Please welcome Young Adult author ELENA DILLON today. My editor, Susanne Lakin, encouraged me to introduce myself to Elena because she thought we wrote alike. I didn’t know what that meant, but I was encouraged because Elena is a published author. And if my writing was similar to hers then maybe my books would be worthy of publication too. I “met” Elena right away and read her first book, BREATHE, and really enjoyed the story of sixteen year old Jasmine, and how she struggled to find a normal life after her sister was murdered. I asked Elena a few questions and will share them with you.
From Elena: I’m the author of the Young Adult Suspense novels “Breathe” and “Crushing.” I love to read about love, courage, and sacrifice, and I’m a sucker for an amazing hero. I have always been fascinated with the South with its beauty and history. I look forward to when my Southern Living magazine hits my mailbox. I read it cover to cover. I love good manners and close family ties.
If you’d like to get to know Elena better visit her blog HERE.
1. You didn’t tell anyone you were writing a novel when you were writing BREATHE? Why?
I guess because I had never shown anyone any fiction I’d ever written. I was nervous, embarrassed and just totally terrified that it was terrible. I still worry that my friends and family are lying when they say they like it.
2. Was it easier to write CRUSHING than BREATHE since it was your second novel?
So much harder. I knew people would be reading it. I wrote Breathe for myself. Now with the second book, which was a lot different, I worried the entire time.
3. Are you a huge fan of the fast draft—where you write the entire novel without going back to edit?
No I’m a little in between. Everyday I start out with going over what I wrote last and editing a bit and rewriting to be sure I like it and I’m on track. Then I keep going. After the first draft there are many rewrites. My own and editor suggestions, etc.
4. Have you ever written a novel in 30 days?
Uh, no. Not my thing. I’ve never tried. I could maybe do the 50,000 in 30 days but it would be a mess, and I would have so much to redo I don’t think it would work well for me. My process is more slow and steady but gets the job done. I typically shoot for between 1000 and 2500 words a day.
5. What do you think is the best marketing tool for writers?
Word of mouth. Give it to everyone you know for free. Ask for reviews. Request reviews from bloggers. Get your book out there.
6. Did you always want to be a self-published author?
I dabbled with the idea of traditionally publishing, and I’m not completely closed to the idea, but for now I do fine the way things are and I’m a bit of a control freak anyway so it works for me.
7. What do you like the most about self-publishing?
Having all the say it how it looks and reads.
8. How did you choose your titles?
Breathe was easy. I had decided before I was done. Crushing was a collaborative effort with a group I belong too. I kind of had it already and it was the best I could do. Everything about this book was harder!
9. Why do you think one-word titles are popular with teens?
Not sure, except I think it sticks with them, if that makes sense?
10. Or are they only popular in certain genres?
I’m not sure if it’s popular in others.
11. Is there another genre you’d like to write?
Maybe just YA Contemporary with no suspense for a change.
12. Who’s your mentor?
I have a few. My editor, Susanne Lakin, Melissa Foster, Rachelle Ayala and a bunch of wonderful writers at OCCRWA.
13. What’s a normal writing day?
I am at my desk by 8 am usually. I do some marketing and social media first and then on to the writing. I try to hit my word count every day and I’m done usually somewhere between 3 and 5.
14. What does your writing “den” look like?
I have an office that is across from my laundry room so you would think I would actually get more laundry done but not so much. My office is a disaster most of the time, but it’s an organized mess, sort of.
15. How do you stay organized to allocate your time in the right areas?
I am blessed that I don’t work outside the home, but I do have to say no to things that take away from my writing time. There are other times though when I need to get away from my desk so it just varies.
16. What’s CRUSHING about?
A girl from a wealthy Southern family that has to decide whether to stay on the path her family has chosen or follow her heart, and in the middle of that a friend gets kidnapped. She gets thrown into the middle of a dangerous situation.
17. Where did the idea come from?
I started with the idea of a childhood crush that you just never got over and it just went from there.
18. Do you have your next novel planned?
Yes I’m working on book three that will take place in the Breathe universe. I hope to launch it in the fall.
19. How many novels would you like to write in a year?
This year I would like to finish three and write a novella that will wrap up the Breathe story line and start book four.
20. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
I would like to have written fifteen books by that time but we’ll see. I can’t imagine giving up writing. There are ladies in my Romance Writers of America group that have written almost one hundred books and still aren’t done. I want to be like that.
To visit Elena’s author page at Amazon and peek at her books click HERE.