Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you—N.J. Ember!
N.J. Ember is a paranormal fiction author who loves to write stories about survival and triumph over adversity. Whether her characters are dealing with the paranormal or everyday life, she seeks to show that strength is not always about being superhuman or invulnerable. She enjoys anything with mystery, suspense and horror, so when she’s not writing you can find her watching shows like Orphan Black, Penny Dreadful and Sherlock. She currently lives in Michigan with her grandpa and a forever growing collection of books and Funko Pop! figures.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Yes. When I was about ten years old I learned that writing books was an actual job I could have and it has been my dream ever since.
Why did you choose to write your genre? I write Poetry and Paranormal/Horror under different names, but I chose these genres for similar reasons. I write them because that’s what I love reading and because it’s cathartic for me.
What is the strangest story you’ve ever written? HA! I think everything I write is strange because I’m strange. I think you could ask anyone who knows me and they’d confirm it. But if it had to choose what piece of writing felt the most bizarre, I’d say “Neon.” It was a flash fiction piece inspired by a writing prompt, and it was narrated from the perspective of a high-end call girl. It was dark, gritty and bleak. It didn’t even feel like I was the one writing it. It just poured out of my fingertips as I listened to the character speak and I was shocked when an online blog decided to publish it.
What are you currently working on? I’m currently working on the second part of my book The Desiccated, and I’m also working on another book called Darkness and Delirium.
What motivated the plot of your latest book? The Desiccated is another story inspired by a writing prompt. People always ask if it’s inspired by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but I actually began writing it years before.
What was the hardest story for you to write? The hardest story for me to write has been The Desiccated because I pull from a lot my past and painful experiences associated with them. Much of the time it feels like taking a long, hard look in the mirror and having to honest with myself about what I was feeling then. I believe that’s why it’s taking so much time to publish each installment.
What process do you use to plan your novels? My process includes a lot of detailed notes as well as broad outlining. I like to leave enough room to still be surprised by what my characters do.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? My favorite character to write so far is Rachel Devin, whom you’ll meet in Darkness and Delirium. I like writing her because she’s so conflicted and a bit unpredictable. One facet of her character is that she is very secretive and hides much of what she thinks and feels. With most of my characters I have a pretty good idea of how they’ll respond in a situation, but Rachel thinks on her feet and I’m usually surprised by the choices she makes.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? Yes, and none more than Lia (from The Desiccated.) She has many of the same insecurities I do and we’ve suffered and survived in similar ways.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? I experience writer’s block all the time, and it’s usually due to ill health and bouts of depression and anxiety. Most days I try to write through it even when I don’t get much down.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? Contemporary. Specifically, young adult contemporary. Maybe New Adult. I wrote two novel manuscripts that were YA contemporary while in high school and I’d love to go back to it someday.
Which authors inspire you? There’s so many! Author Colleen Gleason has been an unofficial mentor to me since I was sixteen or seventeen, and I don’t think I’d be where I am right now without her endless encouragement, advice and friendship over the years.
Anne Rice also gave me some great advice via an email correspondence around that time as well. She said, “Keep the faith. Write and save your writing, and believe in your own style and your own way. If works as strange as mine can be published, anyone can make it.” And how could anyone not be inspired after that? [So cool!]
Also, author Stacey Rourke. She’s a talented author, a dedicated publisher and a supportive and dear friend. I learn so much just by watching her accomplish things and set things in motion. I also go to her for advice all the time and she never complains. She’s super helpful. I think if I could emulate anyone it would be Colleen and Stacey. They’re #authorgoals.
What novel would you read multiple times? Harry Potter or the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan. (And I have.)
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character) Myrnin, from The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. (Not altogether a wise choice, but I love him.) Or author Anne Rice.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? The phoenix.
What is your favorite color? Purple! (Followed closely by black and red.)
When you’re not writing… [N.J. isn’t a full-time writer.] I’m enrolled in college and working on getting my degree, so that takes time.
You can find N.J. online at…
Thanks for hanging out with me today, my friend.
Join me next week when Amber N.P. Mays will be dropping by!