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Emily Lonie - Author and Archivist

Updated: Jan 20

Emily Lonie was born in Ottawa but now calls Vancouver home, where she loves all the natural beauty the city has to offer. Corben and the Crow Commute is her first novel. Find more crow stuff at

1. What inspires you?

I am inspired by new challenges. I am a committed life-long learner who always takes the opportunity to learn a new skill and I love taking up new hobbies and pouring myself into them. This was how writing came into my life. I am an avid film buff and after getting a short story published, I had the urge to turn the story into a screenplay. I didn’t know where to start so I took an introductory screenwriting class through Langara College, and I was hooked! My debut novel Corben and the Crow Commute started its life as a feature-length animated screenplay.

2. How do you get over “writer’s block”?

I have never successfully pushed past writer’s block by sitting at the computer. I have found that taking a walk and deliberately observing my surroundings helps me to push past the block. I think that new surroundings and curiosity can help to clear the fog and encourage your mind to take a different path.

3. Would you and your main character get along?

I admire Corben’s sense of adventure. I think he would encourage me to let go of my inhibitions and experience all kinds of exciting new experiences. I was always a very keen student, so the Corben we meet at the beginning of the novel and I might disagree on the value of education and we might not see eye to eye on family responsibilities. But I have so much respect for the way that Corben grows and matures through his experiences and the way he stays true to himself while helping others.

4. What is your schedule like when you’re writing a book?

If I am inspired to write, then it becomes all-encompassing. I will write during every free moment I have until the story is out of me. I will typically wake up with an idea and hurry to jot down all the salient points before they slip away. As soon as I can find some time, I will write until I feel that the writing is becoming a slog–that’s my cue to leave it for the day.

5. Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

My cat Jesse regularly wanders across my keyboard to contribute a “shidhisohbklnnnnnnnnnnsss” or two before I can relocate the keyboard and give him the chin scratches he’s after.

6. What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

It feels almost cliché, but “show don’t tell” was the most valuable piece of advice I received when learning the art of screenwriting. In a screenplay, your writing is constrained by what the audience will be able to see. With the exception of narrated segments, the audience has no way of knowing a character’s thoughts unless they are expressed visually, through the composition of a scene or through the actor’s performance. Figuring out how to show and not tell is a fascinating challenge and one that forces a writer to think visually. When I converted my screenplay into the novel version of Corben and the Crow Commute, the visual aspects of the story were already so prominent because I was seeing the film in my head while I wrote it. By showing, not telling, I was trying to help others to see it too.

7. Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?

I much prefer the feel of a printed book in my hands. I love the tactile nature of the reading experience. How heavy the book feels in my hands. The sheen or matte coating on the cover. The choice of typeface and paper. All these elements contribute to my enjoyment of reading and, although I tried ebooks, they just couldn’t replicate the feeling of holding a physical book. The exception would be for non-fiction. I adore listening to an author read their own words and will always choose an audiobook for a memoir or collection of essays.

8. Do you let people read your work before it is finished?

I am incredibly fortunate to be part of a writing group called the Archivists Who Write. The four of us have worked as professional archivists and we discovered that we all had a passion for writing fiction. We have been meeting since late 2019 to review each other’s work and offer support, suggestions, and words of encouragement when the publishing world gets us down. The ladies in my writing group were there from the very moment Corben hatched in my mind and once the screenplay was complete, they encouraged me to re-purpose the story into a novel. They are Corben’s biggest fans!

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to our readers, Emily!

Please follow Emily on social media and check out her website for more information about her debut novel, Corben and the Crow Commute!

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