Interview with Elise Bell
1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
The day is not productive for me at all! I have an 18 mth old son who commands and deserves most of my day time attention. I write everything after dark. Sometimes I get so caught up in it that I am still writing when the sun comes up.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Definitely, all on the computer. I even write little notes on the computer. My desktop is riddled with sticky notes. If I think of something to write I usually run back to laptop and type it on a sticky note before I forget. On the off chance I don’t' have the laptop, and I blame and thank my 7th grade English teacher for this, he showed us how to do outlines for essays in 'connecting bubbles' While I have been taught more refined techniques, I still find myself drawing cloud type bubbles with main ideas and connecting them with crude lines.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
I am a non fiction writer so many if not all of my inspirations come from my every day life. I was a teen mother and am now the mother of 4 girls (a son too but he's only 18 mths) who in various degrees of soon will be teens. I'm terrified. I think I'd be naïve not to be. My specific inspiration for "You Need To Know" was over hearing some teen girls talking about matters such as sex, contraception, and STDs. They were wrong, so ridiculously wrong that I was stunned. Weren't parents giving them information? Do schools not teach this stuff? My answer when I looked was no, and no. These kids want this information. More importantly they need it. In a way they can get into and can relate to. Teens will sleep through boring facts being tossed at them.
4: Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
Well this is my first book and its length is dictated by teen attention spans. So my answer is definitely no. I never write well if I am forcing the issue. If I try to force myself to write I just end up coming back when I'm feeling more inspired and re writing all of it anyway.
5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I am self-published. My particular cover art was a huge blank for me for a while. I worked as a photographer for six years, while I can take nice photos… I can't draw well enough to make recognizable stick figures. I experimented with a cover of sort of photo collage style and I hated it. I am somewhat of a minimalist so it just looked too overwhelming. I decided to go with the words on black because I felt it made more of an impact. I used Wordle.net to design the 'word cloud' that is on the cover. Wordle is fun just for the heck of it too, it takes text and enlarges the words used most. Sometimes I dump my writing in there just to be sure I’m not overusing words.
6: What drives you to chose the career of being a writer?
I'm not sure this is a career for me. I'd love it to be but I have to think of my family as well. I enjoy this but my kids can't eat enjoyment. As an independent author we don't always make a lot of money as I'm sure everyone knows. I'd love to write as a journalist or for a teen or parenting magazine as a career.
7: Do you own an ebook reading devise?
Yes, we have two 'household' Kindles. Obviously I can't afford one for everyone but my mother got two so that the books and time could be shared throughout the house. We all love reading. Even my son picks up the Kindle and pretends to read. I will eventually purchase an iPad for myself. I just prefer waiting for the second generation of most products like this. Gives them time to work out issues.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
Jacqueline Carey is by far my favorite fantasy author. She creates such intricate and immersive settings in her books. Her re imagined history draws you into the story as though you already knew it but were just waiting to be retold. When I was younger I loved Christopher Pike books, they never seemed to be as watered down as most YA novels. I mostly read non fiction and true crime stories. I am reading Her Last Letter, by another indie author, Nancy Johnson and awaiting Naamah's Curse which comes out in June.
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I think they are fun to make and yes I made a bare bones one. I would love to have more resources and a herd of teens to make it how I want it but that's just not the case. It's too long but it's as informative as I can get it with what I have. Here is the link if you'd like to look at it. http://www.youtube.com/user/EliseBellBooks#p/a/u/0/MYHNi7BNM94
10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I am working on getting word out about "You Need To Know." The book is important to me because I don't want young girls to go through what I have. I wrote it so teens can inform themselves. I am donating half of the profit for the book to Planned Parenthood for the development of comprehensive sexual education. I am also working on another young adult book in the spirit of my first called "Screw Boys Will Be Boys" It is about our societies lack of consequence for boys who are 'just being boys'. I don't think boys doing things like stealing cheerleaders panties right off of them is "boys will be boys" I think it's boys committing sexual assault. I am shocked that so many people do think that this is just boys having fun. It's a huge problem that we bring up our boys to believe things like this. We're basically saying be a bad person, be a bad father, date ten girls at the same time, and chalking it up to a Y chromosome. Even those in the spotlight carry on however they chose, Clinton with Monica, Edwards with Rielle, it's pretty much epidemic. We raise our male kids to be this way and once again act shocked when they are. Or worse are not shocked and excuse the behavior.