through their ideas and giving them hints. (One of the best hints – get a piece of landscaping paper from Home Depot to start writing out your plot and characters and post it on your bedroom wall – we put ours in our kitchen.) I don’t know where this journey will end – but I am excited to start working on the second book in Canis Chronicles this summer, and I think it will go much faster because I know more about what I’m doing, I’m working from a more strict outline and I’m a much better speller.
2) How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
Honestly, I was just really bored. I would be stuck at McDonalds and would always finish my homework before my brother, who’s in high school. When I got a laptop, I started playing around with the idea of a book about dogs, tied to the art I had drawn in school and at home. But it wasn’t serious then. As a matter of fact, the title of the book was “Dog.” But as I continued to write, I really liked the idea of being able to control and build my own world and cast of characters, so I stuck with it. The original manuscript when I was 10 was 17,000 words. When I got really serious – with about a dozen revisions – the total went up to 55,000 words.
3) What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten?
It will end. If you keep at it – every day, every week, it will end. You will finish. Seriously, that may sound bad, but it’s true. And it’s very motivating whenever I’m going through a whole bunch of hard editing. I just keep thinking, “II will end, I will get through this, and my book will be better for this effort and dedication.”
4) What has your book promotion experience been thus far and which strategies are more effective?
I absolutely hate promotion of my book because it actually involves social interaction, and I’m really, really shy. Social media seems to be the best strategy for me – both in terms of advertising the book through FB (and soon, Instagram). And I’m really enjoying building a “Blue” and “Robo” playlists for Spotify. But I also have to do media interviews, which have made me really nervous. But so far, those have been fun because the reporters I’ve been meeting have been super nice. I’m also psyched to speaking to a kids’ writing camp this summer held at the Margaret Mitchell House – kind of the most important writing place in Atlanta because of Gone with the Wind.
5) What does a day in your Life look like?
I go to school, I do my homework, I play a LOT of video games (I love Skyrim). I also love art and never get enough of it. I like to do animation, but as anyone knows who does that, it takes a lot of time and concentration, which by the end of the day, I rarely have. I love naps. I also do archery – although our neighbors don’t seem to like my arrows going into their yard – and I play the double bass, the biggest, heaviest instrument in the orchestra. I’ve known my best friends since kindergarten and they live right across the street from me. I often walk home together with them. I feed and play with my three dogs, Balta, (a german shepherd) Buddy (a puggle) and Zoey (a small german shepherd mix of like a lot of other stuff) – I also own two guinea pigs (Reeses and Pony) and a parrot (Polly). I have two older brothers – one I see every day, the other one spends time at our house and his apartment in downtown Atlanta near his university. I like his girlfriend a lot – we both love books. She was really helpful with reading and commenting on my book. My papaw lives in the house with us, and he’s kind of sick – so sometimes, I help out with his care – like get him a piece of pie. He always keeps 7-Up in his mini fridge for me.
6) What is most important to you and why?
Action is good and all in a book, but I believe that the characters in my book are the most important. I love making and developing characters, even though I find it really difficult to create characters who are truly memorable. And then I love creating ways to have them interact with the world around them.
7) Give us a page in the diary of a character in your novel.
A page in the diary of Raven – an old Great Dane, who can see the future and the past – which means he is almost blind in the present…he mentors Blue, but also is very impatient with her.
*Jeez, This husky IS The moSt annOying thinG I’Ve eVeR lAId eYEs ON, it’s honestly shocking how I’ve not managed to kILL hEr.
WaIT hoW AM I tYPEING right NoW? iM a DoG. .
About Blue’s Prophecy
by Emily Ross
Publisher: TitleTown Publishing
Publication Date: May 15th 2017
Genre: MG/YA Scifi/Fantasy
Two genetically altered dogs, two different fates. One is Robo, a beloved Great Dane, who is tricked out of the embrace of his human family and then is horribly altered by an evil scientist who rebuilds him with robotic parts, weaponizing the dog for money from the military. But that s not all the scientist does the experiments he conducts leave Robo a genius, almost immortal and with powers beyond explanation. But the horror Robo experiences at the scientist’s hands changes him driving him insane with the sole mission to destroy all humans, especially those who have tortured and hurt dogs.
Meanwhile, a scrappy alley husky sits in a shelter, when she with her blue eyes and tough wolf-like features captures the attention of another group of scientists desperate to stop Robo from his path of destruction. This dog, called Blue, could be the chosen one to fight and defeat Robo. She is also genetically enhanced and left with glowing turquoise eyes before being released to face Robo s vicious dog army. Her mission: save human civilization and the packs of dogs she’s grown to love.
About the Author
Emily Ross, 13, is a fifth generation writer and an owner of three dogs, Balta, Buddy and Zoey. Her prose exceeds her years, with Emily starting work on Blue’s Prophecy, a science fiction/fantasy book for pre-teens and teens, when she was 10. Living in Atlanta, Emily is also an animator and a skilled archer, and relaxes by playing the double bass in her middle school orchestra.