Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Author Interview: Elaine White

Today, we'll be getting to know Elaine a little better. She currently has three novels with WMP and features in two anthologies.

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  1. When and why did you begin writing?

I think I've always been a writer, at heart, but it became more of a focus when I was in high school. About the age of fourteen, my English teacher made a real impact with me, when it came to writing. He gave us assignments that, unlike my other school work, I actually enjoyed and found inspiring. Then, the more I enjoyed it, the more I got more ideas for stories of my own.

  1. What inspired you to write your first book?

I started off with Angel fan-fiction (from the Buffy TV show) and wrote about him, back in the 1400's. But I found I didn't like writing about someone else's character, so I turned the 'Angel' character into Damian, from my Secrets of Avelina Chronicles. The only scene I ever wrote for the fan-fic, became a prominent scene in the second book of the series, involving Catalina. From there, it just took off.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

Runaway Girl just seemed a given. There was this girl, Amelia, whose only wish was to run away from her home, her overbearing father and the expectation of marrying Damian. But, the more I wrote it, the more Amelia went from sensitive victim to vicious bad-girl. Either way, the title seemed to fit.
The series was a little different. It was originally called Heroology, as in the history of heroes. But it became a little difficult when it came to publication. It looked silly and if you cut one of the 'o's then the word took on a whole different meaning that, if I remember correctly, referred to comic books. It was better to scrap that idea and start something new. The town they live in is called Avelina and the Chronicles part seemed obvious, so I just had to figure out how to combine the two. It was actually my mum who came up with 'The Secrets of Avelina Chronicles' as a whole.

  1. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Just that you should never underestimate yourself or others. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes; they can be all ages, they can be a hero for different reasons. There's a hero inside all of us, if we just have the compassion and the understanding to let it out.

  1. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Mostly it's just fiction. I don't know any vampires or werewolves or witches, but the unrequited crushes, the longing to escape → I've felt those before. I guess there will always be a little part of me and my experiences in all my characters, but I try to make sure they're all individuals as well.

  1. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Always. There's always one spelling mistake, one grammar issue, one silly little run-on sentence that I've missed during editing. I have two great editors, but we're all human and we all miss things. Most of it is my fault, because I wrote The Secrets of Avelina ten years ago and although I've edited it a dozen times since then, I'm always learning. With each new book that comes out, I hone my writing craft a little more. So I think there will always be something I'll want to change in all of my books.

  1. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I'm a massive fan of Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Christine Feehan...there are so many, but I think my favourite that I go back to, time and again, has to be Elizabeth Peters. She writes under three different names, but she's an archaeologist at heart, which was my dream job, growing up.
Elizabeth Peters had a series of crime novels called the Amelia Peabody collection. I love Amelia as a main character; she's fiery, feisty, independent and this is all in the days when Women's Sufferage was barely an idea. The series is about 20 books long and is a family saga. It starts with her meeting Radcliffe Emerson, the best and most amazing Alpha male I've ever read. Throughout the books, they marry, have kids, get into trouble left, right and center, but they do it all together. Every book has an archaeologically focused crime and basically, the series encompasses my three favourite things in life: romance, crime and archaeology.

  1. Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No. That's the simple answer. The long, complicated answer is that I'm disabled and have a lot of health issues, so even if travelling were an option, for promoting my book or doing signings, it would be a hit or miss as to whether I was well enough to go through with it, on the day. I couldn't bear to promise something and then have to back out, disappointing everyone, but I also know that I get really quiet and struggle to maintain focus on conversations or what's going on around me, when I'm not well. It wouldn't be fair on anyone to give them a half-hearted event.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Theresa does all my WMP covers and I love her. We seem to click on a level where she knows exactly what I want and how I like things, without having to talk it over first. We share ideas, we brainstorm for concepts and we both have the same taste in pictures, so it's so easy to work with her.
The cover for Runaway Girl took a while to decide on, because I was new to the whole thing. I didn't have a picture in my mind of what I wanted, so mostly Theresa and I scoured through Shutterstock for vampire related pictures. When I found the image, of the girl with the mask, it was so perfect that we both agreed on it right away.
The cover for Reckless Abandon was easier. I've known Liam Somerville, the photographer, since school and when he started up his own business, I took a look at his site. He had this perfect picture just sitting there. So I contacted him, asked if we could use it, he asked the model Liam Hudson and we all agreed to go ahead with it.
The cover for Vairi's Revenge, the next book in the series was harder. I knew I wanted something with red, for the blood, something that said vampire, but also said brutal, violence and revenge. I had a stash of a lot of different pictures, so that over time I could weed out the ones I got bored with looking at. I love the one we chose, in the end. It's perfect.
The cover for The Alpha and the Oracle was easy, too. I saw the picture of the girl and I knew it was perfect, but after talking it over with Theresa, we had 2 choices for the male. I chose which one fitted Milo better, we both agreed on the girl and the wolf and I had no idea how it would turn out. Theresa made a few samples and they were all spot on. All we had to do was pick the best one.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Hmm…the hardest part of writing The Secrets of Avelina was the editing. I wrote it so long ago that I was just a na├»ve teenager with no idea how to write or edit properly. Editing that is taking a long time, to make it something I'm happy to publish.
The hardest part of The Belesone Pack was finishing it. I got so immersed in the characters that it was hard to stop writing about them. Choosing where to end it, as well, was really difficult. They had so many stories to tell that I could easily have gone on and on.

  1. If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

In a dream world, were I have no disabilities, I'd be travelling the world, doing archaeology. In real life, I'd be working at a bookstore. I love books.

  1. What are you writing at the moment?

I'm currently writing a follow-up trilogy to The Belesone Pack. It will be called The Angelus Diaries and will revolve around the same characters from The Belesone Pack, but years after those events. It will also involve some new main characters.

  1. What are you reading?

Perhaps the most annoying book I've ever read. The story is good, but I hate the main character so much that I almost can't believe it. It's called A Secret to Keep, by Railyn Stone and it's a review for a blog tour. I'm currently undecided as to whether to give it a 4-5 star rating, because I feel so strongly about the characters, or whether to give it 2-3 because that reaction is so negative. I have to finish the book first.

  1. How do you get past writers block or distractions like the internet?


I don't. LOL. I'm terrible for getting distracted. Right now, I should be writing and eating, or one then the other, but I'm doing this instead. And when I'm done, I'll probably get distracted by something else.
Typically, writers block is a curse for me. I have to move on to another story, read someone else's book or edit an old book, to get past it. I have to move away from the story that's giving me issues, until I feel like writing it again, or else everything I write it just nonsense and has to be edited out anyway.

  1. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I'd love to write a horror story or a crime story. I have ideas for both, but they're nowhere near ready for working on yet. I have a crime series, about eleven books, but they need some serious editing and possibly some rewrites, before I can even think of submitting them anywhere.

  1. Light side or dark side?

Dark. We all have a dark side and it's always more interesting.

  1. Vanilla or Chocolate?

I would say chocolate, but because of health issues I'm not allowed either Vanilla or Chocolate, so how about…gummy bears? LOL.

  1. If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?

Oh, this is easy. Here's my cast for The Secrets of Avelina Chronicles:


And here's my cast for The Belesone Pack:


  1. What is your writing environment like? Do you write with a pen and paper, or on a computer? Do you need quiet, or music in the background? Do you have a pet who gets in on the act?

I have my favourite chair: it's an electric recliner with a foot rest, so that I'm comfortable. I have a table next to me for snacks and drinks. I write only on the laptop, though I will occasionally write notes on paper, though I don't like to, because I'm more likely to lose them. I need absolute silence: no TV, no music, no one talking to me, or else everything I write needs an even more intense edit than usual. We do have a dog, Bracken, but he's good as gold. He'll need out or want to play, but he's a big baby, so he mostly sleeps. And he's a Standard Poodle, so there's no getting up on my knee.

  1. What’s the most amusing thing that’s happened to you while you were writing this story?

Probably not so much amusing as interesting. We were away in Oban for the week, when I started writing The Belesone Pack and I churned out the entire first book 'The Alpha and the Oracle' during that week. It's the first and only time I've ever done that. Obviously, it needed a lot of editing and about 3 new chapters, by the time I'd finished my first edit, but it was pretty cool to know I had the story to set in my mind.

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