Welcome Elissa, lets jump right into this and get things rolling. I know my readers would love to learn more about you.
1. You're a new author, just starting out. What inspires you to write?
That’s a tricky question actually, because it has two parts to it. The first part is why did I want to be a writer. I was an avid reader from the moment I could read my first words. I read everything I could get my hands on. In third grade I remember getting a notebook as a prize from a teacher and I started writing poetry where every line had to rhyme. Something like “The little kitten lay, fast asleep in the hay.” The other reason I started writing was that it was an escape from life. Reading and writing got me through some very difficult times growing up. There is nothing like getting lost in another world to avoid the one you live in. In many ways I want to provide that outlet for others.
As far as what inspires me to write my stories, it’s different all the time. Sometimes it’s a certain feeling I get that there is something inside just itching to come out. A lot of ideas pop in my head right as I am working on another project. In the past these ideas have distracted me from finishing whatever writing I was working on at the time. Now I just write down the general idea and promise to come back to it when I can devote adequate time to it. Here lately it’s the inspiration of fellow writers that gets me moving. Seeing that others believe in you and have walked the path before you really helps when you are just starting out. Having people who appreciate what I write and give me feedback has been so helpful since I’ve been terrified to share my work with others. You know how it is, we’re always our worst critic and we sometimes expect others to treat our work as critically as we treat it.
2. You have a young family. How do you juggle writing while doing all the homelife things you need to get done, too?
Actually so far it has been easier than I thought it would be. My daughter is about 23 months old right now and she is extremely active, so it has been a challenge. I take advantage of naptime. She gets a good two hours of sleep in the afternoon which is a good chunk of time. I sometimes put cleaning on the backburner and make meals that last a couple of nights so I have more time to focus on other things. My husband has been very helpful too, especially when I need to take a break from life to write. I have left the house with the laptop or camped out in the bedroom away from family life for a few hours at a time. Weekends have become my friend as I let daddy take over caring for baby. It gives me time to work on things or take a break while he gets to bond with our daughter. The biggest chunk of time that I have is when my child goes to bed for the night. When everyone else is asleep I finally get the quiet time that I need to focus on writing. My house may not be as picture perfect as people expect, never clean enough to pass the white glove test, but it’s enough for us to function and certainly a lot cleaner than it was when we were both working desk jobs. Sometimes we sacrifice for our craft. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
3. Do you work outside of the home? If so, what kind of work do you do and do you incorporate your work life into your writing?
I used to work outside the home before I had my child. I’ve taught middle school and elementary school, so I think in the future when I write children’s novels I will pull greatly from that experience. I will be kind to the teachers when I write my books, because we often read about the evil, nasty teachers and never hear about the ones that put their heart and soul into the classroom. I also worked a desk job, so I guess it is easy to say that I could incorporate the daily frustrations of dealing with people and working in a small cubicle that sucks the life out of you. Currently, I am a stay at home mom, and am thoroughly enjoying raising my daughter. It allows me to watch her grow and encourages me to be the best role model I can for her. Someday I know she will be proud of me for pursuing my own dreams. I hope to encourage her to do the same.
4. When did you start writing either creatively? What were some of the early writings that you did? Would you ever use any of them now?
I think I sort of answered this on a previous question. I have been writing for a very long time. I have never written professionally before though. When I was a child, I loved reading and escaping into other worlds. My favorite books when I was a child were written by C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, and Jean Craighead George. I very much wanted to live on my own and survive in the forest. When I was in third grade I wrote a fanfiction story for Highlights Magazine, but it was never published. The title was Superfudge Junior, and you can probably guess it was all about Farley Drexel Junior and how he was very much like his father as a child. I did not understand copyright infringement at the time, which is why I think they never responded to my inquiry. From there I continued to write more poetry. I remember when my mom attended a parent teacher conference for 8th grade. My English teacher told her how impressed she was with my writing and told her that I wrote like a 20 year old. It was the best compliment I had ever received at the time and it made me want to do even better.
When I entered high school I started writing short stories, mostly for school assignments. By the time I was a junior in high school, my English teacher encouraged me to enter for a chance to attend the Illinois Summer School for the Arts. At that point in time I had already been writing longer short stories, one of them being a ghost story, which I entered as an example of my writing. I won a scholarship to attend the two week summer camp and had the time of my life. I decided from then on that I wanted to be a writer. The funny thing is that I had such a logical head on my shoulders and decided since writing was not a guarantee that I had to have a profession to fall back on. So I attended Illinois State University and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I became a teacher, who put everything I had into my work and had very little left over to work on the book that I had started when I was in college. When I was finally able to quit teaching, my writing became my focus again.
5. What else would you be doing if you couldn't write, and why?
Well, I’ve already done it. I was a teacher. I loved teaching, but the dealing with administration and bureaucratic imbeciles that had never even spent a day in the classroom literally sucked the soul right out of my body. I would probably find a desk job if I could no longer write. Or just stay home and raise my children and let my husband take care of us. One day he says I will keep him in the manner to which he should be accustomed. Ha ha ha! Dare to dream I tell him.
6. Who inspires you to write?
I think it is fair to say that the people I know and love inspire me every day to write, but every part of my past is a stepping stone to another story. It is true that writers suffer great melancholy, and I have had my fair share which I think allows me to put more emotion into my writing. I also think that everything I have gone through in this lifetime has inspired me to be who I am. I waited most of my life to get to the point where I believe in me and while having others like what I do is nice, I have to be the one to inspire and motivate myself to continue. There was nothing like finishing the first book, being proud of myself, and knowing that I could repeat the process anytime I wanted. From there, I have only continued to grow my world in my books and my personal life.
7. Have you always wanted to write paranormal romance novels?
Actually, until recently I didn’t know it was possible to write them. I have just learned that the box I was writing myself into no longer exists. People are ready for almost anything you can dream up these days, which opens my writing up to whole new worlds that I had never thought to explore. I have been reading romance novels for most of my young adult/adult life. I liked to escape from my world and live in someone else’s for awhile and I liked the idea that most romance novels gave you a happily ever after.
In Flames was not the first book I have finished, but it was the first that I wanted to share with the world. I loved the romance between Lysandra and Aiden. It’s not an easy romance. Nothing about their situation is easy. Lysandra has been torn away from everything she knew way before she could ever understand who she was or who she was meant to be. Aiden knows who he is, he has already lived through some of the darkness that is new to Lysandra. They both have their road blocks that keep them from seeing the overall picture. They are destined to be together, destined to fall in love, and destined to change their world together forever. Their love ignites the pages, so be prepared, for this story is not your typical handholding romance novel.
Elissa is also doing an amazing giveaway. here is all the swag you can win. It's super easy so make sure you enter for a chance. Also I would like to Thank Elissa for stopping by my blog today. Check back all week for more from Elissa.