Tuesday 14 May 2013

Author Interview: Ellen Harger

About the Author:

I was born at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. As a military brat, I moved often during my childhood--something I never resented and continued as an adult. The constant starting over influenced, "Strong Enough."

My family settled in Missouri as civilians when I was 14, permitting me to attend one high school (unlike my sisters). I stayed in the Midwest to attend a small liberal arts college, studying creative writing and art. After 11 years, I moved to Boston. While there, I continued to study creative writing in Cambridge. Ever willing to explore new places, I moved next to the San Francisco Bay area. After 11 years away, and loving the symmetry, I returned to the Midwest to finish "Strong Enough." I have published a poem, "Guidelines," and released my first novel as an e-book.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

When I started Strong Enough, I let everything just happen--even trying plot points on various characters to figure out who they were. However, I eventually created timelines to better organize the story. I even used a binder to separate information by character.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Take over, no. They just argued with me and always won. Especially one in particular--Marc. He simply would not be a jerk but I paired him with the female who refused to be in a serious relationship. He won.

What is your favourite food?

Just one?? I have a total weakness for pasta, but I'm a foodie so that's as limited as I get.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

TOTAL night owl. I don't do mornings--no matter how much I intend to. Getting out of bed at 8:00 am is EARLY.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

Australia. I've been overseas to several places but have always wanted to visit down under.

Do distant places feature in your books?

No, this story happens primarily in one town in the Midwest. Sundown, a fictitious location based on a real place, is actually a character and an important aspect to the plot.

Do you listen to music while writing?

I have headphones on and listen to a playlist designed for my novel about 90% of the time.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

Strong Enough is a contemporary romance/women's fiction novel about the friendship of women. I chose the Midwest as a setting because I lived in Missouri while in high school and college. At first it was a way to vent a frustration with the region but by writing this novel, I discovered an appreciation for it and hope I share a new view with many readers.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

There's no one way to do this. Read as many author blogs as you can and trust that your style will develop. The only key that seems to repeat is "Just Write!"

Is there anything you would do differently?

I wouldn't take so long to finish! I let life get in the way for months at a time and at one point several years passed before I took up writing again.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

There are so many things! I've always wanted to write stories but what's made the difference in the last few years is the community of bloggers--both writers and reviewers. I've been more dedicated, written stronger prose, and felt truly inspired more in the last few years than then ever before.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

I would recommend anyone just starting to write, to join NaNoWriMo and experience writing 50k words in November. It'll teach you the most about your dedication and how to finish a first draft.

What are three words that describe you?

Stubborn. Flexible. Tenacious.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

This is always such a hard question because of how many books I haven't read, but I'll go old school and answer "Persuasion" by Jane Austen. She was truly a brilliant woman.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

Starting over is hard. And sometimes, you have to burn a few bridges to do it.

Whitney Brown is average--average height, weight, and personality--but she wants to be someone new. To kick-start her rebirth, she wears formal mourning, a black veil and vintage dress, to a wedding in her hometown, Woods Cross, a community that treasures family values. Is it an attack on marriage or has she just gone bonkers?

Emboldened but lacking a plan, she forces her foot in the door of a radio station in Sundown. A small metropolis of nearly 150,000, Sundown is a notch of urban flair along the Midwest's Bible Belt.

Getting in proves to be the easy part and the anonymity of being a DJ suits her well. But off air (and in person), Whitney must stand up to Sadi, an angry feminist and the bane of her college years while an old friendship with her former roommate, Leah, devolves around a guy.

It's 2002 and the Midwest radio scene is changing. Just as Whitney hits her groove, the radio station undergoes its own identity crisis. But what rocks Whitney to her core is the moment the condom breaks. Her abstinence only background leaves her embarrassed and facing a difficult choice.

List of previous books if any

Strong Enough is my debut novel

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.

Blog: http://mymotherstuttered.com

Twitter: @motherstuttered and @EllenHarger

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