May is filled with guests. The first is GR Smashwords Authors group – author of the month. Ladies and gents, please welcome Elizabeth Los!
Where do you live and write from?
I was born in California, raised in California and now live… in California. Though I’ve been in one state most of my life, I have traveled to other states within the USA. Internationally, I’ve been to Mexico and Venezuela. I was in Venezuela for a month and loved it. What a wide range of sights in such short distance… the capital city bustling with traffic, smaller villages in stark contrast to the high income of the city, lush vegetation that gives the appearance of driving through a rainforest at times, lovely people, beautiful music, delicious food, great snorkeling…I could go on and on. I especially enjoyed the mountains where there was an obvious German influence on the local culture. It’s an amazing mixture of music, architecture and food.
When did you start writing?
I started writing short stories in Junior High. They were just for fun, but something that I felt inspired to do. It was in college where I really started writing full stories. They were actually just meant for fun, but my friend enjoyed them so much she thought I could do well as a writer. You know how that is. Family or friends tell you its great, but its a bias opinion. I’m still stretching my wings and seeing where this will take me. I like challenges and this is just one of many I’ve tasked myself with in my life.
What genre(s) do you write?
I’m still trying to figure that one out. Second on the Right is my first Fantasy novel. I’ve written a few short stories that are available for free: Under (aka Under Society) – science fiction/post-apocalyptic, iWitness – science fiction, Christmas with the Kalli – Christmas themed horror, Depths – co-authored horror. I’ve had fun writing all of them, which has been no help for finding which genre I’m best suited for. Do you think I have to pick just one or am I allowed to bounce around for a while? I hope I can, because I like the change.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
I grew up with a love for the classic movies, especially science fiction. My favorites are still The Day The Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, Them!, and Star Trek. I used to sit with my father on a weekly basis to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. All of these movies have influenced and inspired me I find inspiration in nearly everything, from the people I meet, the places I visit, or even the music I hear. Yeah, I’m currently listening to my Film Score station on Pandora.
Do I have to admit if I put myself in my stories? 🙂 I do, but not wholly. I place aspects/characteristics of myself into my characters. For example, James has a temper, one that he finds difficult to control depending on the situation. Yeah, that’s me. I’ll say no more. I’d rather not provide additional cannon fodder.
Do you have a specific writing routine?
Not really. If I’m bored at the doctor’s office, I’ll brainstorm, jotting down words or phrases to spark ideas. I was teased once by another author who couldn’t interpret my notes, but they made sense to me!
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Outliner first, then improviser. I like to have a rough idea first, then outline it. Once I have an idea of how the story will turn out, I can relax and let my imagination take full control. As for my speed, that really depends on my inspiration. There are times that I can’t type fast enough, the ideas are milling about so quickly in my brain. It’s a good thing I can type over 80 wpm.
Tell us about your latest book
Second on the Right is a reimagining of the tale of Peter Pan. I was inspired by J.M. Barrie’s story, Peter Pan (aka Peter and Wendy). By the way, his birthday is May 9th, the day of my novel’s release. I loved Captain Hook, but I didn’t like how he cowered on deck when the pirates heard the tick of the crocodile. I hated Peter Pan. I especially hated the same character in Disney’s movie version. I often wondered why my friends cheered him on while I was hoping Hook would win. Does that make me an old soul, one that desires to grow up rather than stay youthful? Or does it indicate that I appreciate the more complicated, more intellectual characters? I’ll admit to the latter.
Here’s an abbreviated version of SotR’s blurb:
From an ancient promise, treachery and intrigue follow protagonists through our world and one lost to the waves. Bound by an invisible bond, they’re thrust into a fantastical world of pirates and demons. Will they unite through time, fulfilling the promise of ancestors, or will tempers ignite leading to failure?
Createspace (available on May 9th)
Amazon: Coming May 9th!
Here’s a fun Youtube audio excerpt that voice actor Ethan Sawyer put together for me.
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
I like control. I like having a say from the cover to the story. I realize there are advantages to traditional publishing, but there are also a lot of disadvantages.Two co-authors that I follow have on occasion mentioned how their editor or publisher didn’t like their title, their cover or parts of their story. I can see their frustration. Still, they are successful writers and their books have been on the New York Times Best Sellers list. There are pros and cons to both sides, but I’m happy being an Indie. It’s like being part of a secret club where we can do secret things secretly.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
I have a paranormal mystery I’m working on that I’m hoping to have ready in two years. I even played around with a cover and title idea for the story, though this will most likely change when it is released.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
I want to learn more in order to improve my writing. I love telling stories, but it’s frustrating for readers if there are typos, grammatical errors or if the sentences simply don’t flow. I want the reader to be able to sit back, or perhaps on the edge of their seat, and really submerge themselves into the story. I want to give them an escape from the stresses of the day, if only for a little while. That’s what I truly enjoy about reading and I’d love to pass that along in my writing. In order to achieve this goal, I’m reading and writing more.
I had the privilege of working with a beta reader on Fanfiction.net. I had commented that my favorite character was Sherlock Holmes, but that I’d never dare to write a story with him in it. I felt that he was way out of my league…too cerebral. I love reading the stories, but to write them? Nah. Well, he encouraged me to do just that. I had a story in mind, so I decided to take the challenge. I wrote the first chapter. I was proud of it. What a great story this will be! What response did I receive from my beta reader? He tore it down, picked it apart. He did everything a beta reader should do. He made me take it back, think on it and rewrite it again. There were times I felt beaten with each chapter I’d send, saddened that he didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. But you know what? I got through it and finished the story. And I have to admit that even though it’s fan fiction, I’m really proud of that writing! I won’t ever be able to publish it, but I do plan to post it on my website, for anyone who loves the BBC’s Sherlock. For the record, I began writing it after the first episode. Just saying in case anyone finds similar events or characters in my story that seem to be found in series 2 or 3.
Where to find Elizabeth: