I’m going to start this year’s mixed genre author interview series with Elise Edmonds. If you have young adults in your house, it can be hard to get them into reading for pleasure. Give them one of Elise’s books. She will take them on a ride that will turn them into book lovers for the rest of their lives. She writes in her spare time, giving others a peek through enchanting doorways.
Please allow me to introduce, Elise Edmonds.
Hey, Elise! Welcome, and make yourself at home. I’d like to start the interview with… What drew you to write in the Young Adult Fantasy genre?
Elise: I’ve always been a fan of both children’s fantasy books and school stories – long before Harry Potter came into the world and long before I ever knew the term ‘young adult’. I grew up on Enid Blyton and Narnia, followed by Anne of Green Gables. So writing fun, immersive fantasy stories full of adventure but also including coming of age themes and characters working out where they fit in their world is basically me writing the books I wanted to read as a kid!
I love Narnia! It’s my second favorite book of all time after Ribsy. What was the hardest thing about writing your first YA Fantasy book, Where Carpets Fly?
Elise: As this was my first novel, to start with, everything was hard. With the help of my good friends at Scribophile (a writing critique site), I learned how to create tension and how to plot, how to make sure character motivation was believable, and how to keep the readers turning the page.
Once I’d started learning about the craft of writing and the construction of a novel, things began to proceed a lot quicker. With a fantasy novel, you have the additional ingredient of worldbuilding in the mix, and so I also had to learn how to describe my world and bring the reader into it without simply spouting paragraphs of information. It was a steep learning curve at the beginning.
What are you currently working on and what is it about?
Elise: I’m currently working on the sequel to my debut novel, Where Carpets Fly (an adventure novel in a land of magic, flying carpets and political tension). The story follows on from Where Carpets Fly, and this time the narrative is shared between three characters. They end up taking on different roles as the political situation between their countries worsens.
That sounds interesting. What does your family think of your writing?
Elise: My husband lets me get on with it, but as a die-hard Stephen King fan, my novels aren’t really his cup of tea. My mum is proud of me. My brother came out with one of those classic lines you hear about. He’s written a novel too, but never polished it to the publishing stage. When I showed him my writing, he said, “Oh, great, now you can edit mine for me. And hey, I have this great idea for another novel. I’ll tell you the idea and you can write the book!” I laughed at him a lot and said no chance … but it’s nice to have another writer in the family to chat to about writing stuff.
Yeah, my family is proud and supportive, but every time I start talking about a story, their eyes glaze over. How are you publishing your writing and why?
Elise: Before I wrote my first novel, I hadn’t really considered publishing. I assumed like so many people do, that self-publishing was what you do if you can’t get a ‘proper’ publishing deal. When I joined Scribophile (the writing critique site), I was fascinated to see self-publishers there who had chosen to publish that way and were doing well out of it. I began to learn the differences between the different types of publishing and decided that the ability to control what I did, when it was published, and how much it cost was very appealing. In my day job, I’m an accountant, so setting up my own publishing business was pretty straight-forward, and for me, it was the right decision.
I’m so glad the glass ceiling of publishing is broken. Now, all we have to do is flood the market with great writing like yours. For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hardback books?
Elise: I’m an ebook convert. A few years ago my husband bought a Kindle. At that stage, I mostly relied on the library and second-hand shops to buy books. I had the assumption that ebooks would be far more expensive and I didn’t see the advantages. He persuaded me to use it when we went on holiday, so I didn’t have to carry loads of books with us. And I never looked back.
I won’t say that I love the ebook experience over a real book, but I do love the convenience, the ease of buying books, and the expense was way less than I anticipated. I read most of my books on my smartphone these days, on the Kindle app. I do still read the occasional paperback, though. I keep meaning to use the library more but I always have so many books on my Kindle that I rarely get around to it.
I’m a new Kindle Fire convert myself. I got one for my birthday. I still love paperbacks, but with the Kindle, my tired old eyes can now read me to sleep again. What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors?
Elise: To be honest, it’s early days for me yet. There is only so much marketing you can do with one book out. So I’m focusing on doing a lot of reading on marketing and learning different strategies (how to run giveaways, how to use all the Amazon marketing services, SEO for my blog, etc.), and while I’m doing that I’m working hard on the next book.
There are some inspiring indie authors on the internet, and if you intend to self-publish I’d advise checking some of them out. I think the key with marketing in today’s fast-moving world is never to sit still. Keep reading and learning and see what new methods are out there and see if you can take advantage of them. Some of the people I follow for inspiration are Chris Fox, Joanna Penn, Derek Murphy, Dave Chesson and Nick Stephenson.
I’m a huge Joanna Penn fan too! While we are on the topic of fans, what do your fans mean to you?
Elise: There is nothing more awesome than having someone tell me they enjoyed my book. It’s really encouraging knowing that there are people out there—only a few at the moment, but we all have to start somewhere—who like my writing and want to see more of it.
The indie author community is also great. Many of the self-published writers I know admire each other mutually and help each other by reading and reviewing their books, and doing joint marketing initiatives. I love it when I find a community where people work together for the benefit of everyone.
Me too! I’d love to take this opportunity to invite you to let me host you for a Facebook takeover. On me. I’ll have my people talk to your people. Back to the interview… Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? What was it about?
Elise: Funnily enough, I was chatting about this with some writer friends the other day and went up into the loft to find my childhood writing. The first novel I started to write was when I was ten years old. I completed nine chapters. It was called “The Splendid Seven and Dog in: The Secret Passage”, and it was an Enid Blyton style adventure story. It was about some kids who discover and explore a secret passage in their school, and come across all sorts of adventures: people trying to capture them, jungles, giraffes, and aliens, and all sorts!
Aww. That sounds intriguing, you should finish it. What is your favorite way to avoid writing?
Elise: Cuddling with my cats. Sometimes they are helpful writer buddies. Other times they demand cuddles and walk over my laptop. So I give in and we have cuddles!
Thank you so much for taking a moment out of your busy day to chat with me. This was so much fun!
Please be sure to visit Elise’s website to read more about her and see new release information. Friend her on Facebook, follower her on Twitter, she’s always a hit over on Instagram, and if you see her wandering around Wattpad mumbling, she’s probably working out a plot point. You can always find out what she’s doing at any given moment on her Amazon author page, and I hear she hangs out at Goodreads too.
Elise Edmonds is a new writer from the South-West UK. Reading and writing have always been her doorways into another world—a way to escape and spend time walking with wizards, flying with fairies and dealing with dragons. By day she is a finance professional, and in her spare time she pursues writing as a creative outlet, to put the magic back into everyday life. In addition to reading, Elise enjoys watching movies, playing the piano, and going to Zumba classes. Her greatest loves are God, her husband, her family and friends, and her two beautiful cats.