This week’s guest is the very lovely Emma Haughton, whose (literally) chilling thriller,The Dark, was published by Hodder in August 2021. She grew up in Sussex, then after a stint au pairing in Paris and a couple of half-hearted attempts to backpack across Europe, she studied English at Oxford University before training in journalism. During her career, she wrote many articles for national newspapers, including regular pieces for the Times Travel section.
Following publication of her picture book, Rainy Day, Emma wrote three YA novels. Her first, Now You See Me, was an Amazon bestseller and nominated for the Carnegie and Amazing Book Awards. Better Left Buried, her second, was one of the best YA reads for 2015 in the Sunday Express. Her third YA novel, Cruel Heart Broken, was picked by The Bookseller as a top YA read for July 2016.
Who was your first crush?
Romantically, a boy called Richard who joined our year when I was 12. He was gloriously popular and barely knew I existed. My first non-romantic crush was Enid Blyton. I wanted to be George in The Famous Five so badly it hurt.
What was your favourite toy?
Lego. I used to nick my brother’s stuff if I was off sick from school and build the world’s most boring houses. I had no talent for it, but I liked all the different colours.
Do you find it hard to take criticism?
Doesn’t everyone? I need a good week after edit notes arrive to have a good sulk before I can even begin to take it on board.
How often do you change your sheets?
I’m not even going to answer that because the answer is so appalling. But I do regularly change my pyjamas!
Do you empty your own hoover bag?
Have you set up a spycam in my house or something? These questions are disconcertingly close to the mark! The answer is I so very rarely use the hoover that it isn’t much of an issue.
What’s your most treasured possession?
My dogs, followed by any memorabilia from my childhood or my children’s. I find it really difficult to throw anything away.
Would you rather have four arms or four legs?
This is exactly the kind of question my kids would ask me about fifty times a day! The easy answer is four arms, cos I love knitting and crochet and I could work on two things at once.
What was your first gig?
I did a panel at the Edinburgh Book Festival for one of my YA books. It’s a complete blur of nerves and me saying things I’ve now thankfully forgotten.
Which actor do you fancy the most?
I had a huge crush on Gerard Depardieu when I – and he – was younger. Now I’d probably pick someone like Jared Harris. I’m much more into interesting faces and character than classic good looks.
What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?
When I was around 12 or 13 I babysat for a neighbour. A neighbour from the other side, a girl a few years older than me, decided it would be a massive hoot to pretend to break in while I was sitting alone watching telly in the lounge. I could these noises getting closer and closer and was so petrified I couldn’t move. When she finally burst into the room, laughing, I had an actual fit of hysterical crying.
Did you like school?
Not really. I just remember being very, very bored most of the time. I’d drift off into daydreams and leave the lesson having no clue what it was about. That said, it was better than home, and I had a core group of friends to gossip in the girl’s loos with every break and lunchtime.
When was the last time you were arrested?
It’s never happened. I’m very good at not being caught.
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