Q: What is your best time of day (or night) to write?
I wish there was some sort of magic hour where my muse was most active. Because my schedule varies every single day, I simply write when I can. Some days it’s over morning coffee. Other days, I’m typing away at 11:00PM at night under the dim light of my laptop. One thing that remains consistent though is my muse’s habit of arriving at untimely moments.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a meeting or out on a date only to find myself scribbling notes on a napkin or typing them into my phone.
Q: How do you find inspiration for new characters?
At this point in my writing, character inspiration comes from the storyline.
My main characters like Jaycent, Milo, Levee, Tobiano and Arelee have been around for over a decade. They have evolved into personalities with extensive backstories capable of innumerable individual stories.
Therefore, my new characters tend to be secondaries. Those I create for a specific purpose, and I build their personality around what they are meant to accomplish.
Q: What was your first story idea (that you remember)? Did you write it?
My first real story idea was an original online fiction story I wrote when I was 13 or 14 years old. It’s still floating around somewhere in the vast realm of the world wide web. I won’t disclose its name (if you manage to find it on your own, you win the right to laugh at my expense).
I completed that story in about a year’s span, then forgot about it until my senior year of college when I started receiving positive reviews on it via e-mail. At that point, I went back and re-read the story only to be terribly embarrassed. It sounded like a 14 year old wrote it (go figure, right?). But I thought to myself, if people enjoyed this story… what would happen if I rewrote it as an adult?
That gave birth to a new book. One my readers know as The Royal Rogue.
Q: Average word-count per hour of writing?
If only it was that simple! Some days, I can write 2,000 words an hour. Others I’m lucky to write 25. It just depends on how cooperative my muse and my characters are feeling that day.
Jaycent in particular is a sassy character. There are days when his dialogue is nothing more than one sarcastic line after the other until I finally decide to walk away and revisit the scene later.
Indoors. Outdoors. In a car. On a bridge. With the dog. On a log…Dr. Seuss aside, I write on a laptop that I carry with me 24/7 so that I can write pretty much anywhere. I tend to follow a trail of coffee, though…
I don’t think I really have a least favorite genre to read. I love a good story of any kind. However, I can’t write science fiction. I’ve tried. I made it to the second paragraph of a short story once, but I just don’t have the imagination for space, lasers, mecha, post-apocalyptic disasters or anything within the realm of a science fiction adventure.
R.A. Salvatore leads my list of favorite authors. He’s certainly been a huge influence in the way I write combat scenes.
Another author is Adele Lorienne. Specifically, her Saberondan novel. In reading Saberondan, I learned how beautiful imagery can be and how much of an impact lyrical detail can serve.
Then there’s David Gaider, the brilliant writer behind the Dragon Age series! I love the games, and so I recently started reading his books this year. He has an amazing way of engaging his characters. I’ve learned a lot in reading his book about the balance of personalities and character dynamics, and how putting the wrong personalities together can produce poor dialogue.
Q: Do you ever write by hand? Always?
I’ve been so spoiled by the speed of typing that if I try to write by hand, I can’t keep up with my thoughts. Pens are slow. Keys are fast. So am I on coffee. I almost always write under the influence of coffee.
Q: How do you look for ways to improve from one project to the next?
When I write books, I want them to feel real. I want people to feel like they know the characters like they know their best friends, so I spend a lot of time developing my characters through backstory and scenes that often never see eyes beyond my own.
I push the boundaries a lot in my descriptions, forcing myself not to fall back on reused words or phrases. I also read books by other people.
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2. Nominate other bloggers (however many or few as you’d like).
3. Answer ten questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Make ten questions of your own for your nominees.
4. All nominees are free to accept or reject the nomination.
Q: If you were only known for one piece you’ve written, what would it be and why?
Q: For me, writing and _____ go hand-in-hand. (What do you put in the blank?)
Q: What is the biggest misconception you’ve encountered as a writer?
Q: Why do you write?
Q: Out of all the books you’ve read, what character has stuck with you?
Q: Tell us about a book you think everyone should read at least once.
Q: What do you do when you encounter writer’s block?
Q: Do you think there’s a set formula for writing a book?
Q: How do you create a new character?
Q: Tell us about a scene that made you emotional. Why?Nominations will go out on Twitter via @WriterElli