Getting to Know Me Q+A

Getting to Know Me

A quick fire Question and Answer round, using the wonderfully insightful questions from Root Report! I’ve taken out a few of the questions that weren’t quite relevant to me.

Are you named after anyone?

I’m not sure about my first name, but my second name comes from my paternal grandmother who I never met. It’s a name I’m not personally too fond of, as it’s quite old-fashioned, but I do really appreciate the sentiment behind the name!

When was the last time you cried?

Trying to work out the future soon after graduation, it’s a tricky time and it’s easy to become emotional because of it. I think over the last few weeks I’ve already started to distance myself a little from the time I spent at Durham – it has to be in the past and I have to look towards the future.

If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

That’s a tricky question and feels a little bit of a brutal choice! I’d like to say that I would be, sometimes I have a great sense of humour and can be really creative but during deadlines I can be a bit of a bore. I’d say yes but that I have some targets for personal development over the past year ūüėČ

Do you use sarcasm a lot?

Definitely. Certainly not as much as my little sister who uses sarcasm so much I can’t even tell when she is being sarcastic anymore. She is so sarcastic that she’s shocked or scared me a lot before I realise she’s joking. Sarcasm is an interesting type of humour, that’s for sure.

What’s the first thing you notice¬†about people?

I know that one of the first things I noticed about people at university was their accent, simply because it was so intriguing where people were from. There were people from all over the world at Durham and a lot more from relatively far away in the country.

More generally, I think I’d have to say a person’s energy – whether they’re smiling, how they’re feeling, that kind of thing.

What is your eye colour?

Hazel? I’m not quite sure, sometimes my eye colour seems to change depending on how tired I am, growing darker when I’m feeling a bit rundown.

Scary movies or happy endings?

In fanfiction I’m quite intrigued by angsty stories but in more mainstream media I’ll go with a happy ending. Have you seen Never Been Kissed? Now that’s a film with a perfect fairytale happy ending.

Do you have any pets?

I have two wonderful cats, they were littermates and are about seven years old. One is relatively skinny and a bit clueless and the other one is relatively chubby and more bright (she’ll wave like a dog when she really wants attention).

What phone do you have?

I have an old Blackberry, the design is from around 2009 but I’ve had a replacement since then. Don’t get me wrong, I have considered getting an Iphone or a Samsung phone but there is something reassuring about typing on a proper QWERTY keyboard when texting! At this point, I’m not sure how I’ll adapt to touchscreens. Guess I might find out in the Autumn?

How would you describe your fashion sense?

I’ll make a big effort for special occasions like graduation – I tried on probably around forty dresses to select the one I eventually went with. There were about five or six that were really in the running at some point but the fit of that dress and its quirky design sold it to me.

More generally though, I’m not one for mainstream fashion. A t-shirt with an interesting design on it and a pair of harem pants or jeans depending on the weather and I’m sorted.

If you’ve got any other Q+A sets you’d like me to answer then get in touch! Were there any surprises in my answers?


Letter to my future self

Letter to my future self: who I hope you are

Letter to my future self: age 22

Dear Me,

That still feels weird. These posts feel a little bit like a mix of fiction and fact, my ¬†hopes and regrets mixed in with just a hint of fantasy. It’s easy to be dishonest when writing ‘letters to the future/past’. But here we go.

I hope you’ve managed to find something that you love. I’m not talking about a vocation or a job that is the absolute right fit, I know that is completely unrealistic. Millenial life isn’t usually that perfect. There are so many rants I could give about the political system and how it often feels like the young are being left behind, but that isn’t the story you’ll want me to tell.

Let’s be hopeful, right?

I can manage that for now. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the Creative Writing Course and as you finish up the final coursework have made the most of every opportunity there. The Freshers’ activities look incredible, with weird and wonderful chances like beekeeping up for the taking. I hope you made the most of it all, that¬†you’re happy and healthy and my family is too, as much as is possible. I have my fingers crossed that the weather is kind over the next year and we don’t have a winter like the one in 2010.

I’d be proud if you’ve been able to explore the world more than you have already and experience new places with new people. There are so many places I’d love to see and at least some of them are feasible in the short term, so hopefully in a year’s time I’ll have been to some of them.

I can sense that the first year post-graduation is going to be difficult and resilience will be even more important than it has been so far. I’ve made it through three years of a challenging degree, I can be confident I’ll be able to weather the academic/career storms of post-graduation life.

A letter to my future self focused on entirely short term prospects was never going to be entirely happy.

I know how challenging finding a grad job is going to be, for one thing. Still, I hope I’ll grow over the coming year just as much as I have over the last year.

Tenses are really difficult when writing a post like this, but I guess the final message of this is: I hope I’m a better person than I am today, three hundred and sixty five days on.

There’s a lot more I could say, but for now let’s leave it at that.

With all best wishes,



I’m Moving!

Hi readers,

Just a quick post to say that I’m migrating over to a new website, over at emmasdaydreams.com. It’ll be the same as this site, with all of the posts transferred over, but with a much prettier layout and a more structured posting schedule.

This site will remain online of course, but please come on over and check out the new home of this blog. I’ve copied over subscriptions so you’ll be able to keep up to date and if you have any comments or queries about the new site I’d love to answer them.

All the best!


Camp NaNoWriMo 2017, Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017: Day Two

It’s almost midnight here in England and I have yet to start on my writing for this month’s camp, but I am excited to start. It’ll be the first lot of prolonged writing in a good while because of my university exams etc, so it’ll be interesting to get started. Yesterday and a good portion of today went on unpacking and throwing away the detritus accumulated in my bedroom over the last four or five years. There was a lot. I’ve managed to throw away about ten bags full of papers and rubbish, with clothes to be donated, and it’s been like a cleanse of sorts.

I feel like an invisible boundary has been crossed between past and future, with all of the years post-Durham stretching ahead of me.

The image on the left, as you might have guessed, is a cropped version of my Camp novel and the photograph on the right is from graduation. Strange. I started this blog before I had even set off for university and here I am, coming out of the other side of the experience, still setting words down onto the page.

I’ve learned a lot and that is, of course, a


story for another day. The focus, for a little while at least, is going to be on starting my NaNo novel. I have no idea how to begin this one, though the thread of the story is running through my mind.

I’ll put on my music and I’ll try to lose myself in the words, once again…

It’s four minutes past midnight, a new day. The third day of July. I have accumulated 1016 words and have created the first d

raft of a prologue for the novel. It was a great exercise in character development and gave me something to think about for the next draft regarding how to introduce such a powerful character. It also involved a little bit of research (on the Senate House, Latin phrases and on the Third Century Crisis through skimming an interesting article on pandemics . Luckily the rest of the novel focuses on the fifth century, which I know a lot more about than the earlier period, so research will hopefully only consist of searching through my existing notes in that section of writing. For the first draft at least.


Fellow Campers, how is the writing going? I’d love to hear! And please, if you have any tips for writing historical fiction, I’d be grateful for them.

For now, I’ll leave you with a line from what I’ve just written:

Tributes in her name were not to make her strong, only to sustain her longer than she might otherwise have endured.

Until tomorrow my friends,




Small Great Things

Jodi Picoult Small Great Things Book Cover

Review of Small Great Things

First things first. I’ll start this review of Small Great Things by saying that I’ve read a lot of Picoult’s earlier books. Some I’ve absolutely loved and others have felt like wading through mud, trying to find the enjoyment in a story that seems completely without hope. I haven’t read any of Picoult’s books for a long time, probably for that reason. There’s something oddly formulaic about her books when taken as a whole (or when you read three of them in a row like I once did).

I’m not completely new to Picoult’s charms but I tried to go into this book with open eyes. I was pleasantly surprised. The two main characters, an African American nurse and a white racist (an understatement to say the least!) were diametrically opposed. This gave the book some of its greatest excitement, seeing the same events through different eyes really brought me into the story, although I was quite glad when the racist’s POV chapters started to slide away…

This book fits really well into the increasing trend for diversity in perspectives and the stories told in literature and I was pleased to hear that Picoult had found inspiration in the real challenges faced by people of colour in the medical profession in America. From the tone of the book and some of the reviews I read on Goodreads I can see hints of a slightly mixed reception to representations in Small Great Things. I didn’t see anything especially jarring but, of course, it’s very likely that I would miss some of these issues. The Epilogue is, I believe, one of the areas of contention. Without spoilers, I can see that it was intended to show the importance of redemption… but I’m not sure how I feel about it now, having seen the reactions of others.

I made it through this book in under two days which, considering my recent absence from the reading-for-enjoyment world, was pretty impressive. It was exciting and fast-paced, coming to a nailbiting conclusion at a pace that felt far quicker than the size of the book would suggest.

Small Great Things hasn’t left a lasting impression in the sense that it isn’t a book I would read again, now knowing the full plot, but I did enjoy it.

If you’ve read Small Great Things what did you think?

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017, Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017

NaNoWriMo has been a part of my life since I was around twelve or thirteen and it’s something that always gets the writing juices flowing, whether or an existing project, an idea I’ve been excited about or something that just flow from nothing during the month. This time around I have a sorta-plan that I’m looking forward to putting into action from today.

It’s called ROMA. Here’s the brief synopsis/stream of consciousness I wrote a few days ago while exploring the idea.

In the days after the cities fell, no-one noticed them. Hidden on the edges of conscience, it was easy to ignore what was little more than a whisper in your ear.  Embodying all the city had represented, and all it could never be again, they stood witness over the fall of civilisation. The bigger the city, the bolder its ghost.

Roma, the young woman standing by the hearth while twelve vultures circled overhead.

London, the man rapping as if his life depended on it.

Athens, the wizened old woman standing guard over the Acropolis as the city below burned.

And then there were  the smallest, from the Tier 4 cities that no-one seemed to notice. Places like Clermont, of France, or Newcastle in England.

In the rush to flee, the ghosts of these smaller cities were confused, without the solidity and reassurance granted to its more eminent cousins by the love of those around it.

Taking form and shape, from the sightless and nameless beings they had been before, they rushed out into the world.

As you might have seen if you’ve looked at some of my older blog posts, I usually design a quick book cover to use in the posts for that story. It has been a while since I’ve been able to do that for fiction, so here you go!

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