Elle Casey Interview Questions & Answers
Interviewer: When did you first start writing fully developed, complete stories?
Elle Casey: 2012, with my first novel Wrecked.
I: Which of your books are you most proud of and why?
EC: I’m proud of every single one! They all take a piece of me to put together and they all pull from my life or my history in one way or another. I don’t have any favorites.
I: Where does your inspiration come from?
EC: Life. My past. My future. Things I see on the street or dream about. Sometimes weird stories on Yahoo.com too.
I: Best and worst thing about being an author (and why).
EC: Best: having readers tell me they love my work and it’s changed their lives in a good way; Worst: having people spend a whole lot of time and energy discussing why and how much I suck at writing.
I: Best and worst thing about interacting with fans on social media.
EC: Best: finding out how they took my characters into their minds and felt their emotions and lived with them through their struggles on the page. Worst: Facebook limits who I can interact with, forcing me to pay a lot of money if I want my fans to actually see my posts. I hate that.
I: First 10 books on your TBR list:
EC: My TBR list is not that long. I pretty much only read what my book club has on order for the month or non-fiction on topics that interest me like horses (I’m seriously horse-mad). There are two reasons for this: 1, I don’t have any time to read for pleasure because I write a novel pretty much every month, and 2. I worry that other people’s work will bleed into mine, and I like to remain original!
I: Most played songs on your ipod?
EC: Right now, cello music because it helps block out noise while I write. I can’t listen to anything with words when I write, otherwise I start singing and then can’t write anything at all (except lyrics.) But I have very eclectic taste in music. I don’t listen to much jazz or blues, but lots of rock, pop, country, celtic, and instrumental stuff.
I: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
EC: I’m a 46-year-old former lawyer, former veteran of the USAF, former stock broker, former restaurant owner, former CEO, turned writer. I have 1 husband (second one’s a charm), 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 horses (I’m angling for a third, though). I’m American, but I live in southern France. I moved here in 2010 for a one-year adventure and never left. I own a small winery that produces kickass red wine (syrah and grenache grapes), and I like to travel both to the US and here in Europe. I also enjoy camping, but I do it with my tiny caravan so I can sleep on a real bed. I love to ride my horse, and I take lessons several times a week; I only started two years ago, so I have a lot to learn and a great fear of dying. I dream of riding across France on horseback someday, and I’m sure I’ll eventually do it. I’ve been married for 12 years to the nicest, most considerate and patient man in the entire world. I kissed a lot of frogs before I found my prince, but he was worth the wait. He taught me that real romance and real love exists and that all us girls deserve to have it. I support women in business and independent women who want to make their lives better through hard work and dedication to good causes. I’m a sucker for baby animal videos or dog or cat videos, so if I’m on my computer and not writing, I’m probably watching those on my Facebook feed. My kids say I’m mean and funny, and my dogs sleep at my feet every night. My favorite fairground snack is cotton candy, and I have a terrible sweet tooth when the fair is not in session. My favorite cookie is the pecan sandie. (Is this enough? Or TMI? I could go on…)
I: How did you choose the genre you write in?
EC: I write in every single genre that interests me as a reader, so right now that includes romance, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, action/adventure, thriller, suspense … I might even try mystery one of these days (I’ve been binging on Castle re-runs).
I: When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
EC: I don’t outline, so I can’t speak about that. Character names I just pull out of a hat or off my Facebook page (lots of my readers’ names are in my books), so that’s fun, but it only lasts a moment. I suppose the plot is the best. Since I don’t know the plot ahead of time, I enjoy watching it unfold under my fingers. Editing? Bleck. Who likes editing?
I: How did you get your start in writing?
EC: By just trying it. You never know until you try if you’ll be good at anything, so you might as well try, right?
I: Name a favourite book boyfriend (not one of your own).
EC: I could never find a book boyfriend I really loved, which is why I wrote the ones I did in my books. They’re different than the average book boyfriend, I think. I guess the guy I’ve found sexiest in the last 15 years has been Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, but not because he was a very good boyfriend to Bella. I was also quite partial to Eric Northman, even though he was a murderous a-hole most of the time. Handsome vampires are sexy, so I guess that’s as close as I get to a book boyfriend that’s not one I’ve written (because Mack of Shine Not Burn is the best book boyfriend ever! ha ha!)
I: If you could spend a month with any of your favorite book boyfriends, which one would it be and why?
EC: I’d hang out with Mack from Shine Not Burn because he’s sexy, intelligent, he rides a horse, he’s confident, he knows how to treat a lady, and he comes from an awesome family.
I: If you could collaborate with any well-known author, who would it be and why?
EC: Nora Roberts. I’m a fan from waaaay back. I like how she mixes it up genre-wise, writes a lot, and really respects her readers. I respect her a ton, so if she agreed to write with me, I’d consider that a huuuuge compliment.
I: Where do you do most of your writing?
EC: In my bed with my laptop in my lap.
I: How long does a typical writing project take you, from idea conception to publication?
EC: 3-4 weeks.
I: What piece of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
EC: Write. Don’t just dream about writing, or talk about wanting to write, or read about writing, or do practice exercises designed to help you learn how to write. Just write. And then keep doing that. You can’t have a career as a writer if you can’t finish writing a book. Then, once you’ve done that, edit over and over until it’s the best you can do. Then ask for feedback from trusted, gentle sources. If you have problems with your writing, read a book or two on writing and edit again. You’ll never be a good writer if you don’t WRITE. Also, if you don’t read a lot, you should probably read at least 50 books in your preferred genre before you even start to write in it, because you have to know what readers of that genre will be looking for. Reader expectations must be met always and exceeded whenever possible.
I: What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
EC: I write in many genres, but I’ve been a reader of romance since I was 8. Yes, I was reading Harlequin romances when I was 8!! My parents didn’t care; as long as I was reading something, they were happy. And my grandmother was a frequent visitor and she always had stacks of those things around. Sexy, sexy! (to an 8-year-old, anyway)
I: When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
EC: Right now, science fiction. But my tastes change almost with the seasons. I’ve read a little of everything. My first love after romance was fantasy.
I: Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you “later in life”?
EC: I always thought I would try to write a book, but I wouldn’t call it a burning passion at all until I actually tried it. Now it’s an all-consuming, burning passion and addiction.
I: What books/authors have most influenced your life?
EC: Probably the most influential books were the ones I read as a child, that fed my imagination. Madeleine L’Engle was a biggie. The Narnia Chronicles. The Dragonlance series. Stuff like that. Anything that involved kids or independent loners surviving or having adventures without parental guidance. My most favorite all time book as a kid was The Boxcar Children, the first book in the series.
I: How do you develop your plots and characters?
EC: I come up with either the plot first or the main character (usually but not always a female). If it’s the plot, then I try to imagine what character would be involved in such a thing. If it’s a character, I look at their personality and wonder what they’ll get up to, what is driving them toward what thing, and set up a first scene. Then I just kind of sit back and watch a movie in my head of that scene and that character and let them guide me.
I: You are quite prolific, how do you maintain such a punishing schedule? Do you have issues with procrastination?
EC: I set up word count goals for each day that I’ll write. I don’t stop until I reach that required number of words. At least, I try not to. Sometimes life gets in the way. I am a HUGE procrastinator, so having that and a calendar with a strict publishing deadline is the only way I can get anything done. I am a harsh taskmaster, but I remind myself daily that it’s my readers who pay my bills, so I have to do whatever it takes to make them happy. I’m not perfect; I miss deadlines or get sick and can’t write until my sinuses clear, but when that happens, I try really really hard to work double time and make up for it.
I: What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked about your books?
EC: I’ve had people ask me why I don’t make all my books free. I guess they don’t realize it’s how I make my living.
Note: The interview was provided by Xpresso Book Tours as part of the Don’t Make Me Beautiful Book Blitz promotional items.