Emmerson Brand is a high school student and a writer of historical fiction, living in Perth, Western Australia with her family. She is a mad fan of Bernard Cornwell and plans to own all of his novels one day.
Around 4 years ago, she started work on her soon-to-be published novel SPIRIT OF FIRE. From a young age she had always been interested in reading and writing. For a school project, she had been asked to write a short story based on Australian history, and it was in researching for that story that she discovered her ancestry. She was suddenly introduced to all these characters that she had never known existed, and she wanted to meet them and understand what their life was like and how they lived.
With the knowledge that one part of her ancestry was Scottish, Emmerson researched the entire history of her ancestral clan. It was in this research (and bawling her eyes out over Braveheart) that she found out about King Robert the Bruce and the Scottish Wars of Independence. She spent almost all her waking hours on research and planned to write a fictional first-person account of these events told by the Scottish King’s daughter, Marjorie. She wanted people to empathise as she had and felt that by writing a novel, she could do that.
She started sharing drafted chapters of the story with her closest friends and family. People really enjoyed the idea of this novel, but she personally felt like she could never get this story any further than her closest relations. She spent over four years writing this one story (not to mention a few bouts of writers block and complete lack of motivation at some stages). It wasn’t until halfway through 2016 that she picked up her all-time favourite book series The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini and was reminded that this author wrote his first book at age 15. This inspired her belief that she could actually be published one day, so she returned to SPIRIT OF FIRE and rewrote almost the entire original story.
By this time she had also been in touch with her mother’s high-school friend, Michelle Dennis, who had just become a published author of a children’s fantasy series. It was also the fact that she knew someone close to her who had been published that gave her hope. Feeling like she was ready but also not quite sure of herself, she submitted her novel to a publisher without the knowledge of her parents. Expecting a rejection, she refused to tell anyone that she had submitted. About a month later she received an email from the company, saying that they had reviewed her manuscript and they’d approved it. She was the happiest person in the world at that point in time.
She never believed that such a thing could ever happen to her. For one, she always thought she was too young, and two, she never thought that she was good enough. She knows that this is only her first novel, but she plans to finish Marjorie’s story and continue on with her fantasy series.