Q. Hi Elizabeth, thank you for taking some time to take this interview with me this evening. Can I ask what drew you to writing?
A. I’d been writing since I was a small child. When I was in junior high school I wrote my first book which was never published. It was what would be called fan fiction today. I wrote about a young American girl who falls in love with one of the Beatles, Paul McCartney.
Q. How long did it take you to write View From The Sixth Floor?
A. I started writing part-time in the summer of 2013. I retired from my job at the end of the same year and finished it off by summer 2014.
Q. What do you use to write your books?
A. I use my laptop to write.
Q. What problems did you encounter?
A. “View from the Sixth Floor” flowed from the very beginning. I’d been thinking about it for a while before I actually started writing and that may be why it was so easy. The hard part was the editing and it took until the third edition that it looked really good.
Q. How do you think you’ve evolved as a writer since you’ve started?
A. I’ve learned so much about editing and formatting. Writing came naturally but the additional steps to producing a good book were a lot more challenging.
Q. Is there anything you wished you’d known when you started writing?
A. I wish I had known more about editing and designing a cover. Oh, and I really wish I had known about formatting.
Q. Do you structure your plots or just go with the flow?
A. I have a basic idea when I begin but I go with the flow.
Q. Do you work on a set amount of words per day or does it change?
A. I used to be very structured on how much I wrote daily. However, I also blog and promote my books as well as review and promote the books of other indie writers. In order to do it all, I have to be flexible and willing to change priorities daily.
Q. Do you do a lot of research when writing a book?
A. I did a tremendous amount of research when writing “View from the Sixth Floor”. Since it is based on a fairly recent historical event there were some things I needed to be sure of. I also used real locations for several of the settings. I even visited the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, Texas to get my own “view.”
Q. What time of the day do you find is best to write?
A. I love writing in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep. I’ve always been nocturnal and now that I am retired I can do as I please.
Q. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A. Oh goodness. I draw a lot from real life situations or experiences.
Q. What draws you to this genre?
A. I am really drawn to writing horror but so far my horror stories have been limited to short stories. I like to write books about issues that pique the interest of others.
Q. Have you ever tried to write other genres?
A. I’ve written in all genres at one time or another. Whatever catches my attention motivates me to tackle the subject, whether it is fiction or fact.
Q. Which author/book would compare yours too?
A. I like to think my short stories have a Stephen Kong flavour. I don’t know who I would compare my books to.
Q. Can you relate to any of your own stories?
A. I can definitely relate to the relationship between Bill and Olivia in “View”. They are an older couple who have a second chance late in life to find love. My husband and I met and married when I was fifty. I like the idea that older people can have romantic and healthy sex lives.
Q. How many books have you written?
A. I’m working on my third book now. It deals with gypsy crime, drug cartels, the Witness Protection Program, and kidnapping.
Q. Have you ever written in collaboration with another author?
A. My husband is also a writer and we have been working on a series for a few years. It’s one of those things we dip in to when other things aren’t consuming us.
Q. Who designed your front cover?
A. My cover was designed by the very talented Rachel Bostwick. She has done both of my book covers and my book trailers.
Q. Who was the first person you showed your novel too?
A. My best friend Kathy. She reads and critiques everything I write before it goes anywhere.
Q. Have you ever dedicated a book to someone?
A. I dedicated my first book to my husband, my children, and to Lee Harvey Oswald. My second book is dedicated to my parents and native actor/artist/activist Eric Schweig who is the inspiration for the main character.
Q. How do you market your books?
A. I blog about my characters and stories, I use twitter extensively, and of course Facebook.
How do you deal with bad reviews? I think bad reviews are as important as good ones. You can learn a lot from a bad review. It was a bad review that made me aware of the editing issues in my books. Then I can address those problems.
Q. Do you use an agent?
A. No, I don’t use an agent. I like the freedom of doing as I please.
Q. How much time do you devote to marketing your books?
A. I admit I devote a lot of time to marketing. But included in that time is also the effort I put into promoting the books of other indie writers.
Q. How do you get your book reviews/reviewed?
A. Hopefully, readers will automatically review them. I’ve been pretty lucky so far. I have 73 reviews for my first book and thirty for my second.
Q. Do you ever run free book promotions? Have these worked for you?
A. I have run some free promos and also some reduced price promos. I’ve given away a lot of books, mostly e-books but also some paperbacks. I’m not in to this to make money. I have stories I want to share.
Q. Do you do all your own proof reading and editing?
A. I have done that. I have picked up an editor in the last year, Angela Bishop in New York.
Q. How and where are you publishing this book?
A. This book, “View from the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale” is available on Amazon and also as a paperback on CreateSpace.com
Q. What are the main benefits of being an independent author?
A. The biggest benefit of being an indie author is the ability to keep your story the way you want it.
Q. What are you reading at the moment?
A. I’m currently reading two books. One is a Japanese detective book by Joseph Mark Brewer called “The Thief’s Mistake” and the other is “Shining Ones: Legacy of the Sidhe” by Sanna Hines.
Q. What was the first book you ever read?
A. The very first book I ever read that I can remember was “The Cat in the Hat”. I was four years old and had been reading for a couple of years when a neighbour gave me a copy for a present. Another book I remember well from my childhood was “Sam the Firefly”. The first “adult” book I read was a collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories. I was about seven and my father gave me his copy of that and the Sherlock Holmes Collection. I was hooked on horror, suspense, and detective novels from then on.
Q. Who is your most loved author?
A. My favourite author is Stephen King, hands down. I think he is brilliant. His ability to bring characters to life is uncanny. But my favourite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I consider it the great American novel. Harper Lee captured life in the South in the 1930’s.
Q. What is your favourite quote from a book?
A. I have one in particular. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” That’s from “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Q. Which is the best book to film adaptation?
A. Again I would have to say “To Kill a Mockingbird”. The casting was brilliant.
Q. Where are your favourite places to read?
A. Hmm, in the winter I like to curl up on my chaise by the fire with a hot cup of tea or cocoa. In the summer I prefer lounging out by the pool or on a beach with a cold margarita.
Q. What books do you read to your children?
A. My children are all grown now. They all enjoyed fantasy. But now I read to my granddaughters. They also like fantasy although the youngest who is five has discovered the Goosebumps books by RL Stine (just like her father!)
Q. When you read do you prefer a book or a Kindle/tablet?
A. I love my Kindle. I always have a book available. But my new iPhone is also handy. If I find myself unexpectedly waiting for someone or something I pull out my phone and read away!
Q. Thank you Elizabeth, do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
A. NEVER stop writing. Write something every day, a story, a blog, a journal entry.
Q. What’s coming next?
A. I’m currently working on my third book and recently finished a short story for the third anthology I am involved in. My book, “Stolen” is about a young girl who finds out her parents are not her parents, she was kidnapped as a child. The book is about gipsies, the Witness Protection Program, and drug cartels.