Q&A With Emily Ruth Verona
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Q&A With Emily Ruth Verona
Emily Ruth Verona is the author of the debut novel Midnight On Beacon Street a book I recently finished! I was privileged to read an early copy before its January 30th 2024 release. Emily’s previous publication credits which are short stories & poetry featured in several anthologies as well as magazines such as The Pinch, Lamp Light Magazine, Mystery Tribune, The Ghastling & Nightmare Magazine. Emily’s essays and articles have appeared on Tor.com , BookBub, Litro, Bust, & Bloody Women.
Q: Emily, would you like to talk about your book Midnight On Beacon Street for those who haven’t read the book yet?
A: Sure! It’s a little book set over the course of a quiet night in 1993 as a babysitter looks after her two young charges. The babysitter is a huge horror fan and the novel functions as a love letter to classic horror movies, but I was also really interested in setting a story in one place over the course of one night and seeing what would happen. I’ve always loved books and movies that take place in a confined single setting like that. It’s a delightful challenge.
Q: In the Acknowledgements section you mentioned that the book took you five years to get the story just right. Why did it take you that long?
A: I just kept stalling out ¾’s of the way through. I couldn’t get those last few chapters before the ending to feel right, which meant I was getting the end to function the way I wanted either. I knew where the book started and where I wanted it to end up, but I struggled with the finesse it would take to get there. Then, I got involved in other projects that took up a lot of my time. Every October, though, I’d think about this book and this story and want to work on it. Slowly, over time, I found my way through to the end.
Q: I loved watching Are You Afraid Of The Dark as a little girl in the mid to late 90s and the year 2000. I loved that the show was mentioned briefly in the book. What made you want to have the time period take place in the 90s?
A: I was born the youngest of three children in 1990. Both of my siblings are over a decade older than me. In a way, the 1990s made two impressions on me. The first was as a little girl growing up in the 1990s watching things like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and the second was as someone who viewed 90s teenagers (my brother and sister) as the epitome of cool. I wanted to be just like them so badly. So, in Midnight on Beacon Street, you get it both ways: POV chapters from the teenager and from the little kid. I chose 1993 specifically as an homage to Jurassic Park, which came out that year. I credit Jurassic Park as the movie that made me first fall in love with movies.
Q: Are the characters you created in Midnight On Beacon Street, very loosely taken from bits and pieces of people you know in real life?
A. Since my siblings are much older, I’ve been an aunt since I was twelve years old. I have three nieces and one nephew. None of the characters are based on them, but any authenticity you find in the children’s perspective in this book is the direct result of spending a lot of time with those kids and watching them grow. I could not have written Midnight on Beacon Street if I wasn’t babysitting two of my nieces three days a week during the time at which I first began work on it.
Q: What’s it like having your fiction & poetry featured in The Pinch, Lamp Light Magazine, Mystery Tribune, The Ghastling & Nightmare Magazine?
A: It’s a huge honor. I pinch myself all the time because honestly, I got a ton of no’s before I got a single yes. And I still have more short story rejections than I do acceptances, but I feel like that is the case for a lot of writers. I’m just glad the stories I’ve published so far have all found such wonderful homes.
Q: What was it like having essays and articles published on Tor.com , BookBub, Litro, Bust, & Bloody Women?
A: Writing non-fiction makes me feel fancy in a weird way. I’ve always been a fiction writer. I started at the age of six or seven, and I wrote essays throughout school, but writing personal essays about subjects that are important to me has always been just a little bit intimidating. I always want to do justice to the subject matter, especially since I often write about things like mental health and womanhood.
Q: What advice would you give to any of us wanting to submit fiction, poetry & essays in famous publications that you have? Is the submission process for submitting essays and stories & poetry the same or different?
A: Make a chart. Follow submission guidelines. Don’t give up. The chart makes it easy to keep track of where you’ve submitted what so you don’t accidentally submit the same story to the same place twice. It’s good to have a standard query letter ready to send with each piece, but make sure you follow submissions guidelines set by the publication, too. If they ask for a third person bio in the email, include a third person bio in the email. If they tell you they only accept stories under a certain word count, make sure your story qualifies. You don’t want to waste their time or yours. And just keep submitting. Whenever I get a rejection, I sit down and send that story out somewhere else. It reinvigorates me and I know if I keep at it, eventually that story could find a home.
As for the submission process, it’s pretty similar for essays, stories, and poetry. Sometimes essays don’t have to be complete and the editor will want to see a pitch first, but stories and poems should always be finished. Most publications accept one story at a time, 2-3 flash fiction pieces, or 2-6 poems. The submission guidelines will give you the specific details.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to Midnight On Beacon Street ? Who would be your ideal cast to play the characters, especially Amy, Ben & Mira? The entertainment industry needs new content again.
A: Hollywood does not have the rights to Midnight on Beacon Street yet, but I do think it would make a fun film! I’ve thought A LOT about casting actually, haha. I’m a huge movie nerd so I tend to give things like that too much thought. I haven’t decided who I’d want to play Amy, Ben, or Mira yet. But I do think Ruth Codd (The Midnight Club, The Fall of the House of Usher) would make a great Tess and Emily Alyn Lind (The Babysitter, Doctor Sleep) would make a great Sadie. I think Morgan Davies from Evil Dead Rise would fit Miles pretty well, too.
Q: Are you currently writing your next book? If so, can you reveal any details about it?
A: I am currently revising a mystery novel that I started before I even wrote Midnight on Beacon Street. I can’t say much, but it’s a story about family and delves into my interest in true crime.