It’s been a while since I posted a new interview. I have been busy with a few projects of my own, including my latest release, THE RED STROKES, which is available at Amazon. By the way, it’s on sale for one more day before going back up to regular price, so now’s the time to check it out.
In the meantime, I have recently had a few requests for interviews, so I have dusted off the questionnaire and would like to introduce you to Elizabeth N. Love, (also known as ‘Bee Love’) author of POURING THE CUP.
IDI – Tell us, Elizabeth, What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt maybe to tickle our tastebuds?
ENL – I am working on a follow-up to Pouring the Cup entitled The Dark Days that brings closure to the open ends from the first book, such as what happens to the Prophets who are left alive after the Stormflies break loose, and will Axandra and Quinn’s romantic relationship continue. The next work also continues to describe the culture and traditions of the people who separated themselves from humanity centuries ago, looking at both similarities and differences. I worked on the first chapters vigorously this week. The draft is still rough, but here is an excerpt:
Spring lagged this year, sprinkling the beginning days with plummeting temperatures, thundering snow storms and rapid warm flashes that melted the white away within hours of the snow’s accumulation. The climate appeared to be exhibiting all the symptoms of a bout with river fever, the hot and cold flashes that plague anyone who falls victim to the annual virus. During the warm respites, people availed themselves of the sunny, though damp, outdoors, preparing for Spring’s intense work of planting fields and repairing buildings.
”Do you remember seeing any children at the Prophet Haven?” Ty Narone asked Quinn Elgar from across the wrought iron table on the veranda protruding from the back of the People’s Hall. The wide, flat raised surface overlooked the drowsy garden. When the plants lost their leaves and blooms to sleep away the winter, the garden appeared sad and forlorn.
The two gentlemen shared an unusual meeting, one requested by Narone. The Commander of the Palace guard brought with him a three page report with the intent of enlightening Elgar to its contents. Although he accepted his orders from his only superior, the Protectress, Ty had not yet come completely to terms with Mr. Elgar’s residence within the Palace. Elgar’s continued presence caused the security officer a great deal of consternation. They rarely spoke to one another and behaved guardedly in each other’s presence. Ty assumed Elgar’s lack of communication meant the man was hiding something. Quinn described the Commander as reticent when asked.
Quinn took several minutes to review his memories of the Haven, having only briefly visited the forsaken mountain home of the Prophets a few months ago. From the moment they stepped into the split mountain beneath the Great Storm, Quinn observed every detail, every step, every face, every doorway. Of the 430-odd Prophets living in the stone city, not one of them appeared to be less than thirty years old. No children, and no evidence of children.
IDI – Before THE DARK DAYS came POURING THE CUP. Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
ENL – The lead protagonist of Pouring the Cup is an imperfect woman, but not in a stereotypical way. She has been created with a number of faults and she is an introvert who would like nothing better than to hide in her cottage most of her life. Not by choice, she is destined to be the vessel for a very strong parasite and she has to find a way to live with the burden or find a release, which forces her into an extroverted lifestyle as a public figure.
IDI – Are your stories plot or character driven?
ENL – My stories are much more character-driven, because I want to express the characters reactions to their role within the plot. I love the study of the mind and emotion and all of the contradictions that go with it. For instance, in Pouring the Cup, the protagonist’s need to isolate herself from most of society makes her transition to a public figure much more difficult. She is a classic introvert, so socializing can be an exhausting task, plus she happens to be harboring another sentient entity inside her body. That secret makes her more withdrawn. Opening up and revealing that secret to the ones she loves drives the plot forward.
IDI – Something every writer is asked to the point of exhaustion – where do you get your ideas?
ENL – Ideas come from everywhere, but I usually pull from reading other books or the NPR news. The idea for Pouring the Cup started decades ago when I first became interested in the concept of human beings leaving Earth to find a new home. The questions were “Why did they leave?” “Where did they go?” and “What did they do when they got there?” But instead of focusing on the journey or the initial arrival on the new planet, I set up a society that’s been thriving for centuries and is well established in its ways. So then the question becomes “How did they use their history to better themselves?” In this case, the people left because they were persecuted for who they were, similar to the Pilgrims, and they built a society where no one would feel unwanted or left out.
IDI – I’ve heard argument for each side, but when writing, do you outline or sketch the entire book before you feel comfortable enough to begin your draft or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your jockeys?
ENL – For any of my stories, I first form a goal in my head of where I would like to see the story end up, but this is just a guideline. I’ve tried outlining, but then I feel like I’ve already written the story. I pick a starting point, create a character and let the character lead me down the path. Pouring the Cup originally started out with dragons and the main character had children. Later on, both of those things disappeared in favor of the protagonist’s personality.
IDI – When people say ‘why do you write’, I reply ‘I’m either creative, or a pathological liar. I haven’t decided yet’, just for shock value. Actually, I think (in part) that writing is almost like being schizophrenic, but without the personalities coming out verbally. Seriously, we ‘become’ the people we write, at least for a time. We have to feel what they feel, think what they think, know what they know… so how can we not ‘be’ them? Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts?
ENL – I agree that our characters represent personalities within the writer. In order to write a character well, you have to let yourself think the same way they do, even if only temporarily. I use writing to express parts of myself that people in the real world don’t see much of. My co-workers believe I’m a patient, kind, easy-going person. In reality, my patience is about a hairs-width and I can say some pretty mean things. Writing lets me work out some of the dark parts, or just explore questions I have about my own personality in a safe zone.
IDI – Pen and paper or computer and Word? The bustle of Barnes and Noble or the quiet of your study? Alone or within a writing group? Tell us, what is your most productive/inspiring setting?
ENL – Pen and paper are a lot more portable for those inconvenient moments when an idea strikes, such as waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting a waiting room, or sitting in the park. Plus, I like to see what I scratched out in case I want to use something later on. Typing in the computer from my handwritten notes is a great first editing process. I can type a lot faster than I can think.
IDI – I know I have ideas for stories that cross over the lines of my usual genre. Do you have any such ideas wandering around and if so, what’s your outlook of genre crossing?
ENL – In my opinion, genres are arbitrary divisions in literature and music. Not every book fits neatly into one genre, and not every writer wants to stick to one genre. I like to write science fiction, fantasy, and main-stream, sometimes poetry. I hope to complete my non-fiction biographical in the near future, which is a far cry from science fiction. Each book should be taken on its own merit. If a writer wants to expand and express themselves in a different area, go for it.
IDI – Everyone has their own dream. What’s yours… best seller, feature film adaption, fame, riches, Oprah, Pulitzer?
ENL – It’s safe to say I’ve imagined all of these things and what I would do with them. Most realistically, my husband has said that my book would actually make a strikingly-visual film, giving substance to the somewhat ethereal aspects of telepathy and the energy-based creatures that are the overall antagonists of the story. I even have several pieces of music picked out that would form a powerful soundtrack for such a movie.
IDI – What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?
ENL – Writing is really the easy part and the fun part – and if it isn’t fun for you, don’t keep doing it – but putting your work out for public view is scary. Ignore the negativity and embrace the positivity and just keep at it. Be persistent. Your audience is out there.
IDI – As a writer, what is the one thing you would most like people to know about you?
ENL – I am still trying to decide if this is all in my head, but I have a feeling that when people see that I’m from Kansas, they immediately dismiss my writing as too Christian or Conservative, of which it is neither. I’ve always felt like people who live outside of Kansas have the idea that we all live on isolated farms in a more or less cultural dessert. I have rural upbringings, but I’ve never fit into the mold of the small-town girl. I learned from my mother to read and learn about things outside of my immediate realm. My writing is actually quite humanist, and some might even say socialist. I believe in equality for everyone and hope that one day stronger communities will solve many of our social problems.
IDI – I agree with your sentiments, equality and stronger communities. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your work and thoughts with my readers. I wish you the very best in all of your writing endeavors.
Kathy Reinhart is the author of three novels, MISSOURI IN A SUITCASE (under the pen name, Nova Scott), the award-winning LILY WHITE LIES, and the current release, THE RED STROKES. Connect with Kathy through her WEBSITE where you can learn more about her, her books, and how to request your own Ink Drop Interview.