Interview with Emily Mah Tippetts, author of Someone Else’s Fairytale

As you may know, Emily’s Someone Else’s Fairytale was the first and only chicklit I have read (You can find my review here). And, she writes fantasy and science fiction besides chicklit! I have no idea what was going on in my mind, LOL. But, I seem to have liked the book, so I was quite interested in finding out more about this wonderful and multi-talented writer. Here’s a tidbit I learned from talking to her. She knows Orson Scott Card. Yes, personally! So, lets dive in to find out more!

Interview with author Emily Mah Tippetts

Describe your books? What genre would you classify it into?

I write light romance or chick lit, which to me means I do happy endings, and thus spend most of my writing time trying to devise twists and turns that will keep the reader interested and an ending the audience wants, but not in the way they expect. Those are the ideals I strive for, at least.

How did you come up with the idea for Someone Else’s Fairytale?

I was browsing entertainment headlines and not really understanding what all the hype was about. It occurred to me that if I got hit on by a celebrity, that could complicate my life, and that was the genesis of this idea, an ironic take on fairytales.

So Emily, do you have a fairytale you wish would come true? What is it?

To make a living as a writer. It’s the one I’ve been working on all my life.

If an actor were to woo you, what would your reaction be? Would you be interested?

I think I’d probably burst out laughing, given I’m a married, religious mother of two! Because I’m married, I wouldn’t be interested in anyone else, but if I were single, it would depend on the kind of person he was. I wouldn’t make any decisions based solely on his career. I’d want to meet his family.

Are you a fangirl of anyone in the world?

Oh, tons of people. My favorite actress is Drew Barrymore. I saw nearly all the Harry Potter movies on opening day, and the Star Wars movies. It’s a very cool time to be alive. There are a lot of things to be excited about. I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the Hunger Games movie.

Who is you favourite character? Is there a character in the book you think the readers will hate?

That’s always hard to say. I love them all! I hope that in Fairytale people will forgive all the characters’ weaknesses by the end. Many of the characters have real flaws, but who doesn’t?

You write in both fantasy and science fiction and chicklit genres. Which do you enjoy more and why?

It’s hard to say which I enjoy more. Science fiction and fantasy are where my imagination can go wild, while chick lit is more restrictive. Writing in a world in which a dragon or alien spaceship can’t come blasting through to make a scene interesting is a challenge sometimes. I suppose I see it as an exercise in plotting and characterization.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began at the age I was able to hold a pencil and never stopped. As for why, that’s hard to say. It’s what I’ve always done. I wouldn’t be me without it.

How has your journey from writing to getting published been?

Long, full of twists and turns, and through a landscape that is changing fast! My first ever publishing credit came when I was 30 years old, a lot older than I’d dreamed of being as a little girl. It was a science fiction story to an anthology. A few months later I sold my first chick lit to a small press. While my science fiction/fantasy career has proceeded the traditional way with more sales to higher profile markets, my chick lit career has been insane. After I published that novel, I parted ways with that publisher over a contract dispute – which I have never, for a moment, regretted. My next two chick lits just sat on my hard drive for a few years while the indie publishing movement took off. Now, I was raised in the world of traditional publishing, in which self-publishing was perceived as being for losers with more money than artistic ability. That taboo has started to fall away somewhat, so last year I took the plunge and published myself. The result is that I have a career that is completely different than what I dreamed of as a child, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Fairytale was the first novel I wrote in which the characters really, truly came alive for me, so I had the interesting challenge of getting them to work for the plot while still being themselves. I did so many rewrites it was ridiculous – and I’ve always done more rewrites than average. I have whole sections of that book memorized, I reworked them so many times.

What was the hardest part of writing the book?

The biggest challenge is typing a novel with a small child running around screaming, or kicking you in the back (which is what is happening right now). The advantage of this is that I only write novels that can hold my focus despite this, and I’d like to think that makes them compelling. (One can dream, can’t they?)

Who designed the covers of the books?

Jenn Reese of Tiger Bright Studios ( I highly recommend her; she’s fantastic. She’s also a writer and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of her novel, Above World. I know her from the science fiction community and we met at a workshop.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that it’s worth waiting for ideas that really captivate me. Writing is hard work, and falling in love with your characters makes the journey more enjoyable, albeit no easier!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

I’m sure that if I reread it I’d have a million edits, but part of being a professional is knowing when to let go. Put your new skills and perspective into the next project.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Was there somewhere in the book you felt stuck?

Whenever I feel stuck, I know I’m missing out on something pivotal. It’s a warning to me that I need to sit back and really think. In Fairytale, it was the scene when Jason shows up on Chloe’s doorstep with ice cream. I originally envisioned that scene as farcical. The super famous guy shows up to spoon feed her and she’s annoyed at the inconvenience, while every other woman would kill for an experience like that. It’s the first scene I ever imagined from the book. In the end, though, that scene wasn’t farcical at all. A little ironic maybe, but I hope it isn’t amusing. If I wrote it right, it’s the scene in which reader loyalties shift from one main character to the other. That’s when they should start hoping Jason gets what he wants.

What are your current projects?  When is your next book coming out? What genre will it be in?

I’m working on 1) converting my old science fiction and fantasy short stories to Kindle format, 2) putting together an anthology with my classmates who attended Clarion West back in 2001, and 3) another chick lit, though this one has a much younger protagonist.

Could you describe what happens in that book? Can we get an excerpt?

Madison is sixteen, lives with her single, working mother in a small town on the rocky coast of northern California, and knows barely anything about their past. This book is about her finding out, and I won’t give too much away, other than the fact that the story kicks off when a Mormon missionary comes to town and starts acting like a lunatic. I’d provide an excerpt if I had any ready for show, but I’m still in the midst of writing and rewriting until the scenes don’t look awful. This takes weeks if not months.

What book are you reading now? Which are your all-time favourite authors / books?

I’m reading Analog’s latest issue right now, though having said that, I haven’t picked up my Kindle in days. Too busy writing. My all-time favorite book would be hard to name, there are so many. The book that changed me the most was Songmaster by Orson Scott Card. I read it in high school and it opened my eyes to the world of soft science fiction, or science fiction that doesn’t hinge solely upon a scientific concept or technology. I knew then that I wanted to be a science fiction writer. It also got me interested in Card’s other work, and as it so happens, Card was the first writer whom I got to know. I sent him an email and he responded. We talked back and forth for a few months.

And then in an almost unrelated anecdote, I met his son Geoff. He’s the one who gave me my first copy of the Book of Mormon and he is also the person who baptized me in the Church. (We also dated briefly, but my baptism happened after we’d both moved on.) I guess you can say Songmaster started a series of events that changed my life in just about every possible way.

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you, something you could not read just about anywhere.

  1. When I was a child, I used to carry around a toy F-16 – the fighter jet that the Thunderbirds (the US Airforce’s stunt flying team) fly. I always got a lot of weird looks from boys who thought planes and jets were their domain. Along those same lines, a lot of people still argue that science fiction is for boys. They are wrong!
  2. My husband’s first ever gift to me, when we were dating, was an ergonomic keyboard. I knew then that he was the one.
  3. I used to play a lot of World of Warcraft. I haven’t had time lately, but I have a level 85 Dranei shaman, dual specced, resto/elemental. I always played the healer in raids because I’m terrible at moving and casting spells at the same time. This way I could just stand at the back and not get in anyone’s way.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support of my career!

Quick-fire questions:

ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
Ebooks, they’re cheaper, arrive immediately, and pay the author higher royalties.

Cats or dogs?
Dogs, specifically Norwegian Elkhounds

Coffee or tea?
Neither. I’m Mormon. (Unless red tea counts – love that)

Favourite food?
Green chile grown in Hatch, NM, or if I can’t find that, Indian (no really, not just saying that)

Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?
Chocolate, definitely

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
I wish I could say my keys and phone were in that list but at least my two children are, so I’m not that out of it. My Kindle and my wallet would be the other two.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Anywhere, really. I have to be able to write anywhere or else I’d never write. As for time, I need to do a little every day or I go into withdrawal. Hence, anytime, as long as it’s less than 24 hours from the last time.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you and why?
Honestly? 3 people famous for their ability to build boats or airplanes from natural, found materials. I’d want to get back to my family.

List 3 of your all-time favourite movies and 3 of your all-time favourite songs/bands.
Star Wars: A New Hope, Pride and Prejudice – the BBC version, and Clueless
For bands, Vanessa Carlton, Tori Amos (you can tell I have a thing for pianos), and Jeremy Camp

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
Do web released shows count? I’m a huge fan of The Guild by Felicia Day. (She created it, writes it, and stars in it)

Actor you have had a crush on?
You know what? None really. I’ve had crushes on plenty of characters, like Luke Skywalker when I was little, but the actors were always people I didn’t know.

Who are your all-time favourite actor and actress?
Actor: Leonardo DeCaprio (and yes, I was a fan looong before Titanic came out) Actress: Drew Barrymore (I have a real thing for redemption stories, and she’s good at her job too)

Who are your favourites among the ones acting today?
Fortunately those two are still working! I’ll also go out of my way when possible to see the Gyllenhaals (Jake or Maggie) and Ethan Hawke (though I’m really behind on his movies)


Emily Mah Tippetts writes light romance as E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in New Mexico with her family. She is a former attorney who specialized in contracts and literary estate planning, and now also works as a jewelry designer. Her designs for Book Jewelry by Emily Mah are for sale on Emily’s own website is

You can find Emily here:

Blog    |    Website    |    Facebook Page    |    Twitter

Amazon    |    Smashwords    |    Goodreads    |    Jewellery Store

Emily’s books

Jason Vanderholt is the hottest actor in Hollywood. Chloe Winters is a college student who hasn’t gotten around to watching most of his films. When they meet by chance, he is smitten and Chloe becomes the woman every other woman in America is dying to be, but it just isn’t her fairytale.

Ritesh Kala’s Review

“Imaginative and well crafted, Someone Else’s Fairytale is one of the best stories I’ve read. You’ll fall in love with the characters and have your own delightful ‘fairytale good feeling’ when you finish it. Novel Rocket and I give it a high recommendation.” Ane Mulligan, VP and Senior Editor, Novel Rocket

Buy on Amazon:    Paperback    |    Kindle

Eliza Dunmar is about to turn thirty-one and fears her best days are behind her. She’ll soon be too old to attend church in her singles ward, her career as a painter is no longer considered cool, and she feels too old to use the excuse that she’s “just starting out” to explain why she can’t pay the bills. The only man interested in her is a scruffy, video game addicted nerd who is the first to admit they are all wrong for each other.

When her beloved Aunt Nora calls from England and begs her to visit, Eliza leaps at the chance. Even better? Nora had the perfect romance with her late husband and is eager to share the tale. As Eliza immortalizes this courtship in a series of paintings, she learns a lesson that will change the way she sees life and love forevermore.

Buy on Amazon:    Kindle


5 responses to “Interview with Emily Mah Tippetts, author of Someone Else’s Fairytale

  1. I know Emily and I’m glad you liked her book.

  2. Very nice interview! I am looking forward to reading Someone Else’s Fairytale. It’s on my kindle now. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Guest Post by Erin Lale author of Cassandra’s Time Yarns « alchemyofscrawl

  4. Pingback: Someone Else’s Fairytale by Emily Mah Tippetts Review | Ritesh Kala's Book Reviews

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