What's life like in someone else's shoes? This month Françoise Price invites Emma Read, award-winning author of Milton the Mighty, to tell us about her day and her forthcoming middle grade novel The Housetrap.

Emma Read with The Housetrap, publishing 6th July 2023



It’s day one of my eldest’s exams so I check she’s awake and up and isn’t going to sneak back into bed. I’m not a morning person, so I sneak back into bed. Next up is my partner who would normally make me a tea – as I’m not a morning person – but it’s a big day for him too, so I go downstairs and make us drinks and see my son off to school at 8.40am.

I could sneak back into bed …



But I have a busy day ahead, catching up. School holidays are tricky and, even though my pair are old enough to be self-sufficient – able to eat and play video games without any assistance – WFH, (ie working from home), at half-term isn’t exactly productive – ah, the life of a freelancer! But I’m energised at the thought of working to something resembling a schedule.

Mostly I love freelancing – when not doing taxes – my diary is varied and I get to choose what I’m doing on any given day, so today I start with feedback for my course students. I have two courses running at the moment for adults and children with Creative Writing Ink and so far the standard is superb. There are so many talented writers out there, a conviction which is confirmed as I finish my longlist reading for the WriteMentor Novel in Development Award … how am I supposed to choose? 

The entries are all so good.



My biggest nemesis is distraction and so, although I’ve finished the tasks I set myself for the morning, I’ve also fallen down a rabbit hole on social media. I need to reset my focus with a cup of tea and a quick game of Fortnite.



… a very quick game – oh dear! Still I levelled up enough to get that new skin I’ve been eyeing up … which will no doubt sound very weird to some people. Anyway back to work – my next task is to check over a structural edit report for a client to make sure I’ve covered everything I wanted to. Another of my various side-hustles. It all looks good and off it goes, something else to tick off in the diary. It’s going pretty well for a first day back.



I pop into town to collect some school uniforms and meet writer-friends for a coffee. I’m very lucky to live in Bath, which is not only beautiful but packed to the Abbey roof with children’s authors. It’s lovely to talk writing with people who understand and without my writing support groups IRL, (ie in real life), and online I wouldn’t be published today.

Mr B's Emporium in Bath

Then, a visit to Mr B’s Emporium where I try to escape with minimal book-buying but fail, before dashing back in time to volunteer at my local school library.



The library’s quiet – a sunny day in term 6 so I tidy up and snatch a quick read of an old favourite. 

Emma in the school library



Home again and the house is a hectic noise of YouTube and Spotify playlists … so it must be writing time! I can write just about anywhere – I wrote my first book when my kids were young and quickly learned to write amidst noise and disruption. I can’t edit like this, I need silence and peace, but I’m in the early drafting stages of a project so I’m brainstorming and writing bits here and there while simultaneously answering homework questions about WW2 and the digestive system. It’s a strangely productive environment as, although I’m available for interruption, I don’t get as distracted by my phone or email which is far more insidious!



My partner is cooking tonight – hurray! I hate cooking – so I take the opportunity to (properly) plan some promo for The Housetrap as well as think about the launch. My last book, Milton the Megastar, came out one week into lockdown so I’m really looking forward to this one. Mmm – big cake or small cakes? 


Dinner devoured, kids occupied, it’s our grown-up TV time. My partner and I are both pretty nerdy sci-fi fans and are currently rewatching The Expanse

As well as the current book I’m writing, I’m also mulling over another sci-fi idea for a book and as I watch, things pop into my mind. My OH has got used to me watching TV, eating, reading, skydiving* with a notebook to hand.

Emma with a proof of Gabriel Dylan's Shiver Point



OK, so you know I said I’m not a morning person … I’m not a night person today either! It’s been a hectic week so bed for me and a good book – tonight it’s the gloriously-hued proof of Gabriel Dylan’s new Shiver Point series … I hope it’s not too scary!



All other images courtesy of Emma Read.


Emma Read is the author of Times Children’s book of the year 2019, Milton the Mighty, and the upcoming spooky MG The Housetrap. As well as writing her own books she tries to help other writers realise their dreams as part of WriteMentor, Creative Writing Ink and IaminPrint. You can also find her editing novels at where she works with writers at all stages of their writing journey.

Twitter: emmydee73
Insta: ediereadie
Substack: Emma Read Writes


Françoise Price is Deputy Editor of Words & Pictures magazine. Contact her at


Shannon Ell is Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures. Contact them at

Tita Berredo is the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and Art Director of Words & Pictures. Contact her at

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