Author Spotlight: Emily B. Kerros

We are pleased to introduce Emily B. Kerros. Emily recently published Humphrey’s Motel with us, which is now available through the Word Alive Press Bookstore, and everywhere fine Christian books are sold. We asked Emily to share a little bit about her new book and her writing. But first, a little bit about her.


Emily B. Kerros lives in a small town in Manitoba. In fact, she’s only ever lived in Manitoba, a prairie girl through and through. She inherited her mom’s dream of becoming an author, penning her first manuscript at age eleven and presenting it to her grandpa one Christmas. The manuscript was terrible, but her grandpa was thrilled. Emily then decided that she wanted to write for the people she loved, even if she never became an author.

Emily B. Kerros

Growing up, Emily’s favourite pastimes were reading and writing. Really, anything involving books. She fell in love with mysteries at a young age, reading her mom’s old collection of Nancy Drew mysteries on the bus rides to and from school. With three older brothers, it’s perhaps no surprise that Emily eventually gravitated towards tough-guy golden-age writers like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Ross MacDonald, who helped inspire her debut novel, Humphrey’s Motel.

Emily grew up going to church but struggled with the idea of faith amid personal trials and hardships. It wasn’t until she was in her early twenties that she truly began to have a relationship with her heavenly Father. She believes that writing has brought her closer to Him.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Emily enjoys doing yoga, puzzling, baking, and spending time with her cat. She feels excited, and incredibly blessed, to begin this new journey as an author!


Q: What makes Humphrey’s Motel unique in the mystery genre?
A: I like to call Humphrey’s Motel cozy-noir, which probably seems like a juxtaposition. When writing it, I took inspiration from the noir mystery classics that I loved and added a lighter, sort of escapist atmosphere. I ended up with exactly the kind of book I wanted to read: clean and cozy, but with the noir writing style that I enjoy.

Q: Why was it important to you to set your book in Canada, specifically Manitoba?
A: So many of the old-school novels I admire, written by Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, are American. I wanted to write something similar, a nod to the classics but with a Canadian prairies twist. I haven’t read many books set in small-town Manitoba. It’s always fun to see different parts of Canada expressed in works of fiction.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from Humphrey’s Motel?
A: First of all, I hope readers are encouraged. Humphrey’s Motel is a murder mystery, yes, but it’s ultimately the story of a man who is struggling with lies, a lost past, and personal tragedy. He is reminded that there is still goodness and hope in an imperfect world, and I hope readers can be encouraged by the same.

I also hope readers find the cozy mystery, fictional prairie town, and quirky characters entertaining. Nothing’s more fun than a good whodunit!

Q: Did you learn anything interesting about yourself while writing Humphrey’s Motel?
A: Funnily enough, I learned that I am actually quite cynical by nature. This was something I hadn’t realized before I started writing Humphrey’s Motel. The character of Humphrey is himself quite cynical and I found myself wondering how I was able to write such a close first-person narrative when I was so different than my character. Until it dawned on me that maybe we weren’t so different. Oh well. Self-awareness is a good thing, right?

Q: What is your writing process like?
A: I work a full-time job at a dental office, which I thoroughly enjoy, but needless to say I can’t devote as much time to writing as I would like. So I write when I can, and I don’t pressure myself. Writing when I’m tired or exhausted after a long day never works. I need my mind sharp! I jot down notes and ideas, character names, and little bits of dialogue all the time, no matter where I am. Usually I’ll let an idea simmer for a day or two before I sit down to write it. That way I have a full-fledged piece of the story that I can work with.

I definitely don’t write everything in order. I have a detailed outline, which is especially helpful as a mystery writer since I plot everything backwards. But this also means I can jump into any part of the story and start writing.

Now that I’m explaining this, it sounds very unorganized. It’s a miracle Humphrey’s Motel exists at all!

Q: Do you have any advice for new writers?
A: Write what you know. It’s not new advice. I’m not sure where it originated. But it’s the advice my mom gave me while I was writing Humphrey’s Motel. That doesn’t mean you can’t research and learn new things while you’re writing, but it does mean that, to some extent, you have to have lived the story you want to share.

Read a lot! Read anything and everything, but especially read the type of books you want to write. Reading leads to better writing. And it helps with writer’s block.

Finally, trust the process. Writing is personal. Sharing your writing can be difficult. Publishing can be scary. Editing can be daunting. Pray about it. I often recall a prayer that is referenced in Jan Karon’s Mitford series as “the prayer that never fails,” which is simply “Thy will be done.” It’s a reminder that whatever is supposed to happen will happen. Your heavenly Father has everything in His hands, even your writing journey. What a reassuring thought!

Hopefully there will be more Humphrey’s Motel mysteries to come!

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