Interview with Elisa Lorello
1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
Usually between 11:00 and 4:00. That’s my peak productivity time for anything I do, really.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
It depends what I’m writing, where I am, or how I’m feeling. Most of the writing I do now is on the computer, but I find myself jotting a lot of notes and snippets of dialogue on paper. Or, if I have to work out a scene, I’ll write it longhand. Or sometimes I’m just in the mood to stare out the window at the coffeeshop and freewrite with pen and paper.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes it’s something I watch on television, or in a song. Sometimes it comes after reading a favorite author. And sometimes it’s right in my own backyard—a teacher from my past, a conversation with a friend, a place I visited, etc. The ideas come to me at the most inconvenient times and places—the shower, driving, in the middle of a meeting, you name it.
4: Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
One of the reasons I quit doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, if you’re not familiar) was because I got so caught up in word count that I sacrificed telling the story well. It made revision a nightmare. I tell my students not to get caught up in page length requirements for the same reason.
If the writing is not going well, then my goal is to not get sucked into writers block and to remind myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect (or even good) on the first try. If I’m in the zone, then all I care about is staying there. Sometimes the goal is to write just one chapter or scene. Because my teaching schedule changes all the time, I don’t have a set writing schedule. I write when I can as well as when I want to.
5: Being a self published author how do you come up with your cover art?
I had no budget whatsoever when I self-published my first two books. For my first book, Faking It, I purchased the rights to a photo on Dreamstime.com and used Lulu’s cover design (which was primitive when I first self-published). For Ordinary World, I used a photo that my niece took, but unfortunately it didn’t transfer very well. It’s not nearly professional enough, and I’d like to hire someone to do a new cover design now that I have a little more in my budget.
6: What drives you to chose the career of being a writer?
In terms of a career, I don’t know that I was driven as much as called. When I got the idea for Faking It, I didn’t do anything about it for five years because I didn’t believe myself to be a fiction writer. But the idea just wouldn’t go away, and pretty soon I began to hear conversations between characters. When I finally did get it on the page, I wrote it for me because I didn’t think it’d be any good. But when I finished it, the dam broke and all these ideas for other novels came flooding out. And I sensed there was an audience beyond just me who would want to read it—in fact, I became sure of it.
I wanted to make novel-writing a career because I fell in love with it, and found out I could do it fairly well. I also love being around other writers.
7: Do you own an ebook reading devise?
I bought a Kindle around Easter-time. It’s a different reading experience from traditional books, albeit pleasurable. And yet, I would never want to give up traditional print books.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
I love Richard Russo, Bill Bryson, Marian Keyes, and David Sedaris. These authors make me laugh as well as provide compelling characters and great stories. I also love Nora Ephron and Aaron Sorkin, who taught me how to write great dialogue.
Right now I’m reading Tom Perrota’s The Abstinence Teacher for my book club. And I have several books by indie authors on my Kindle to be read this summer.
9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I haven’t seen many book trailers and don’t know how effective they are in terms of selling books, but would love to try one anyway. I have some ideas for both Faking It and Ordinary World, but have neither the expertise (nor equipment) to produce my own trailer nor the budget to hire someone else to do it.
10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m still working on novel #3, a stand-alone romantic comedy, about a coffeeshop owner in Wilmington, NC who is caught between the single and dating worlds. It’s a little bit like a modern-day Bridget Jones’ Diary. I’m collaborating with a friend on this one. The collaborative experience has been a blast (with the exception of the last few months, in which we’ve both been struggling with writers block and revision), and we hope to have it finished by the end of the summer and self-published by the end of the year if we can’t get an agent. I’ve also got ideas for two other novels stewing, and am planning to write those solo.