I love, love, love interviewing other authors! Finding out their thought processes, picking their brains… all of that fascinates me. So, today I have Laura Elliott, author of Winnemucca and 13 on Halloween, with me.
Thanks for having me on your blog today Courtney! I’m so happy to be here. 13 on Halloween is a snarky romp about Roxie’s birthday wish coming true in hilariously scary ways! It all starts with her having her thirteenth birthday party on Halloween and getting a gift that is literally out of this world.
2. How did you come up with the idea? Are you a Halloween-lover like me? It’s by far my fave holiday!
My friends made me do it. They all teased me about how I talk, using animals as verbs – I hamster, I gopher – and they thought I should write a character that talks like I do. I wanted to toy with the idea of a girl who, like most teens, has her own language and uses it to try to understand her changing world and her role in it. Plus, it’s a funny book. I always wanted to write funny. At least, I hope it’s funny:) I am a huge Halloween lover. Last year I went to a neighborhood party as a jellyfish and got lots of compliments on my homemade costume. I love homemade costumes the best. I made some of my kids costumes too, when they were little.
3. What kind of writer are you? A Plotter or a Pantser, like me? (Meaning… do you write to an outline or fly by the seat of your pants?)
I am a total Pantser. Lots of times characters will just show up and talk to me. And I write what they say down. That’s what happened with Ginny, the seventeen-year old protagonist in my debut novel Winnemucca. She and I would spend the next five years of my life on her enchanted road trip. The trouble with Winnemucca was the ending. I had a hard time writing one that was compelling––I was The Queen of The Predictable, Expected Ending. I had a marvelous editor help me with trying to see other angles, other possibilities. It was only when I explored the unexpected that I found an ending that was not only perfect for the story, but one that I fell in love with. The writing journey took me places I never expected too. 13 on Halloween came very fast and fully formed. But it was the ninth book that I’ve written [I wrote four other books between Winnemucca and 13 on Halloween]. I think stories come easier the more I write them. When I begin a book I usually start with around four characters and a scene list of about 70 scenes. I also write out a short synopsis that reads like flap copy. If the story changes as I write, so be it. That’s the fun of writing for me, the unexpected.
4. Do you listen to music while you write?
OMG! YES! I have a great mix for 13 on Halloween. Roxie is super into Techno, Trance in particular, so I enjoyed listening to that music, but she’s also into 80s, The Cure especially. She loves to dance. Music is so much a part of my life. I grew up playing the piano and the flute and also play the guitar. My father grew up with music. My grandfather was an accomplished pianist. There’s a very interesting piano story in our family that is in the book I’m writing now, a fictional account of my family’s experiences in Asia during World War II.
5. What do you do for fun… when you aren’t writing? I LOVE to downhill ski and cook and make my garden look pretty. I love being in the garden. Nothing is more fun than having the family over for a nice dinner, so rare these days as my kids are all grown. I also travel a lot because of my husband’s business and we enjoy learning about parts of the country we’ve never lived in before, getting to know the food scene and meeting new people.
6. Who is your favorite character in your books? Who is the most fun to write?
Well that’s a tough one. I think my favorite character is always the one I haven’t met yet!
7. Quick—what’s the best ice cream flavor: Vanilla or chocolate?
Easy…CHOCOLATE! My favorite ice cream place is called Salt & Straw and is in Portland, OR and they have the BEST ice cream on the planet!!! I have withdrawals!
8. What is your favorite all-time book?
Again, tough to answer. I guess I’d have to say The Bible.
9. Where can people find you online?
10. Where can they buy your books?
Nanette’s Giving Boutique in Yorkville, IL sells Winnemucca and Nanette donates 10% of her profits to local families in need.
And here on Amazon:
[I donate part of the proceeds of Winnemucca to The Wounded Warrior Project, in honor of my brave nephew Cody, an injured Marine]
11. What is something about you that no one would think to ask?
Gilmore Girls or Gossip Girl? You would also never know that that’s an impossible question for me to answer! I do love them so!
Thank you so much for being on the blog today, Laura! I can’t wait to read 13 on Halloween!!
Thanks for having me on the blog today Courtney! And thanks for helping to spread the word about 13 on Halloween & Winnemucca! Happy Halloween to your readers:)