An Interview with Ellie Ann

Along with being my sister and best friend, Ellie Ann is one of the best writers I know. Her blog is hilarious, her notes on birthday cards bring tears to my eyes, and her stories keep me on the edge of my seat. This week was the debut of her first solo novel, The Silver Sickle. It’s a young adult fantasy based on the story of Esther…but with aliens and robots. :) It’s a beautiful story about the sacrifices two extraordinary people make for each other, and the one thing that’s more important than their love. One reviewer says ::

The Silver Sickle took me to one of the most original worlds I’ve ever had the chance to visit in a science fiction novel. Add in a strong, determined heroine, adversaries who you can’t help but feel sorry for even as you hope for their defeat, and a hero of the nerd-kind, and you have a highly enjoyable adventure that will certainly liven up your weekend.

I’m always so curious about the strange and wonderful ideas that come from Ellie’s mind and also about how she manages to get all that writing done! She agreed to answer some questions of mine and I’m thrilled to be able to share them with you :: 

I’ve always thought the book of Esther read like an exciting novel, but I never would have thought about adding aliens and robots! How did the idea for The Silver Sickle come about?

Well we can’t have Haman being a normal dude, that’s boring. And aliens vs. robots is so epic, I couldn’t resist. 

A lot of the world building and ideas were hashed out with Albert Berg during the first draft of the book. Then when he gave me the rights, they evolved into what I have now. Basically, all my first ideas suck. I discard the first layer of ideas until I get to the really good ones—this often takes DAYS of thinking about it while cooking, driving, and doing laundry. That’s a big reason why I advise all writers I know to either become a mom or take some job in the service industry.

I absolutely loved the interesting and complex characters in your book. So spill the beans…which one is your favorite?

Farissa. She’s adorable and tough at the same time. Like a baby rhino. She’s so full of life yet so aware of her mortality, which drives her to experience new things yet never really hold onto them. Her character arc shows how she learns how to hold onto what’s hers and take care of it, something that I want in my character arc as well. 

So what’s next for you? Any more adventures with Farissa and Zel?

Nope. It’s a stand alone book. Unlesssssss….the book does really well. Then I’ll create a sequel. Because I want more money. 

I always think your blog is so hilarious and off-the-wall. Where do you get your crazy ideas?

Usually from media I watch or read. Or from my kids. Or from brushing my hair. Or from singing “Ole Lang Syne” at the top of my lungs. But MOSTLY from running. My best ideas come when I’m hitting the pavement, I can think better. Oh, and there aren’t three kids pulling at my knees either. That always helps. 

As a mother of three, how do you find the time to write? Sometimes I can’t even pull of getting the dishes done!

That’s probably because you’re against using house elves. If you want to be a serious writer you should seriously consider quitting SPEW and just embrace the time-honored tradition of magical house help.

Joking aside, I could probably be asked this every day of my writing career and have a different answer every time. There are so many stages of life. When the kids were SO small and I had three kids under four, I had to wake up early and write from 5:35 until one of them woke up.

But now that it’s a part time job for me, I get to choose my hours. But even then it was a hard adjustment, and I had to learn how to be productive in the time given me. My most practical tips would be: write at the same time every day (it’s like Pavlov’s dog in that you train your brain to start pumping words at that time…it’s like Field of Dreams in that if you build it they [words] will come, also I NEED to mercilessly cut out every distraction so that always means cutting off my WiFi when I write (then rewarding myself with it during breaks), and then I absolutely cannot underestimate the significance of having a supportive spouse. He’s 100% behind me getting my work done, thus he protects my writing time. *sigh* It’s so romantic!

Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

Nope, not at all. I didn’t want to be a writer until I became a mom and suddenly inherited so much thinking time and house-bound time and a boat-load full of crazy-awesome inspiration from my kids. 

What do you like to do for fun?

Go to movies, the comic store, visit my sisters, and run. I also love taking the kids to the pool, library, and the kid-friendly art museum. 

My favorite part of your Twitter feed are your hilarious quotes from your kids. Tell us a little about your family.

Adara: This morning she asked me to set up the ironing board so she could iron her dress. Fifteen minutes later she comes out, hair brushed, face shining, with a freshly-pressed purple linen dress on. “I ironed it on both sides so it would be perfect.” She’s responsible and loves beauty.

Lilia: She spends the better part of the day racing around the house on her stick horse while wearing a batman shirt and cape. She has a thirst for adventure and fun.

Darius: He lines his trucks and tractors up, then lays down on his side with his face two inches from them, and slowly wheels them forward and backward. He’s an observer and a chill dude.

Thanks SO much for having me on your site!!

You can buy The Silver Sickle for Amazon Kindle, or wait for the paperback later this month. Ellie is also the co-author of The Sarah Steele Thrillers and the writer for a multi-media project called Slice of Life, due out later this year. Go to her website to find out more about her projects, read her blog, and to find her on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks so much for the interview, Ellie! 

Posted by Aanna on Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

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