I first met Emily here on Blogger, and her cheerfulness and friendly spirit immediately made me feel at ease. She reviewed my first book, The Curse Girl, and she hosted me on her blog for an interview. Later, we both became members of the same critique group. And now her debut novel is here!!!
So I asked her some questions about Elemental...
*clears throat, acts professional*
|Here is the "scrawled" version of Emily.|
Elemental is sci-fi (specifically, space opera) with big explosions, danger at every turn, war, a little bit of kissing, bad choices, and fairies. That's right. Fairies.
I think people who love sci-fi, or anyone who's looking for something a little different from most YA books coming out these days, will like Elemental.
2. Sounds really unique! I love the idea of mixing fantasy and sci fi. In fact, I've been working on a "science fantasy" story myself, so this is really cool. And I love the title of the book, too! It’s very simple and yet very evocative and distinct. What was part of your thought process when choosing it?
Most of my thinking gets done in the shower (and during those times, that's when I usually put body wash in my hair instead of shampoo, but I digress! :P). This was no exception (to both points). I'd been struggling with renaming my book AND the MC. Both were just too complicated and not very memorable. Suddenly, I thought to myself, "Hey! What if everyone in the MC's family line has a name that starts with "El." (I'd already had at least one character from her family that had this). And that's when I came up with Ella. Well, it took only moments for me to then think, "Ella...is crazy...Ella mental. Elemental!!" It also worked perfectly because Ella is (obviously, since she can control an element) an elemental. So yay! There's the story, and you got to see a little deeper into my mind. It's a very scary place. ;)
3. Tell me a little about the journey you had when writing Elemental—how long did it take you to write it? Did any of your original plans or ideas for the book drastically change in the course of drafting and revising the story?
It took about 2 years to have it all completed. It went through some MAJOR changes during those 2 years, though. I started off trying to write Adult Sci-fi in the Omniscient POV. It was going okay, but it was never more than "eh." Unfortunately, at the time I had no idea I was naturally suited to writing YA. I just didn't understand why I couldn't get the story to work. Then I read my first YA and everything changed. I completely rewrote the story into first person and let Ella's voice really shine through.
4. I love that. The YA style really works for me, too, so I totally understand. Now, who is your favorite character in Elemental (excluding the main character)?
That is such a tough choice! It's either Meir or Cailen. Meir is so wonderful and selfless. He makes the ultimate father figure. But Cailen IS gorgeous (hehehehe!). Actually, there's a lot more to Cailen than that. He THINKS he's being helpful and selfless, so I sympathize with him. Also, he's gorgeous. :P
5. Your good friend Vic (and my friend, too!) designed the beautiful cover. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Oh but of course! :) Back when I was going to self-publish this baby (before SHP approached me with an offer), I realized I knew three absolutely wonderful people who could help me with the cover! The first was Kelly of Glimpses of You Photography, the second was a family member who I knew would work perfectly as Ella, and the third was Miss Victoria (my brilliant artist friend)! Kelly very graciously offered to do the photos of my family member and once I had a few poses I liked, I sent the pictures over to Vic to come up with my beautiful cover!
It was a pretty long process because I change my mind a LOT. But Vic was patient and eventually I said, "Hey! What about a nebula in the background??" Well, it may sound easy after that, but it's not! This very talented Miss Victoria took my abstract thinking and put all the lovely pieces together to make a perfectly seamless cover. And, AND! She created that beautiful font. She really is a genius.
6. What a great story. It makes the cover that much more special when it's designed by a friend! I understand you’ve been working on the sequel, Fae. How is that coming along? Is this going to be a series or trilogy?
This will be a trilogy. Yay! Right now I'm working on revisions of Fae for my editor. They are going very well, but they are taking a LOT of time to do. I'm one of those annoying authors who writes very light for the first and second draft. So right now, I'm working on filling in the details, strengthening motivations and characterization, and basically getting this baby up to standard YA novel size.
7. What is your favorite piece of writing advice?
Kill your darlings. I always think of that Seinfeld episode when the gang goes to their friends' house to see the baby. Well, the baby ain't so pretty and Kramer does his standard falling against the wall or onto the floor when he sees the ugly little thing. But the parents just couldn't see the hideousness these four friends very obviously detected.
I think that's very often true of writers. We get attached to our WIPs and actually see them as our babies. When a group of beta readers (or an editor) says, "Eek! Hideous! I don't like this one part at all. It doesn't flow with the rest of your story," we tend to get defensive and tell ourselves they're all wrong. Well, the thing is, they're probably right. We just can't see it because we're looking at our WIPs with rose colored glasses, marveling at the simple (or way too complex) beauty of our babies.
8. Very true. What is your least-favorite part of writing a book?
Writing the first chapter. Out of everything, I feel like this is the part that should start out perfect. It's the foundation for the whole book! But boy does it change. A lot. And that frustrates me more than anything.
9. Yeah...first chapters are tough. There's a lot of pressure in those initial pages!
Tell me a bit about yourself...what is one interesting fact about you that most people wouldn’t know?
Hmmm...interesting...I am an AMAZING cook. 'tis true. I don't normally toot my own horn, but I do have to say, I know how to make delicious food. And I love cooking from scratch. I've even been known to make my own butter. :)
10. Okay, now I'm hungry! :D
Can you tell us where we can find out more about you, and where we can go to order our copies of Elemental!
You can visit me at my blog, facebook,
fanpage, goodreads, twitter, and pinterest!
You can order Elemental at Amazon and B&N.
11. Awesome! One final question. Do you have any other books in the works besides Elemental and its sequels?
I'm always working on other things. In fact, if anyone wants to see my other projects, they should check out my pinterest account. I have a several boards dedicated to the crazy ideas brewing in my mind. :)