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’s a job born of love … I doubt any teaching assistant in this country would say they do it for the money!
Time was very limited, but I tentatively began to write The Songs of Us – an idea that was a culmination of my love of music, my family and my constant ability to embarrass myself and my children on a daily basis! 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 words 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.
My debut novel, The Songs of Us, is currently being translated into seven different languages and I have also signed a further two-book deal for The First Time I Saw You (out now in eBook and audio, the paperback to follow in January) and I have just handed in my structural edits for book three, The Day my Life Began, which will be published with Headline Review in June 2020.
I am now able to write full-time: my dream career.