As many of you know, October’s Spotlighted Author is Elle Casey. Keep in mind that the purpose of the Author Spotlight is to allow readers to get to know writers and their works. So enjoy the interview and feel free to stalk her via Twitter or Goodreads or Facebook or some other online community. Emphasis on online community…. Just check out her links at the end of the interview and be sure to say hi!
Q: It is known that you are an American living in Southern France. I am curious as to whether or not that move affects your writing in any way. If yes, how so?
A: I live in a truly magical place where time has just slowed down and stopped to some degree. It’s very different from the U.S. in that respect. Old customs and ways of doing things are still the norm here. People are very kind, polite, helpful, welcoming. My house is 450 years old and I live in a tiny, tiny village in the vineyards. So there’s a lot of ancient history here to draw from, castles, Roman ruins, mysterious things and so on. It feeds my active imagination, I guess you could say.
Q: What is the best compliment you have received from a fan/ reader for your work?
A: I don’t have a best one, per se, but I have some favorites. They include things like:
“You are my favorite author of all time!”, “I’m addicted to your books”, “I’ve read War of the Fae five times now”, “I’ve told everyone I know about your books, I love them so much”, “I didn’t get any housework done and neglected my family all week because I found your books and read them all.”
I teach English, so here’s one that really touched my teacher-heart: “A couple of weeks ago i wanted to improve my english, accidentally i saw your book (war of the fae) and i began to read. In the first two books i needed the built in dictionary. (Thank God) a lot. But when i started with book three it became easier. So i want to thank you for your writing skills/dream fantasy and the possibility to learn and understand better English.”
The list goes on and on. I’m absolutely addicted to reader reviews, comments, and posts. I will forever be grateful for their readership and willingness to not only reach out to me but to share my work with others.
Q: Is there any one of your books that is more personal for you than the others?
A: Each has its special place. Wrecked was a story that had been in my head since I was a little girl. I always wondered if I’d be able to survive on an island myself. This book came from that, so it’s been cooking in my brain for about 35 years. War of the Fae, more particularly Jayne, is patterned after my high school life. Tony is a real person as well. The opening chapters WERE my life. So she’s very special to me, and she’s named after my musical muse, the song Diary of Jane by Breaking Benjamin. Holy you-know-what do I love that band. Apocalypsis is also from me as a kid wondering if I could survive without adults and what I’d have to do to rise about the challenges. I think you can see a theme here. All my young life, I wanted to live on my own terms and wondered if I could. Adults always told me I had to live my life a certain way to be successful or happy or respected, and I rebelled against that idea from the time I was old enough to talk. It’s just not me, and never was. I’m 43 now, but still doing that. I finally found my answer, though. YES, I can live on my own terms. My writing miracle life is proof of that. 🙂
Q: You have set a very rigorous schedule for your writing. Publishing one book a month. How do you find the time while being a lawyer, professor, mother, and wife?
A: Well, I rarely lawyer anymore. That work is just a contract here and there for old clients. I’m a professor only 2 days a week in Paris during the school year. And my husband is incredibly helpful at home and my children very understanding. We have a mission here, to work hard and play hard. So when I get to working, I’m nose to the grindstone all the way. And when the work is over, we party it up, family style. Or I nap. Whichever the kids want to do. I have teenagers and a busy 8-year-old, so sometimes they’d rather be with friends than their dorky mom. I get up at 07:00, read emails and posts until 07:30, write until lunch, eat, take a nap, and write again until 6 or 7 pm or so. That’s my perfect work day. Sometimes I’m wrapped up in the writing and I type into the night and past midnight, but that’s only when I’m close to a deadline. I set very strict deadlines. I’ve never missed one and I don’t ever plan to. I have that kind of personality that I WILL procrastinate if I let myself. So I tell my readers when they can expect the next book, and believe me, they hold me to it. I get Facebook posts, Tweets and emails warning me I’d better not be late. 🙂 I have one reader in The Netherlands, who told me he’s learning to read English using my books, and he always emails me the day or so before I’m supposed to post sneak-peeks to make sure I don’t forget. I just love that. 🙂
Q: With the exception of your amazing books, what do you account for your success as an indie writer?
A: My readers who tell their friends and family about my books, tweet about them, Facebook about them. I also give serious props to Amazon. Their free book promotions helped me introduce my work to new readers and of course they have the best platform for selling ebooks in the world. And we cannot forget the fact that I am a cyborg, and so I type about 100 words a minute and work about 12 hours a day. That helps.
Q: What is one thing your readers can always expect to find in your novels?
A: Strong female heroines. Creative and frequent swearing. Smartassedness.
Q: What do you find to be your biggest reward, so far, as a writer?
A: Reader fan mail. Holy [insert swear word here], I just cannot express to you how amazing it is to wake up in the morning to people, every day, from around the world, telling me I’m talented and make them happy. There is no other job like it in the world, except maybe being a musician. Who goes to work everyday and gets told they’re amazing, the best, incredibly talented, and super cool? Writers! I’m the luckiest girl alive. I really feel that way. I know I sound like a weirdo, but it’s true. Every day I have to ask myself, “Is this really happening? Or are you living in a mental institution, dreaming everything up, and all the staff and doctors are just playing along, pretending to be my neighbors, friends, and family members?” I might write a book about that one day.
Q: If you can have one lasting impression on your readers what would you want it to be?
A:That I will always be grateful to any person who ever picks up one of my books and reads it.
Q: Lastly, being that you are now in the Spotlight, are there any parting thoughts you would like to share?
A: I wanted to share the story about how you and I came to “know” one another. It’s one of those happy, happy moments for me as a writer, to have met someone like you and have you in my life. As you know, you were a reader of my War of the Fae series, before you were a blogger. And you wrote a scathing review (*heart spasm*) of Book 2, very unhappy with how I handled the ending and probably a few more things. But you and I got to talking, and you had a lot of great feedback to share with me and maybe you were surprised I didn’t tell you that you were wrong about your opinion (I know authors do that sometimes), and after a few messages back and forth on Goodreads, you told me you were starting a new book blog. And here you are! … Writing great reviews and doing all kinds of cool promotional things, getting all fired up about books. Our interaction and our resulting relationship have shown me that books have the power to bring people together, to allow them to share pieces of their lives, even if they might never meet in person and live on the other side of the world from one another. And when you believe in someone, you can reach out and give them a helping hand, and make their lives maybe a tiny bit better. So I’m incredibly grateful for the first message you sent to me. And I want to encourage other readers out there to feel free to reach out to me as well. I love hearing from my readers. I do this for them. All 12 hours of every day that I type, I do it for the readers.
Where can readers follow you?