It began, like so many careers, as a strange and unexpected opportunity. After the death of her husband, Emma had a lot of time on her hands.
She submitted the manuscript of her first crime novel to twenty-six publishers. All twenty-six replied with form rejections.
She continued submitting to others over the course of several years, until a small publisher in Kentucky wrote her back, asking if they could take it off her hands. The advance was embarrassing, but she accepted their offer, and the book went to the printer.