Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Emma Grace, he author of Match for an author interview with The Reading Bud.
About The Author
Emma Grace is a lifelong novelist, student, and lover of the outdoors. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in Creative Writing with a Minor in Wilderness Education at SUNY Potsdam, a combination of her two passions, however different they may be.
Emma lives in both northern New York and southern New Jersey, splitting her time while she pursues her degree. The back-and-forth nature of college has allowed her to embrace her love of travel while simultaneously learning to understand her transient characters (who handle change far better than she does). Her parents, sister, and exceptionally spoiled dog are her biggest supporters.
When she isn’t holed up in a library or coffee shop, you can find Emma out in nature, either sunbathing on a rock like a gecko or finding yet another mountain to climb.
Match is Emma’s debut novel. To learn more about the Underground and Katie’s future, visit her website, www.authoremmagrace.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter.
You can connect with author Emma Grace here:
Author Website | Instagram | TikTok
Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin.
Hi! My name is Emma, and I’ve been writing for pretty much my entire life. Match is my first novel, which I’m super excited to share with the world! I was born and raised in southern New Jersey (think of farms and big pine trees) but I go to college in super-upstate New York. In fact, my school is so far upstate that it’s not even called upstate—it’s called the north country! I’m a creative writing major and wilderness education minor, and I love spending time outside, whether I’m climbing, hiking, camping, or simply enjoying an afternoon in my trusty hammock. A lot of my best work happens after a day spent outdoors. I’m really excited to share my work with you guys and get to know you, too!
Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?
One of my favorite things about Match is that it’s written in first-person, present tense, which gives it a really intimate feel. The narrator’s name is Katie, and you get to see into her brain and understand why she makes the choices that she does, how she rationalizes them, all those gory details. You also get to see how much she loves her friends Chris, Ava, and Noah. The four of them are exceptionally close, and while the story is narrated through Katie’s POV, they’re really all the protagonists, which is why I simply refer to her as the narrator.
What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?
First and foremost, I want readers to have a good time. That’s my main goal with writing—produce something enjoyable to share with others. As far as a message goes, I want readers to realize that they’re so much tougher than they think they are. Katie, Chris, Ava, and Noah go through so much together, and a lot of it seems unsurvivable. But at the end of it all, they get through it, and even manage to laugh a little along the way. I want readers to look at the four of them and think ‘wow, if they can get through that, then I can get through whatever I’m dealing with, too.’
Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Even though Katie narrates this book, I really love Noah, one of her best friends. He’s funny, sweet, and very protective, but in a respectful way. He sees the world in a very black and white way, which sometimes lands him into trouble. There’s a running joke that he and the principle were on a first-name basis when he was younger because he was such a prankster, but they were always pretty harmless because he just wanted to make people laugh, not hurt them. He’s really protective and would go to bat for pretty much anyone without a second thought. He’s just a total doll, and I love writing scenes with him.
What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?
I saw a Tumblr post when I was younger that pretty much said, “what if when you turned 18 you were given this half-heart necklace and your soulmate had the other half, so you had to go on this epic journey to find them?” That really struck me as interesting, and I said, “what if we took that, but made it dark and twisted?” So then I kind of reversed the concept and made it, “your soulmate is already in this town, and the government will tell you who it is by matching up your half-heart necklaces,” which is what prompts my characters to run away. Throw in a resistance military, old family secrets, and the journey of self-discovery, and now you have Match!
How long did it take you to write this particular book?
I started writing Match when I was about 13 and decided to publish right after I turned 20. So technically 7 years, but I would take time away from it to work on other projects or just focus on school (usually work on other projects, like the sequel).
What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?
I would love to publish Match and its two sequels, and then maybe get more into poetry or general YA. I also plan to go on a lot of adventures in the near future, doing some long-distance hiking, working outdoorsy jobs, etc. I would love to eventually publish a memoir of all of my adventures. In 5 years, I see myself getting ready to settle down somewhere in the Adirondacks, or maybe out in the western U.S. if I find somewhere that captures my heart just as much. I’ve got lots of exploring to do before then, though!
Are you working on any other stories presently?
I’m currently working on the sequels to Match, which are called Spark and Burn. Spark is narrated from Chris’s point of view, which is a really interesting adjustment to make. A lot of Katie’s narration is how my inner monologue sounds, so I have to be very careful and deliberately switch it up for Chris. Burn is from Katie’s point of view again, so it feels more natural to me, which is why Spark is currently getting a lot more of my attention.
Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?
I chose YA dystopia because those were my favorite books growing up. The Hunger Games rocked my world—I was so obsessed I wrote fanfiction, braided my hair every day, the works! When I first started Match, I wanted to create something that, if I worked really hard and also got really lucky, would have the same kind of impact. I do dabble in poetry, but only if an idea pops into my head—I try not to force it. Eventually, I’d like to work on a regular YA project that I have in mind, but that’s a ways away!
When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you to follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way? (feel free to give us your story, we love hearing author stories!)
I decided I was going to be a writer in the 3rd grade. We had a period in school called “Writer’s Workshop” which was just time to work on stories or poems, kind of whatever we wanted. I liked it so much that I started typing up a story on my mom’s work laptop every night when she got home, and eventually I (with the help of my dad) emailed it to my teacher. The next day in school, she was so excited about it, asking me questions about what happens next (I’d left it on a cliffhanger, which is something I still do). I remember thinking, ‘wow, I really like doing this, and other people really like when I do this, too!’ And that was it, I never looked back. Over the years, other things have taken up more my time and attention, but I always come back to writing.
What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?
My favorite times to write are whenever I feel like I’m stealing words, if that makes sense. In high school, I’d race through a test to have a couple minutes to write; at work, I’d pull up a word document whenever my boss wasn’t looking. Those are the times when I feel the words flow the fastest—when I feel like my writing is a tiny act of rebellion. When I’m not stealing words, I like to head to the library and put some lofi beats on. I usually use noise-cancelling headphones—I call them my “work-mode blanket.” I’ve found that I’m not great at writing at home since that’s primarily my place to relax and rest, although I do enjoy lighting a candle and doing social media work there.
How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?
I really like to write on my laptop—my brain works too fast for me to write longhand! I’m also a leftie, so I end up with pen smudges all over my hand. I would love to get a typewriter someday, but I do tend to make a lot of typos, so we’ll see! Occasionally, I’ll use dictation, especially on a long drive (like the one from NJ to the north country) if I have an idea that just won’t leave me alone.
What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)
This is like asking me to choose my 5 favorite friends! Okay, here goes nothing:
- The Hunger Games/The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (SO excited for the movie!!!)
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
- The Song of Achilles (except I cried so hard that I’ll probably never read it again—I can’t afford to be that dehydrated)
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse
- The Sun is a Compass
My favorite authors, however, are a little different:
- Suzanne Collins
- J.K. Rowling (I don’t agree with her on pretty much everything/I won’t financially support her anymore, but Harry Potter did shape my childhood/desire to write, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for those books)
- Rick Riordan (PJO also shaped my childhood)
- Delia Owens (same as JKR—amazing writing, crummy person!)
- Madeline Miller
How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
For me, ideas have to kind of fall into my head. They remind me of thunderstorms in July—they appear very suddenly, and then poof, they’re gone. Staring at the sky won’t make a storm appear, and staring at the blank page won’t make an idea show up. I like to stay busy by hiking, climbing, hitting the gym, or hanging out with friends. Funnily enough, reading does not help, because then I end up comparing my writing to whatever I’m reading and then I just feel worse. So, staying busy, keeping my mind and body active, and allowing the ideas to come naturally is my best method for dealing with Writer’s Block. A good cry helps sometimes, too.
What advice would you give to aspiring non-fiction writers?
I would tell aspiring writers to defend themselves fiercely. There are going to be people who doubt you, even in your inner circle. My best advice would be to cut those people out ASAP—not necessarily from your whole life, but definitely from your writing life. Writing is hard, and it’s a process that can be filled with self-doubt. The last thing you need is someone else making it harder for you. Surround yourself with support and positivity, and you’ll realize very quickly how much you and your writing can thrive. You’ve got this—I can’t wait to read your story!
Thank you, author Emma Grace, for your insightful answers!
About the Book
Katie Davis has had her whole life planned out for her since birth. She, along with every other citizen of Carcera, is predestined to marry her perfect Match. She knows that she will eventually have two children, and that none of the citizens will never leave the Border, the wall of stone encircling the city. No one could have predicted, however, the harrowing night that forces Katie and her three best friends to flee for their lives only days after their Matching Ceremony. With nowhere to go, Katie and her friends must make impossible choices at every turn.
They are faced with life-altering decisions, such as whether or not to join the Underground, a resistance army dedicated to overthrowing Borders. The smaller choices seem just as unfathomable as the larger ones-what to eat for dinner, what to do in their free time, and even what to wear. When their luck begins to run out, they are left with only two options: fight, or die.
Match is the first installment of The Matchbook Trilogy.
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