Welcome to my interview with author Elaine Calloway. I would like to thank Elaine for taking the time to do the interview. Now lets get to know her....
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Yes. Writing was always my default option when I’d tell people what I wanted to be when I grew up. I love stories in any medium--books, puppet shows, films, etc. Writing brought me a kind of peace, a sense of happiness.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Probably after I completed several short stories and had a few published. Maybe it was having someone external acknowledge my work, but that was when it felt real to me. Now, years later, I believe a writer is someone who writes, who has to write, to tell stories no matter what.
How long did you write before deciding to publish?
I tried the traditional publishing route for about six years. In the end, it came down to getting agent/editor industry feedback that was very positive, but they never knew quite how to market my book. Some of my books cross genres, and traditional pubs wanted something more clear cut. So I took the plunge in 2013 after several of my favorite agents complimented my stories, and here I am!
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Yes and no. I’m a technical writer by day, and a fiction writer by night and weekend. So yes, I get to use writing skills in my day job, but it’s nowhere near as much fun. Basically I’m writing computer software manuals. The fiction writing is my passion.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Water’s Blood. Nature’s Elementals and Fallen Angels battle each other in a good vs. evil war for the souls of humanity.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I self-publish through my LLC, which is The Writers Canvas.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Depends on the book. On average, about seven months. I don’t plot out everything beforehand but I do know my characters and their conflicts. I’m prolific, so I can get out a rough draft in a few months if I stick to a schedule. Then there’s the revising and polishing, both of which take time.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Water’s Blood is Book One of the Elemental Clan Series. Book Two, Raging Fire, releases summer 2013, with the remaining 2 books releasing in late 2013/early 2014. After the Elemental Series is done, I plan to return to ghost stories. I have several books written but they need polishing before I put them online.
What genre would you place your books into?
Paranormal with romantic elements.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural. Not in an over-the-top way, but I do believe it’s possible to be visited by ghosts in your past, that maybe there are some beings walking around this Earth who are not who we think, etc. There’s so much room for fiction with a hint of truth in the paranormal genre.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Hmm…not 1 specific favorite, no, but I do tend to be drawn to the “mentor” character in most of my books. I like the mentor character and the relationship to the protagonist.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
Most of my life, but in the hopes of publishing, I would say twelve years. I started keeping a journal at age 12 and I loved it. That spurred me onward to keep writing, no matter what form. Now, I draw inspiration from everywhere, but particularly from tenacious people who never give up.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Yes I always use music. In fact, I create a soundtrack for each book with songs that fit the character, mood, or story. Sometimes I stick to my office chair, which has a view of shelves with inspirational icons on them. Other times, I do best writing in a café. Depends on the day.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes. I like seeing which parts of the story people respond to, and if someone doesn’t like a part of the book, I want to know that as well.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
With Water’s Blood, I chose the title last. With some books, I knew the title before I even had the story clear in my head. Guess it is one of those “it depends” answers, but I would say that most times, the title comes later.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
With place names, I tend to use real and iconic places rather than fictionalizing a city. So I don’t need to create a name for a place. For characters? Lots and lots of research. I like those web sites which list names and their meanings, for I want to choose character names which describe some aspect of their personality or trait. Sometimes I’ll get a top 5 list and ask friends to pick their favorite; this method occasionally helps me decide on a character name.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I’d say that I pick the character name first and then create them. In Water’s Blood, there are three villain characters. I knew I needed three villains, all of varying degrees of evil, so I chose three names that meant evil and then fleshed out their characteristics from that point.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I decide what I think the defining traits should be for the character, but as I write the book, the character always surprises me. So I’d say I have a very basic approach in the beginning; I know what the character wants and their basic personality. But it’s only after writing the book that I truly know the character’s inner soul.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I don’t really like stories that are only meant to communicate a moral. However, if I were to pick a theme for this series, it’s about the importance of choice, how our choices affect our lives.
Water’s Blood is about fighting to protect free will. Book Two, Raging Fire, is about defending your choices once you have free will. Books Three and Four will have something similar but overall, the theme is the importance of the choices we make, and which paths they lead us toward.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Once I owned an e-reader, it has become my favorite type of reading. I will still read hardback, paperback books, but I much prefer the eBooks.
Who are your favorite authors and why?
I love any writer who can use language to make a beautiful picture and tell a story. Some of my favorites who do this well are Dennis Lehane, Cornelia Funke, Pat Conroy, Kami Garcia.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think books and movies are two different mediums and therefore, sometimes need to be told differently. I like how some of my favorite books by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, etc.) have translated to film. I like how Kami Garcia’s Beautiful Creatures translated to film. The worst movie transfer was probably Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides. The film focused on too much other stuff rather than the main story of the book.
Your favorite food is?
Seafood! I’m originally from New Orleans.
Your favorite singer/group is?
I have too many to list, but right now, there are several songs by PINK that are on my book playlist.
Your favorite color is?
Your favorite thing to do other than writing is?
Photography. I enjoy capturing a moment or an image on camera, whether it’s today’s digital technology or if I use my old manual camera with all the bells and whistles. I think photography also teaches me to see things differently, which can be a useful exercise for a writer.
More about Elaine -
Elaine Calloway is originally from New Orleans and can still do a decent Cajun accent upon request. She is currently writing the Elemental Clan Series, a series of paranormal tales set in iconic cities such as New Orleans. Book One, WATER’S BLOOD, is available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
Book Two, RAGING FIRE, will be released summer 2013.
For more information or to connect with Elaine online, visit her web site at www.elainecalloway.com
Website and blog : www.thewriterscanvas.com
About Water's Blood -
The Elemental Clan Series
The Elemental Clan Series
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Fantasy
Publisher: The Writers Canvas, LLC
Date of Publication: February 1, 2013
Number of pages: 511
Word Count: 95572
Cover Artist: Taryn Knight, Leafbreeze Creations
Nature’s Elementals—Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water—have lived for countless millennia. Disguised as humans, they are charged with one mission: protect the innocent from fallen angel clans, who reap human souls and force them to do their bidding.
Brooke, a Water Elemental stationed in New Orleans, broke the rules once—she mated with a human. For her indiscretion, she is forbidden to share a life with her loved ones: NOPD officer Alex and their half-breed daughter, Ella.
Now Ella is about to turn sixteen, and the local clan of fallen angels is determined to snare her soul by Halloween.
Brooke broke the rules once by allowing love to interfere with her mission. Now she and Alex must put consequences aside to break the rules again—if they wish to save their daughter’s soul.
“Hell is empty; all the devils are here.”
― William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Brooke gripped the bar’s wooden edge until her knuckles turned white. Nausea and trepidation washed through her human form. Not now. Please. Not when her New Orleans pub, Armand’s, was filled with Friday night locals. She couldn’t keep walking away from her cover job. And she definitely couldn’t tell her customers the truth.
Her mission was critical: protect innocent humans from the Minare, a local clan of Fallen Angels. Who knew dealing with a teenager would be the more difficult job?
The nausea grew stronger, churning in the depths of her stomach. For one hopeful moment, she wondered if the Shrimp Creole she’d eaten for lunch could be the culprit. A sense of uneasiness snaked through her veins. No such luck. All signs pointed to the distress call.
Images in her line of vision began to spin. Gold, purple, and green Fleur de Lis emblems on the bar walls blurred into a kaleidoscope haze. Oh, yes. She recognized this feeling—the ole Tilt-O-Whirl-from-Hell. She shut her eyes, wanting her equilibrium to stabilize, but the famed Mardi Gras colors danced behind her eyelids.
Breathe. She inhaled deep. Beer, tobacco smoke, and lemon polish overpowered her nostrils.
The impending doom intensified. Your daughter is in danger. You have to go.
Panic churned inside her like a tornado. She’d been afraid this would happen.
What was she supposed to do? Family and her mission were mutually exclusive in her world. She couldn’t kick her customers out. Her only option was to leave someone in charge. Someone trustworthy.
Quinn, one of her favorite regulars and a self-professed hippie, approached and plunked his shot glass down. “Refill when you get a chance. Life treating you okay?”
Perfect. Quinn and his wife had helped her rebuild the pub after Hurricane Katrina. They were good folks, the kind of humans Brooke could trust her customers with.
She tilted the amber whiskey bottle and poured. “I’ll make you a deal. Watch the place for thirty minutes, and you can have all the refills you want.”
“Works for me. What happened to John?”
Brooke grabbed her keys and jacket. She didn’t have time to get into the particulars. “Quit on me yesterday, said he’s moving back home to care for his parents. I haven’t had the chance to place a want-ad for someone new.”
“I’ll hold down the fort. Go do what you need to do.” Quinn strolled behind the bar, his body moving in tune to the Zydeco music coming from the speakers. On any other day, she liked the New Orleans locals and their leisurely way of life. Just not now. She needed to go.
She sprinted for the back exit. “Thanks. I’ll be back soon.”
“Is everything okay?” he called after her.
Not really. She didn’t turn around, only said, “I won’t be gone long, thanks,” and ducked out the back door to avoid further questions.
Brooke ran down the crooked sidewalk. Live oaks draped with Spanish moss lined the narrow street filled with shotgun houses. Fortunately, Alex only lived two blocks away. The short walk made it easy to keep watch over him and Ella.
Darkness covered the sage-colored home with black shutters, but the full moon’s beams slanted through a rear side window. Brooke crept alongside the long narrow house, which extended back for almost a city block. These old Mid-City homes had more rooms than she could keep up with. Over the years, she’d learned which ones she could easily peer through.
Peeking inside, Brooke saw Ella tiptoeing across the study, headed straight for the cabinet.
Brooke’s neck went tight. Holy hell, this was no false alarm. Ella was a mere twenty steps away from the cabinet. Or rather, from disaster.