Escape Artists #3: Fleeing Fleet Street and Setting Sail for a Novel Life with Author Emma Bamford

Today I interview journalist and debut author Emma Bamford who fled Fleet Street to sail the high seas with a complete stranger (and his cat), before penning a memoir about her adventures, which was recently published by Bloomsbury.

Emma began her journalistic life working for regional newspapers, before transferring to London’s Fleet Street – the epicentre of newspaper publishing – to join the rat race. She enjoyed a wildly successful career working first as a Deputy Features Editor for the Daily Express, and later as a News Editor for both The Independent and the i newspapers. Eventually tiring of working long hours and watching her friends settle down to husbands, babies and detached houses, Emma realised that it was time to embrace the freedom that she had as a single woman and decided to go in search of her own happiness. Answering an internet advert for “Crew Wanted”, Emma packed in her job, bought a one-way ticket to Borneo, and began a sailing adventure that would culminate in her debut novel, Casting Off, and the discovery of a desire to write books instead of articles.

You can watch the interview below or on YouTube, and listen above, on the iTunes podcast feed, or on Stitcher.

We discuss:

  • Personal change and why you alone are responsible for finding your own happiness
  • Writing as an artform and why not all types of writing are the same
  • How Emma boldly pitched an editor and landed a book deal without having an agent
  • The process of working with a publisher to turn a manuscript into a finished book
  • The realities of a publishing contract and what a publisher will (and will not!) provide for its authors
  • How to approach journalists/publications to get media coverage for your book/story
  • The subjectivity of writing and how to handle rejection
  • Avoiding brain drain and how to find the headspace to write
  • The importance of a support network when you are working alone
  • Funding sources for writers and how to manage financial insecurity when starting out
  • Definitions of success and why “making it” means different things to different people

I love hearing your feedback and questions, so please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me here.

More Emma

Casting Off




Recommended Reading

Wanna Be A Writer We’ve Heard Of? (Secrets to Success) by Jane Wenham-Jones

On Writing by Stephen King

Media Opportunities

National Geographic Traveller (magazine featuring an author series)

Grazia (magazine featuring trends and real life series)

Funding and Networking


Writing East Midlands

Arts Council England

MA Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University


Comments 2

  1. A great site, Marisha, and I really enjoyed this interview with Emma Bamford. Your remark: ‘Social media and instant messaging are completely detrimental to writing’ was music to my ears. I occasionally blog along these lines and rarely encounter such forthright like-mindedness. Thank you so much!

    1. Post

      Thanks, Marcus! I’m glad that you enjoyed the interview. I will be checking out your blog as it’s great to meet like-minded folk. Somehow knowing that social media and instant messaging are detrimental to writing doesn’t stop us all using them; therein lies the challenge, I think!

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