Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! She has a brand new book out! And she’s another fantasy author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome J. Elizabeth Vincent!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It’s such a beautiful area that I’m never lacking in inspiration from nature. We also have a thriving arts community that I treasure very much.

Why do you write?

Reading and telling stories has been something I’ve been passionate about since I can remember. Seeing someone’s face light up when they’ve read or heard one of my stories, when they can imagine themselves in it—well, there’s nothing quite like that feeling. I think most people need some sort of creative outlet, and writing is one of mine, probably my main one, as I’ve always felt connected to the power of words and what they can be used to create.

When did you start writing?

I’m not exactly sure, but I remember in high school deciding that writing was something I wanted to do. Between a particularly encouraging freshman English teacher and a best friend who couldn’t get enough of my stories, I was hooked.

What genre(s) do you write?

I will try just about anything, but my favorite genre to write is any kind of fantasy. I like the freedom of being able to rewrite the rules of reality while still having the boundaries of the way “people”—be they elves, monsters, or humans—relate to each other. I’ve also written plenty of nonfiction, along with romance, suspense, poetry, and even horror.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I often write early in the morning, around 5:30 a.m. My full house is quiet then, and I haven’t yet allowed anything but the story enter my overcrowded mind. I write for one to two hours before starting the rest of my day, which includes working as a freelance editor and designer and homeschooling my three children.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

When it comes to fiction, I’ve found a way to make the words flow in a way that’s easy to read and very natural. I believe that comes from years of reading and editing for others. I think the biggest help is just writing through, practicing my craft as much as I can.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

I find inspiration everywhere, especially in nature, but I also find inspiration from art, books, and television. For example, one night I was brainstorming story ideas, and I thought how cool it would be if there were a superhero like Jessica Jones but with wings and set in a fantasy world. However, when Mariah, the character who came from that idea, grew, she became something much different and developed a unique personality all her own.

I don’t often put myself in my writing. Like many people, I find myself kind of boring, but sometimes I’ll pick out a particularly juicy or odd element or thought from my life and grow an idea from that seed.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I do a muddy mix of both outlining and flying by the seat of my pants. I often start with some kind of outline, but I usually don’t stick to it to the letter because once I’m in the zone, the story starts to write itself. However, when I get stuck or feel like something is not working, I’ll go back to the outline, reworking things until the story feels better.

As far as speed goes, it all depends on the day or week. When there is a lot going on with my family or freelance business, my writing slows down, but when those things are slower or more even, I get a lot more words in.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published) + indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

My latest book was actually my debut novel. I also have two nonfiction books published under my real name and a couple of short stories published under my pen name.

Raven Thrall (Legends of the Ceo San: Book 1) tells the story of a girl with wings who has been sheltered all her life, only to be suddenly driven from her home and everything she knows. Years later, she finds herself locked in a struggle with her own identity when she is asked to return to her homeland, where her kind is still persecuted, to help another young family facing slavery because of their special gifts. In her quest, Mariah must decide between doing what is safe and doing what is right.

I decided to self-publish my second nonfiction book along with Raven Thrall for many reasons. One was that I prefer the creative control and the ability to oversee every step of the publishing process, from story building to price setting. Also, having worked in the publishing industry in one form or another for the last twenty years and with constant self-education, I felt confident that I could do a good job on my own or at least that I knew how to find the right people to help me.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I have three works in progress. Healer’s Sacrifice is a prequel novella set in the Legends of the Ceo San world. It’s very close to being finished. I have also started Book 2 of the Legends of the Ceo San series, which is tentatively titled Revelation of the Dragon. I’m also working on a third draft of an urban fantasy/lesbian paranormal romance novel called Blood Mastery. I actually finished the first draft of Blood Mastery before I wrote Raven Thrall, but it’s been my biggest challenge, and I’m still working on getting that one right before bringing it to my readers.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

Honestly, my goal as a writer is and has always been to entertain (with fiction) and to educate (with nonfiction). If I can help someone have a better day by giving them a fun read or by offering them some new information, it makes me happy. Personally, I want to make writing a large part of the way I make a living as well, so I plan to keep writing books as long as it makes me and my readers happy.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

When I was 16, I wrote to my favorite author, whose books are still a source of inspiration for me. Stephen R. Donaldson was kind enough to write me back. He gave me the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten, although it took me almost 30 years to apply it. His advice was to apply the seat of my pants to the seat of my chair and write.

I’ve learned that writing consistently not only gets the job done but that the act of writing makes you a better writer, just like practicing dance makes you a better dancer. You can’t expect to be a good writer if you only practice once or twice a year or when you feel like it. Writing every day (or as close as you can manage) hones your writing muscles. It teaches you that the blank page is not an obstacle. It teaches you that you can write when you’re mildly sick, when you’re not in the best mood, and when the muses are giving you nothing but drivel. You sit and write like you go to work every day. It’s a job, and some days are better than others. Thankfully, with writing, you usually get at least one chance to go back and polish or even redo it, but you can’t do that until you get it on the page to begin with.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Barb!


Raven Thrall will be free on Amazon Kindle from Monday, May 21, 2018 at 12:00 am PDT to Friday, May 25, 2018 at 11:59 PM PDT!

Fantasy & Urban Fantasy Author J. Elizabeth Vincent






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1 Comment

  1. Mama Vagna Bad kano?

     /  13/06/2018

    nice moment

    Liked by 1 person


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