Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello! So happy you could have me. My name is Elizabeth Stephens, though my friends call me Ellie, and I’m 25 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
That’s a surprisingly hard question to answer! I was raised in Bamako, Mali in West Africa as well as Atlanta, Georgia and Seattle, Washington. Home right now is Johannesburg, South Africa.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
As mentioned, I’ve grown up with wanderlust and as a result, have it bred into my bones. Since I graduated from George Washington University in DC, I have moved to Cairo, Paris, Beirut, Geneva, Berlin, and Johannesburg and have gone on mission through my job to places across the globe from Senegal to Kazakhstan to Bali. It’s been an awesome time, though writing has been my constant throughout. I try to incorporate the places I’ve been and the languages I speak into the books that I write, but often find myself loving the ambiguity of settings. You’ll find that in my most recent novel, The Hunting Town, which draws on the familiarity of places I’ve lived without naming any of them outright. You’ll have to read it to see if you recognize anything 😉
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m so thrilled to be able to announce the upcoming release of my newest novel, The Hunting Town. The Hunting Town is a romantic suspense featuring kick ass leading ladies, hot Alphas, the mafia and a diverse cast in a small town setting. The official release date is July 16th. A blurb is as follows:
Drugs, cartels, the mafia. Pain, greed, and revenge. When an unexpected murder brings the Russian mob down on their heads, five brothers brought together by the foster system will have to forge a bond deeper than blood if they want to stay alive, defend their town, and protect the women they love.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at the age of 11 because of an American Girl Doll – of all things! In order to get an American Girl Doll, my mom told me I needed to read all of the books that came with the doll first. When I wanted a look-alike doll, my mom told me I needed to write my own story. I’ve been writing ever since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I first considered myself a writer after the publication of my first book. It was such a monumental moment and as a result, I now find myself in a publishing whirlwind. I have two published science fiction romance books, Population and Saltlands. The Hunting Town is my newest release and its sequel is well under production. I also have a Young Adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance that’s going into editing now and should be published this December.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first complete novel was actually the Young Adult book I mentioned, titled The Rougarou. I was inspired to write to write the book over five years ago after having read Twilight by Stephanie Meyer and Hush, Hush by Bella Fitzpatrick. The book originally began as a general novel in that genre but quickly spiraled into the tale of a young woman of Acadian Cajun ancestry battling monsters of Cajun folklore – rougaroux – above and below the streets of Paris!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title for The Hunting Town came about through some serious thinking. The town originally had a name, but because I didn’t want it to be related to any real cities, I then changed it – and the title – to describe the book more aptly. The Hunting Town tells the story of five brothers trying to protect the women they love, and being hunted by the Russian mafia and a Mexican cartel in the process.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I can’t say that I have a particular writing style. Rather, for The Hunting Town, tried to make sure that I held true to each character’s voice as the book is told from multiple perspectives. Trying to ensure that even without chapter titles telling you who is speaking, the chapter style still stood out on its own and had its own unique voice was certainly the biggest challenge.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Most of my books are based on research and fantasy so the short answer to your question is, very little at all!
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
As I mentioned, I try to rely on past experiences but no, I have yet to travel as part of the process to research a book – though I would like to take a trip to Louisiana to help facilitate the writing of The Rougarou.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Amygdala Art has designed all of my book covers. Ida, the designer there that I work with regularly, is punctual, creative, and has very keen attention to detail. She comes with my two thumbs up, five star recommendation.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, though it is quite subtle. I am an author of color and you’ll notice quite quickly that so many of my characters are of varying racial, ethnic – even national and linguistic – backgrounds. I hope one day that opening any mainstream novel, I’ll find dark-skinned women or Native American Indian men alongside the traditional blonde bombshell or tan, dark-haired Alpha.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
JR Ward is hands down my favorite author of late. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is, in part, what inspired the writing of The Hunting Town. I love the way she introduced us to characters through various perspectives and is something I continue to aspire to emulate in my upcoming novels.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I suppose boyfriend counts as family (when you’ve been dating for five years and own an apartment together), so in this case, I would have to name Mickie Nowinski. Mickie is my best friend and has been since high school. She not only helped me organize my very first book launch party, but also sat and sold books with me for hours at my last book fair and continues to help me with the design of all of my book covers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I definitely see writing as a career! The better question is whether I see it as a career for me. I want to write and publish and I am 100 percent certain that I always will, however, I do also enjoy working in a traditional office. I often find that if I have too much time to write, then I get writer’s block – the irony!
That said, I also won’t deny that earning enough money from my writing to be able to hire a PA and possibly work a lot less at my “day job”, would make me very, very happy.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There are always things I would change, so this is too hard a question to answer! Every time I open one of my books, there are always small edits to make. But substantial edits – no way!
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
As mentioned, The Hunting Town is riddled with different languages. I can now say that I have a decent mastery of basic Russian greetings and sayings, and a whole plethora of new Spanish curse words.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I think there may be too many leads in my book-turned-movie to pick just one! What I can tell you for certain though, is that I’d definitely want Charlie Hunnam in there somewhere 😉
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep writing! Keep experimenting! Write for yourself and be proud of everything you put out there.
For more practical advice for aspiring authors, you can find a complete guide to self publishing on my website. The best part is that it’s free! https://www.booksbyelizabeth.com/how-to-self-publish
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Love hard and read on!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished reading His Stole Bride book I. It was epic and totally kept me on the edge of my seat. I’m just about to start
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No! Such a funny question. I remember reading a book about witches in the first grade, but that’s about as specific as it gets. The first book I can remember loving is Abarat by Clive Barker.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My friends and their crazy antics make me laugh. Touching romances, women’s empowerment, and commercials about animal shelters all make me cry. So does the news most days.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
JK Rowling! She is my heroine. And is the closest I’ll ever get to meeting Hermoine.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing I consider both a passion and a hobby as well as hopefully, one day, a career. I also love wheel-thrown ceramics, though I’m out of practice by about half a year!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Comedies are a big favorite – The Office, Parks and Recreation, Silicon Valley. I also have been sucked into Mr. Robot, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black recently.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite food is Macaroni and Cheese, color is yellow, and music is indie. My favorite band right now is Glass Animals.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would have to draw all of the crazy things that come to me in my dreams J
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Loved, and was loved in return.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Absolutely! Please visit my website at https://www.booksbyelizabeth.comto find out information on my past books. You can also sign up to my newsletter and get the first chapter of Saltlands and The Hunted Rise, free! https://www.booksbyelizabeth.com/contact
Alternatively, you can follow me on Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/elizabethstephens
Or on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13751508.Elizabeth_Stephens
Purchase links for The Hunting Town:
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2s9Vwsw
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ELStephens
Website – https://www.booksbyelizabeth.com
Purchase links for Population:
Amazon – http://amzn.to/1ck1uix
Kobo Books – https://www.kobo.com/za/en/ebook/population-4