SCBWI FACES Emma Finlayson-Palmer


Let's go behind the scenes at SCBWI-BI to meet the volunteers who keep our Society ticking. This month, Anne Boyere chats to Emma Finlayson-Palmer, Social Media team.

What do you write? 

I like to write a bit of a mix of genres and age groups, but my favourite is chapter books for 5-8 year olds. I also love writing flash fiction and older stories for Teens, particularly darker genres like Thrillers and Horror.

Do you have a job as well as volunteering? 

I am a freelance editor with Word Witches, and also edit and mentor for #WriteMentor. Alongside that I childmind part time and work lunchtimes as a supervisor in a local primary school.


Describe your writing space. If you don't have one can you describe your favourite place to write? 

I can write almost anywhere but the majority of my writing takes places in the living room surrounded by my chaotic family. I have created a little writing corner with a table and shelves and lots of lovely stationery!


It sounds like it’s busy in your house! How do you manage to reconcile family life with what looks like a very full writing, editing and volunteering life?

I have a writing desk in the corner of the living room and have trained myself to work amongst the chaos and kids! Working in the living room means I feel like I'm still spending lots of time with my family. It also has the added benefit of a less guilt-ridden option if I'm not hiding away to write all the time. Scheduling writing time and being as organised as family life allows me, helps get words down and jobs done.

How does your every day life, your family, influence your writing?

My family are very supportive of my writing, though they are still not convinced we won't be moving into a castle once my books are published! They are also a constant source of inspiration with their escapades and random thoughts and comments throughout the day. I do find little things they say and do, and things about our cats or chickens creep into my writing. I am inspired and influenced every day by the amazing kidlit community. I'm also a Twitter addict so keeping in touch with other writers and seeing their writing journeys are great to see. I never realised how much watching videos of writers unboxing their books could bring such joy until this last year!

Why did you decide to become an SCBWI Volunteer? 

I decided to volunteer as I love being part of the children's writing community and I have made so many lovely friends and contacts via SCBWI crit groups and online. It's nice for me to be able to give something back to that community, however small a part that may be.


How long have you been a volunteer? 

I have been volunteering since 2018. 

Describe the main tasks of your role as a SCBWI volunteer. 

My role mainly involves social media and helping to run the SCWBI Twitter account, for which I currently am Girl Thursday and Friday.

What are the advantages of being a volunteer? 

Volunteering has helped me discover other writers and illustrators that I might not have come across otherwise. Also, being on the SCBWI Twitter account is a fantastic resource for discovering events such as book launches, workshops, competitions, festivals and more, which has been especially wonderful in the last year.


How many hours per week do you spend volunteering?

It varies, as a lot of that time is tweeting and RTing tweets of members of SCBWI, and relevant writing and illustration posts throughout Thursdays and Fridays, and the occasional other days if someone needs their day covered.


Do the boundaries between volunteering get blurred or do you have clear schedules writing/volunteering times/space? 

My volunteering all occurs online so the volunteering is flexible and fits around whatever is going on those days. But I do have two set days a week of volunteering so it's all in my schedule.


Favourite children’s book and why? 

In the last year or so I've read the Amelia Fang books, a lower MG series written and illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson. I loved reading them with my youngest, who shares my love of maps in books and funny stories with unusual characters and cute pet pumpkins, and gorgeous illustrations. Cheating slightly, but on of my favourite reads as a child was The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, and I still love anything magical now.


Emma Finlayson-Palmer lives in the West Midlands with her husband and a multitude of children, cats and chickens. A writer of children’s fiction, with a special love of chapter books, she is represented by Veronique Baxter of the David Higham agency and her debut chapter book, Autumn Moonbeam: Dance Magic, will be released by UCLan in 2022. Emma runs #ukteenchat, a writing themed chat on Twitter, and has been a #WriteMentor mentor from its inaugural year and now edits, mentors and reads competition entries for both the #WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award and the short story competition for the #WriteMentor magazine. She’s also one half of Word Witches with fellow mentor and editor, Carolyn Ward. You can find Emma on Twitter @FinlaysonPalmer


Anne Boyere is a breastfeeding counsellor and bilingual writer. She runs #SCBWIchat on Twitter, where you can find her @AmusedNonQueen


The header image is by Irene Silvino. Irene Silvino is an illustrator based in London and founder of Editartz. She loves to illustrate people (especially focusing on their feelings and emotions), nature and animals! Find her at


If you have a SCBWI event that would be of interest to SCBWI-BI members, please contact Fran Price at

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