Author Emily Lim of Singapore offers insights on her journey as a writer and tips on writing for children in this exclusive interview with MAI. Enjoy this preview of her upcoming MAI webinar on May 20.
MAI: Your children’s stories have great characters and story lines. How do you come up with your story ideas?
Emily: My first four titles (which make up my Toy Series) were inspired by my personal journey and written very subconsciously. My first book Prince Bear & Pauper Bear, about a teddy bear whose toymaker forgot to stitch him a mouth, was influenced by me losing my voice to a rare voice disorder for 10 years and recovering it through my faith journey of coming to know Christ personally. The book themes cover brokenness, grace, second chances, redemptive love and restoration. I did not plan on the themes but uncovered them after writing the story.
MAI: Your books appeal to both general and Christian readers. Is this intentional? What advice would you give to Christian writers who want to target a general audience but incorporate biblical values?
Emily: I wrote intentionally for a broader market as I wanted to reach beyond the Christian market. My advice would be to write from your personal experiences, emotions and struggles through your own faith journey. Don’t tell your readers what to believe. Show them why you believe through your story and let them come to that conclusion themselves.
MAI: Are there any cultural or other particulars you keep in mind writing for an Asian readership?
Emily: No. So far, I gravitate toward universal themes in my writing, so it connects with my readers regardless of where they are from.
MAI: What advice would you give writers who want to try their hand at writing for children?
Emily: #1. Read as many books as you can of the kind of books which you are interested in writing about. Understand the market and your audience.
#2. Connect with other writers and form a writer’s group to exchange manuscript critiques. It can make a huge difference in your writing.
#3. Read up on expert advice from children’s writers who have written successfully in areas of your interest. There are so many free resources available on the net these days.
#4. Write from your heart and what you are passionate about. Don’t chase trends because any themes which may be popular today will have been overwritten by tomorrow.
MAI: How can people around the globe purchase your children’s books?
MAI: We appreciate your generosity in sharing your time and talents with writers around the world, Emily.
<<Watch a news interview with Emily Lim about the rare voice disorder that prompted her journey into writing.