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An Interview with Emily Hood, author of The Black That Surrounds Us

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Debut author Emily Hood is a primary school teacher from Warwickshire, UK. She started writing nearly two years ago and is incredibly excited for her debut release, The Black That Surrounds Us. She has several other works in progress, all based around the fantastical Vadorian Universe. When she isn’t writing, she is spreading her love of creativity through teaching, drawing animals, or taking long walks.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I’ve written from a young age but reading fantasy works such as the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber for me inspired to begin writing. I was enthralled by her work and writing, transported into her fantasy worlds and I wanted to do the same.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

After reading fantasy series such as ACOTAR, Caraval, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I began writing my first book, which will be released later this year. The idea for TBTSU came when I began posting about Onyx, who is a side character in the original book. Everyone on Instagram raved about her backstory and I began putting more detail into it. It quickly became the plot line for The Black That Surrounds Us.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The Black That Surrounds Us is about the darkness of unknown in Onyx’s life that gets more overwhelming as she attempts to navigate her way through survival.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

I made an unofficial soundtrack for TBTSU, with songs such as “Playground” by Bea Miller, “Death Order Us” by Elsie Bay, and “How Villains Are Made” by Madalen Duke.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I’m a primary school teacher. I’ve also done art commissions and worked at a castle!

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

Once Upon a Broken Heart was a big one for me, as well as A Court of Thorns and Roses. I comfort read a lot of Poirot!

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope that readers have a lasting impression of our voiceless main character. The independence of Onyx is stripped away from her at the start and she is left to rely and trust those she shouldn’t—yet by the end of the story, all of this may change. I hope they finish reading my story with a want to read more about the characters in the Vadorian Universe. My perfect reader adores high fantasy with comical characters and found family. I will always adore those who read my book, and am forever grateful for all of the support.

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