Hello all, I’m Emma Cooper, mad mother of four and full-time writer. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m 42 I live in Telford with my partner Russell and our four children whose ages range from twenty (sob!) to five.
Prior to being a writer, I worked as a teaching assistant in a local junior school for eleven years. It was a job that I loved and that fitted in with life as a mother but, this job that is as demanding as it wonderful (just look at the bags under the teaching assistant’s eyes next time you pick up the kids!) It is a job born of love … I doubt any teaching assistant in this country would say they do it for the money! I bring up the subject of money as I feel it is important for others to know how hard my journey into being a published full-time writer has been.
The idea for my novel, The Songs of Us, was a culmination of my love of music, my family and my constant ability to embarrass myself and my children on a daily basis!
Time was very limited and as I began to write I sometimes felt that there was no way I would ever finish it, but then a very close friend who is an academic writer told me she only wrote 500 words a day. It sounds like nothing but when you work full-time and have a large family, I started to find that this was achievable and so I wrote 250 in my lunch time, and the other 250 in the evening … I couldn’t believe how quickly these small sessions added up; at the end of the week I had a chapter and then as the months passed: a novel.
It took a lot of courage to begin submitting to literary agents and publishers; soon the rejections came flooding in – over thirty to be precise – until one day, an agent, Amanda Preston, emailed me to tell me she loved it and that I was ‘an incredible writer’. I remember these words because I re-read them over and over again … but this was only the beginning of what turned out to be an ‘incredible’ year.
Within two months, I had received a UK Publishing deal with Headline as well as pre-emptive offers from both Italian and German publishers. I was overwhelmed to then find out it was also in an auction between six publishers in France.
The Songs of Us is now being translated into seven different languages and I am now able to write full-time: my dream career.
Never give up on your dreams, because dreams can come true; it can happen to you.