June 6, 2021

Emilya Naymark

Emilya Naymark

In this episode, Linda Hengerer talks with Emilya Naymark about her debut novel Hide in Place, writing, parent's fears, Russian food, and Brighton Beach aka Little Odessa.

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In this episode, Linda Hengerer talks with Emilya Naymark.

Emilya Naymark’s debut novel is “Hide In Place” from Crooked Lane Books. Her short stories appear in the Harper Collins anthology A Stranger Comes to Town,  Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTORY.

She has a degree in fine art, and her artworks have been published in numerous magazines and books. When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the New York Hudson Valley with her family.

Visit her website at EmilyaNaymark.com/Author/

Sign up for Emilya's newsletter: EmilyaNaymark.com/author/newsletter/

Facebook: facebook.com/ENaymark

Twitter: twitter.com/emilyanaymark

Get to know Emilya - The Tart Words Baker's Dozen:

1.   Plotter or Pantser? Combo? Plotter!

2.   Tea or Coffee? Tea, rabidly

3.   Beer, Wine, or Cocktails? Beer with an occasional Cocktail. Allergic to wine. 

4.   Snacks: Sweet or Savory? Sweet tooth (alas)

5.   Indie Published, Traditionally Published, or Hybrid? Traditionally

6.   Strict Writing Schedule: Yes or No Yes

7.    Strictly Computer or Mix It Up? Mix it up

8.    Daily Goal: Yes or No Yes

9.    Formal Track Progress: Yes or no Yes, but only for first draft

10.  Special Writing Spot? Nope

11.   Writer’s Block? Not really. 

12.   File of Ideas: Yes or No No, but that’s a good idea

13.   Favorite Author(s)? Neil Gaiman; Susanna Clarke; Brett Easton Ellis; Donna Tartt; Tana French; Mikhail Bulgakov; Vladimir Nabokov; J.K. Rowling

Like this episode? Leave a review or rating! 


Transcribed by Otter.ai; Lightly edited by Linda. Please forgive typos or grammar errors :)

Episode 227 - Emilya Naymark


Linda 00:00

Welcome to Tart Words. I'm your host, Linda Hengerer. And I'm a writer, a reader and a baker. I talk to writers about their latest book and what inspires them, chat with fellow author Suzanne Fox about what writers can learn from reading their favorite authors, and share fast and easy recipes for anyone looking for a sweet treat. Join me as I share Tart Bites, Tart Thoughts, and Tart Words. In this episode, I’m talking with Emilya Naymark.

Emilya Naymark’s debut novel is Hide In Place from Crooked Lane Books. Her short stories appear in the Harper Collins anthology A Stranger Comes to Town,  Secrets in the WaterAfter Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard ShiftRiver River JournalSnowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTORY.

She has a degree in fine art, and her artworks have been published in numerous magazines and books. When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the New York Hudson Valley with her family.

Visit her website at EmilyaNaymark.com/Author/ and sign up for her newsletter at https://www.emilyanaymark.com/author/newsletter/

Welcome to the podcast, Emilya. I'm really looking forward to talking with you today.

Emilya 01:28

Hi, thank you for having me. 


Tell me about your latest book. 


My latest book is Hide In Place and it came out in February [2021]. It's about an undercover NYPD detective who works a racketeering case against the Russian mob. The case goes very badly for her. She gets dumped by her husband, and she has a very needy, troublesome young son. If anybody listening is involved with law enforcement, you can understand that it's not a career that lends itself very well to being a single parent. So she has to quit and basically move away from New York City. And she moves to a very quiet upstate town hoping that she can kind of start her life again with her son. A few years after she settles in, her son vanishes, and she's not law enforcement anymore. She's still kind of recovering from everything that happened in her life. She has to figure out what happened, what happened to her son, because as far as anybody else is concerned in this little town, including the local detective and the police, that he's just a weird kid. He's just this odd kid who never knows the right thing to do and always kind of causes trouble, whether inadvertently or on purpose. And they just think that he ran away because he's done it before. So they're not putting into it the kind of effort that she feels they should, so she begins to basically do an investigation on her own.

Linda 02:56

They have no sense of urgency, and she's all about the urgency with her missing son.

Emilya 03:00

Well, she's all about the urgency. She has a perception of the small-town police department that is her perception…

Linda 03:08

That they're not up to snuff based on her experience in New York City. 




Is this book part of a series?

Emilya 03:14

It is part of a series. I'm very happy because I really enjoy these characters, and I enjoy being in their heads. The second book is going to be coming out next year [2022], God willing. I feel like if I say much more about it, I will kind of ruin the first one. But the way I wrote the second one is you actually won't have to have read the first one. It continues within the same small town.


Mmhmm. In this book, is she afraid that her past working in New York City with the police is the cause of his disappearance? 

Emilya 03:47

Well, that is definitely one of the fears because when she worked in the NYPD, she worked as an undercover detective, which means that when she worked with the mob, they just knew her undercover identity. However, very early on, it becomes clear that her identity was blown. She doesn't know how or through whom. But that begins to dawn on her that the options all of a sudden increase about what happened to the kid, because either he ran away on his own, which is awful enough. If you think about it, he's only 13, or the mob is out to get him, which is worse. So as a parent, you have to hope that your kid ran away and not that the mob is looking for him. But also there's a question of why would the mob be looking for the kid and not her. She has to kind of try to get her mind around all kinds of things. You know, there's also the question of her ex, because her ex kind of walked away from her life and then she has to wonder well did her son go to him? Did he kidnap his own son? You know, what is going on? So there's a lot of options and none of them are good.

Linda 05:00

It's not good when your least bad option is that he ran away.

Emilya 05:03

Right. And for anybody who is familiar with upstate New York and the Hudson Valley, it's a very rocky snowy mountainy kind of area and it's very easy to actually get into just trouble just from the environment. Yeah, just from nature, you could fall off a cliff pretty easily. And that has happened around here, to very tragic results.

Linda 05:24

Where did the idea for your main character come from?

Emilya 05:26

Great question. My husband worked as an undercover for four years in NYPD. He was a detective for a long time, but part of the time that he was a detective, he was an undercover. He always had these fantastic stories for me. He'd come home, and he'd be like this happened, and that happened. And they were just crazy things because he's dealing – because first of all, he has a persona. He has a fake name. He has a fake ID, he grew his hair long. He had, he would buy clothes, just to make them dirty, just so that he would look like the kind of person who would be buying drugs in a disreputable neighborhood. He would go with the flow and things would go crazy. And sometimes they were very dangerous. And sometimes they were very funny. But all of it was very interesting. So I thought, well, what would that be like if the undercover was a woman, and being a woman anywhere, as we all know could be a challenging thing. But being a woman, and then in a police, or any law enforcement, you always have a little more to prove. That just is the case. I'm not just inventing that – not only that she has something to prove as a police officer, but then she's on the street, and she has something to prove with the people she's buying drugs from. It was very interesting for me to see how she would use the fact that she was a woman, how it could work to her advantage, and how can she be aware of it as working to her advantage? That was one and then the other one, of course, is I also have a teenage boy. And although my teenage boy is nothing like the boy I wrote about, the fear is always there. So it's kind of like a mother's worst nightmare.

Linda 07:10

Both of my sisters have kids, I totally get that; you just can't be too careful sometimes. 

Emilya 07:17

No. And you know what's even crazier, the kids have minds of their own. That's the scary part. 


It would be so much easier if they just listened to you. 


If you could just telepathically control them.

Linda 07:33

Or if they were willing to learn from your experience, and just take your word for it that this is a bad thing. But no, no, they have to go and learn on their own. 




Do you have a writing routine or schedule? 

Emilya 07:45

Yes. I try to stick to a writing routine. And I basically try to do something to do with writing every day; doesn't always work out every day. Definitely, when I'm writing a draft, I try to write every day. And it's always in the evenings because I have a day job. When I'm in between drafts, or I'm just starting something and I'm just kind of planning something out, it becomes a little more haphazard, where the writing part of the evening might be just research, or I end up having to promote something. Social media takes up some time. And I'm hoping to get back into the actual writing part. Because up until now, I've just been doing a lot of research and a lot of sketching thoughts out and characters. 

Linda 08:28

Playing with ideas about what the story is and where it can go.



Linda 08:34

Do you outline? 


I do because I think if I just sat down and started writing, I would just freeze and collapse. What ends up happening is that I have to do a little bit of this kind of sketching and research first, then I'll outline, and then as I write, I might have to stop and kind of re-outline. And usually, after the first draft, I might have to tweak the outline. I have to have a skeleton before I can start filling it in.

Linda 09:02

I do too. Sometimes at the beginning, you think you know what the story is. And then by the time you get to the end, you realize oh, it wasn't this, it was that. And then you need to tweak things that happened earlier in the story to fit the ending.

Emilya 09:15

Right. Or sometimes you think you want to write about a particular character. But then some other character begins to be much more interesting. So you just have to kind of accept that at some point. And move on to the other one. That definitely has happened to me.

Linda 09:30

It's happened to me too. I think that's just the nature of writing. 

Emilya 09:35

And I think what the weird thing for me now is that for the first time, I'm writing a novel that I have to try to sell before it's written. So I have to write a proposal and an outline and all of that before the entire thing is done. And that part is very new. Some new things to learn.

Linda 09:54

All kinds of new skills that you learn. You think, Oh, I want to write a book and you think you'll sit down at the laptop or the paper and you'll just write a story. And the reality is, it's not that easy, and there's a ton of stuff that you have to learn and do. Even if you're not yourself actively promoting it, if you have someone who's doing it for you, you still have a lot of work to do that is not the writing itself, per se.

Emilya 10:21

I kind of really, really love the entire writing community and everything that comes with it. I wish the…like the social media and the self-promotion didn't take up as much time as it does. Maybe that's slightly my least favorite thing. I just love meeting all these new people. Because what I'm finding is that of all the careers I've had, writers are the most interesting people because they're smart, they're usually very funny. And they love research, which means they know a lot of stuff.

Linda 10:52

I found that the writing community as a whole is very generous with their knowledge and their time. When you least expect it, someone who would have no reason to give their time to you will. And it will be to your benefit more than theirs. But I think as a whole, the writing community pays it forward in a way. Someone helped them, they're helping you, you'll help someone down the road.

Emilya 11:15

Yeah, absolutely. I find that totally to be the case. I've been very firmly in the genre community. So I don't know if it's like that in the literary world more. But I'm very happy to be in this part of it.

Linda 11:29

I agree with you. Is there a creative outlet that plays into your writing, or gives you creative respite? I know you mentioned that you have some Russian dishes that you either cook or incorporate into your books.

Emilya 11:43

So the first book, part of it takes place in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, which for those who are not familiar with Brighton Beach is a huge Russian community, so much so it's called Little Odessa. I think it probably wouldn't be wrong to say that more than half of all the storefronts have Russian writing on them. And there's a ton of food. So my character, when I put her in Brighton Beach, was constantly eating Russian food. And I was just because I was missing it, and I wanted to put myself in that headspace where it was available. So as far as Russian cooking, I married an American who is not a big fan of actual Russian food. So if I want to eat any of it, I have to obtain and go and buy it. Because if I cook it, I'll be the only one eating and that's not a lot of fun. Unless I throw a party.

Linda 12:33

What's your favorite Russian dish that you don't get to eat often?

Emilya 12:36

This stuff is like so ridiculously decadent. If you do ever go to Brighton Beach, you can actually buy these things off of street carts, and they’re piroshkis. And they're basically, they're like empanadas. They're like a Russian version of those. But they're big, and they're greasy. And they’re really, really tasty. They come in different flavors. So you can get meat ones or cherry-cheese ones. Those are really good. They also, like they'll pickle anything. So you can have pickled apples. If you've never had pickled apples, those are delicious. 


It sounds good to me. 


Yeah, they're very good. The chocolates and the baked goods are really good. And they have this kind of soup. I don't even know if it's a soup or a stew. It's like – imagine every kind of artery-clogging meat and cold cuts, like every kind of sausage and salami and beef, all of it chopped up and cooked with potatoes and cabbage and pickles in a tomato base. And it's the most delicious thing ever. But boy, you know, I think you have to be young to eat it.

Linda 13:46

Or living in a very snowy cold climate where you're going to burn off those calories just trying to stay warm. 


Yeah, or the indigestion won't bother you afterward. 


Well, this has been a lot of fun. And I've enjoyed talking with you. Tell me again the name of your latest book.

Emilya 14:02

The book is called Hide In Place. And it can be bought anywhere where books are sold: Amazon, Target, Walmart, local bookstores.

Linda 14:12

And I'll have the link to your website in the show notes. And I'm sure they can get to your book from your website, too.

Emilya 14:19

Yes, they can. And just as long as the website has that forward slash author.

Linda 14:24

EmilyaNaymark.com/Author/ is where they can go to get your books. 




Terrific. Well, this has been a real pleasure talking with you. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. 


Thank you for having me. This was great. 


You're welcome. 


Thank you for joining me this week. To view the complete show notes and the links mentioned in today's episode, visit tartwords.com/tart227. Before you go, Follow or Subscribe for free to the podcast to receive new episodes when they're released. Follow now in the app you're using to listen to this podcast or sign up for email alerts through an easy signup form for Bakers, Readers, and/or Writers at tartwords.com/about. Thank you again for joining me, Linda Hengerer, for this episode of Tart Words.

Emilya NaymarkProfile Photo

Emilya Naymark


Emilya Naymark’s debut novel is “Hide In Place” from Crooked Lane Books. Her short stories appear in the Harper Collins anthology A Stranger Comes to Town, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTORY.
She has a degree in fine art, and her artworks have been published in numerous magazines and books.
When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the New York Hudson Valley with her family.