Ever wish you could sit down with a cup o’ joe with a writer and ask all those pesky questions?
Well, you don’t have to because I did! Sort of.
This month we’re meeting Stephanie Ellis, a fellow writer in my Author’s Tale group. This writing group is seriously made up of some of the best people I’ve ever known, some of the most generous writers and critiquers. So, I’m delighted that you get to meet yet another writing AT friend of mine.
Where did you grow up and do you live around there still? What drew you to where you live now?
I grew up in Illinois, Montana, and then spending from 6th grade until I graduated from high school in Wyoming. I will always call Wyoming home. I live in Mesquite, Nevada. I moved there after I got out of the military. My parents retired there.
Dogs or cats?
I have both. I have a bug-pug/Boston terrier mix. I went on deployment and asked my parents to watch her and I never got her back. I also have two cats, rescues.
Morning person or night owl?
Night owl. I’m up early in the morning, but I can’t sleep, so I’m up late as well.
Coffee or apple cider or hot chocolate?
all the above.
City or country or ‘burbs?
I would love to live in a log cabin somewhere, where it’s quiet.
Favorite music to write to? (or silence?)
When I’m writing, the TV is usually on. But some rock songs get me inspired.
Favorite movie? (It’s okay if there’s a few… I’m not sure I could narrow down to less than 10, haha!)
Gone with the Wind. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I love the older movies.
Heels or flats?
The military destroyed my feet. I had to have surgery, so I only wear flats.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Helping my Dad. He’s in a wheelchair. My mom passed away in 2013-around Christmas, so if I’m not writing or doing homework, I’m doing chores that he can’t do. I don’t mind it though. Writing is an escape for me.
Top 3 MUST READ books?
Any by Angela Snyder or Lane Hart.
Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu.
When we were Gods by Colin Falconer.
Too many to list.
When did you first know you were a writer? Was there a specific moment when you thought “yes, I want to be a writer” or has it always been part of you?
I started a blog for a class at UNLV and people in class loved it. Then it moved into short stories, and then working on my first book. I wanted to feel accomplished. Even though I published, I still feel like a piece of shit. It’s an anxiety thing. I write to keep me sane. It’s an escape from life for me. My first book has a lot of errors, and I can only get better. My dream is to have a best seller. I have a long way to go since I’ve only sold 4 books. I just want people to read my stuff.
When did you decide to pursue writing as a career? How did those closest to you respond?
Just kind of happened. My Dad was like “eh,” my sister was like, “hire an editor,” my friend who is also a writer, “loved it.”
What is your general writing process?
I got nothing. My blog happens when something sparks my interest and I have to say something. Mostly related to dating. As for my books, I have no idea. I sometimes write the ending first and then fill in everything else. I sometimes think I need to get organized, but it never happens.
What is your general editing process? How long do you wait between finishing the first draft and starting to edit?
I like to reread everything and add to it, before having someone else look at it. I edited my first book, but now I’m going to hire an editor. Once I finish, I like to give myself a break before diving into the second draft.
How many times do you edit your manuscript before sending it off to your editor/publisher?
Wish I had a publisher. Just hired my first editor. And before I send it to her, I will go back through it a few more times before sending it to her.
What is your character development method?
I live through my characters, in a way. My love life sucks and so I make men that I find dream worthy. The main girl, she is a problem solver, but shy, and innocent. She might seem frail, but soon she will come into her own.
How do you work your writing/research? Do you write a bit first and then research? Research and then write? Some other combination?
Combination of both.
What is the best piece of writing advice someone gave you?
Just do it. Even if what you write sucks, just keep writing. Read what others write in your genre and just keep going. Do it because you love it.
What does your personal writing community look like?
I don’t have a person community. I write for everyone. If they want to read my blog, go for it. Same for my book.
What are your go-to ways to overcome writer’s block?
Take a break. Wait a day, go see a movie. I also take an MMA class. I’ll use that as an outlet, great way to let off steam. I think walking away for a few days is the best outlet for me. I might research. Right now, I’m asking my Army buddy about being a grunt, it’s for my next book, and I want it to be realistic.
If you could give starting out writers a piece of advice, what would you most want to tell them?
Don’t be discouraged. You will be rejected, your writing might not be up to par, at first. But just keep going.
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