E.W.: Elmer Wayne Blankenbickler
E.W.: 34 years old (May 8, 1982)
Where are you from
E.W.: I am from a small, sleepy, Southern town named Caryville in Tennessee. I was born into a rather large family and have three half-sisters, three full-blood sisters and two half-brothers. An interesting thing about me is that I attainted perfect attendance in elementary school for over four years. I sang in the middle school choir during sixth and seventh grades. I attended high school from 1996-2000 where I was a member of several clubs including Beta, Student Council, and was President of the Computer Club. I have over a year and half of college credits and eventually want to go back to school to attain my degree in Computer Science.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
E.W: I am about to release my second book, titled Tainted, in the fall. Tainted is the sequel to my first book, Broken, and continues the story of the Bellwood family. I do have plans for a third book for the series as well as an unrelated fourth book.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
E.W.: During grade school, I was really good at crafting wild tales and fantastic stories. I was always an avid reader in elementary school and soon wanted to write my own stories. While in middle school, I decided to begin writing short stories by hand on notebook paper. The stories I wrote focused mainly on horror related ideas, such as haunted houses or cursed towns. I still have a lot of my short stories from middle school.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
E.W.: At the end of my 9th grade of high school, I begin my attempt at a full-fledged novel. Aptly titled, Shadows of Deception, the book actually focuses on the Bellwood family from my new series, only in an entirely different decade (the 1950s). Interweaved with lots of drama and horror, my first attempt at writing was followed directly by the sequel to Shadows of Deception, titled Whispers in the Dark. I never published these two novels and decided to shelve them for the next 16 years.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
E.W.: I was inspired by my love of reading and wanted to see if I could construct my own unique story. I did achieve this, but decided to leave the two original books I wrote untouched for some time.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
E.W.: I enjoy writing in the first person narrative. It’s actually my favorite writing choice, although my short stories from middle school are written from third person perspective which I find a little more challenging to write from.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
E.W.: Originally, the title of the new book was going to be Where the Gravel Meets the Pavement because of a specific roadway featured in the book; however, due to what happens to the family dynamics during the story, I figured that Broken was a more likely choice as the family unit does unravel during the course of the book.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
E.W.: If there is anything that I would want the reader to take from reading my book, it’s that sometimes keeping a secret can actually harm. One of the mistakes that children make during the story is that they keep the abuse and trouble in their family a secret due to their fear. I would hope that maybe someone out there going through a similar situation in their own family might read my book and it would inspire them to seek the help that they need instead of hiding their secrets away out of fear or shame.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
E.W.: I had somewhat of a troubled childhood myself and much like the characters in the story, I hid what was happening to me out of fear and shame. Though I have not been through exactly the same things as the characters in my story, I can relate to similar instances and/or situations that they go through.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
E.W.: I read a lot. Some of the biggest influences for my writing have been the works of R. L. Stine, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Janet Evanovich, V. C. Andrews, to name just a few. I have had several people in my life that have encouraged my writing. My grandmother, my father, my mother, and a few of my school teachers all were a big influence for my writing.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
E.W.: I really don’t play favorites with my authors. I admire all authors based on their strengths and weaknesses. Growing up, I was partial to R. L. Stine’s Fear Street Series of books, but as I grew older, I discovered V. C. Andrews and grew partial to a lot of her older books, such as Flowers in the Attic and Heaven. Stephen King and Anne Rice were big influences as well. I really love to read across all genres. I will try reading any book series/author once.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
E.W.: My local library was a big influence growing up. The librarian there, Robyn, is an awesome lady who encouraged my reading choices and if she didn’t have the book in stock, she would order it or borrow it from another library. I really feel that she encouraged me a lot outside of family members.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
E.W.: I actually work a full-time job in addition to writing. I wrote the first book, Broken, and its sequel, Tainted, during the years 2014-2015. During the first part of 2016, while still working full-time jobs, I began to edit Broken and then Tainted. To do this while working full-time has been a challenge. I can see myself balancing both a writing career and an industry job, but if the chance to go full-time writing happened, I would do it. I could see writing becoming a career for me eventually.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
E.W.: I feel pretty confident about the way the first book was written. As of right now, I am currently working with a few test readers on the second book and as soon as I get their insight, I will probably change a few slight things, but I don’t see a major change happening.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
E.W.: I feel that my interest in writing originated from my love of reading and my fantastic imagination. Over the years, with a lot of my life experiences, this has only enriched my imagination, which has boosted my writing ability.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
E.W.: Tainted is the next book due out. Tainted continues the story of the Bellwood family as they come to terms with the loss of their father. The eldest brother, being of adult age, must take over the household and take charge of his younger brother and sister; however, all the dark happenings that occurred in Broken will continue to be a constant challenge for this family, especially as even more dark secrets are revealed about their heritage.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
E.W.: Sometimes I am painstakingly obsessive about ‘realism’. I’ll go over a scene again and again checking to see if it sounds like something someone would do in real life, at least for this series. Eventually, I will be moving across genres and will probably discover another challenge I have not yet met.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
E.W.: I am usually a homebody. I don’t travel that much, but I do travel in my mind and use Google a lot to learn about areas that I am writing about. Eventually, I would love to begin traveling more, especially to some of the areas I have featured in my books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
E.W.: I am an amateur photographer. I love to snap pictures in my spare time. The cover for Broken and Tainted were photographed by me.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
E.W.: Dealing with the abusive scenes and bullying scenes. Both instances have occurred in my life and even writing a fictional account of either of those instances can conjure my own dark memories.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
E.W.: I actually did quite a bit of research for both books. I did learn that some of the issues I deal with in my books are issues that do happen but are not talked about a lot, especially in a fictional book from a male’s perspective.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
E.W.: Oh No! I’ve actually joked around about my book being made into a film but I don’t know exactly who I would want to be cast as the Bellwood family. Being that the book starts in April of 1997, I would imagine that the cast would have a lot of fun with the wardrobe and culture from that era.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
E.W.: Don’t ever feel like you have ‘writer’s block’. I stopped myself from writing for 14 years because I felt I had ‘writer’s block’. What I learned was that I didn’t have the confidence that I needed to write. I had lost that but eventually I gained my confidence back enough to take that first step. Never let your own self-doubt get in the way of your goals.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
E.W.: I do appreciate all my readers and especially my budding fan base. Even if a reader does not like my book, I still appreciate their constructive criticism because I can always learn from their perspective.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
E.W.: I was reading a series about a post-apocalyptic world, where the only humans that survive are children under the age of sixteen. The series is by author, Charlie Higson. I have read up to The Hunted and have enjoyed the series so far.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
E.W.: I’m pretty sure it was a Curious George book while I was attending Kindergarten.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
E.W.: I love slapstick comedy movies. Some of my favorite movies are Airplane I & II, the Naked Gun Series, as well as modern comedies such as Scary Movie. I am a romantic at heart and sometimes a real softy when it comes to dramatic movies. A few times I have been known to tear up while watching a drama.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
E.W.: I am more of a ‘lurker’. For instance, I recently attended a comicon event in Nashville that had the likes of Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Kane Hodder (Jason from the Friday the 13th movies) and the cast members of Zombie Nation and Fear the Walking Dead. I was too shy to actually go up and meet any of the cast members, but I did admire them from afar. I am sometimes a painfully shy individual.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
E.W.: Here lies E. W. Blankenbickler. He chose to live out his dreams by finally writing and publishing his first book. For years, it was an inside joke that I would never finish or publish my first real book.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
E.W.: I love computers and actually repair/service them for a living and as a hobby in my spare time. I also love to game (recovering World of Warcraft junkie here) and have been known to cook really good meals when I have the time.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
E.W.: Naturally, I lean toward horror. I love Fear the Walking Dead, The Walking Dead, Z-Nation, Once Upon A Time, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, The Vampire Diaries, and I absolutely love watching re-runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I am looking forward to the remakes of a few upcoming movies such as IT and the reboot of Halloween.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
E.W.: I love Italian food but was raised on Southern cooking. My favorite color is green. I love all sorts of music across all genres, but I have a particular affinity for the music of the 1950s and 1960s.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
E.W.: I would probably be some sort of computer IT person somewhere or someone in a manager’s position.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
E.W.: I do have a Facebook page for my writing as well as an early stage blog. Both of those can be found here:
And, of course, you can find my books online at Amazon, Books A Million, & Barnes & Noble.