Books And Bites: Congratulations on the publication of “Ashes”! Tell me a little about it-what’s your pitch?
Stefanie Ellis: Where to begin? Ashes is full of action, adventure, and romance. Here’s the teaser:
Sidney Fox was your average seventeen-year old girl. She looked like everyone else, dressed like everyone else, harbored hopes and dreams…you guessed it, just like everyone else.
After a long and uneventful winter break, Sidney returned to the stale hallways and cranky teachers to find a new addition: a mysterious new student named Cael, he seemed to immediately fall into the role of the most popular person to ever step foot on campus. At first, Sidney was repulsed by the gaggle of girls that hung on his every word, that is, until he explained that he has no control over the attraction others have for him, it’s just one thing out of many that he is just as confused about as she is. Cael knows what he is, but he has no idea how or why. Their search for answers sends them across the world and forces them to go to extreme measures in order to get those answers.
And of course, the first chapter is always available on my website: www.StefanieEllis.net
BAB: No two authors seem to take the same route to publication, but almost every author has an interesting story about their journey. Care to share yours?
SE: Truer words have never been spoken. Getting your book out there is one of the most difficult, yet most fulfilling feelings I could imagine, there aren’t words to describe the coursing emotions I get when I know someone is reading my work.
In the beginning I tried the traditional route. I submitted my first book City of Dreams to countless agents. After months of getting the basic runaround, I chose to forgo an agent altogether and go the self-publishing route. It was probably the best decision I could have made for the sake of my books. Even though self-publishing is a tough road, it’s completely worth it. My work belongs to me, the choices are mine, and each book I sell means the world to me because I know that no one had a hand in it but me. There aren’t many things in life that rewarding.
BAB: How did you get the idea for your novel?
SE: I’ve always had a passion for vampires (among other mythical beings), and after the completion of my first book, it was time to put all those well thought out plans on paper and see how they played out.
BAB: Do you have another book in the works?
SE: The Gray Area series is comprised of three books (Ashes, Illusions and Ruins) I’m currently working on Illusions. With any luck, it will be released sometime in March, although nothing is set in stone yet.
BAB: Your current novel, Ashes, is marketed as a young adult novel. Did you originally set out to write a YA novel?
SE: Yes. I may be twenty-five, but I’ll always be a teenager at heart. YA books are my chosen genre.
BAB: How did you get the inspiration for Sidney/Cael/Liam?
SE: Admittedly, Sidney is a little chunk of me, at least that’s what I hear from friends and family. She just fell into the role perfectly. The fact that she never planned to experience love—or much else for that matter—and when Cael came around he completely changed her way of thinking.
Cael is the vampire I always wanted to see written about. He’s a positive, upbeat kind of guy, and I love that about him!
Liam is a little harder to explain, at first I was just trying to create a villain, but he became a lot more than that.
BAB: Who is your favorite character? Why?
SE: That’s a tough one. While I love Sid to death, I think I’ll have to go with Cael. He can lighten any mood in an instant with nothing but charm and wit.
BAB: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
SE: Funny story. I actually didn’t know until I started writing my first novel. I’d written things before, but never with such passion. When it was done and I had a full novel in front of me, it hit me: This is what I want to do, more than anything.
BAB: In writing, Ashes, what was your most surprising discovery?
SE: My attachment to the characters. The first time around Ashes had a different outcome, but I couldn’t find it in my heart to destroy a character when I knew there had to be hope for him somewhere. It’s strange how they start to make their own decisions during the process.
BAB: What’s your writing routine? Do you write in the mornings, nights, daily, or when the mood strikes you?
SE: Mainly, my writing happens late, late at night when everyone is asleep (including the curled up cat in my lap and the snoring dog at my feet). Although there are times when inspiration hits and I have to hunt down a pen and something to write on, which can be anything from a napkin to a coloring book. (Note to self: Buy more notepads).
BAB: What experience did you have with your publisher? Good? Bad?
SE: Since I am my publisher, we have a fantastic relationship! We never argue, and when we have minor disagreements, my say is the final one.
BAB: If you had to pick one author as your favorite, who would it be?
SE: I’m going with Christopher Moore, that man can find humor in the most obscure things, and make me laugh until it hurts.
BAB: Finally, thank you for taking part in this interview. Before you go, what message would you like to send to your fans?
SE: I would like to tell them how much they mean to me, and how honored I am that they’ve read, and hopefully, enjoyed my books.