Thursday, February 04, 2016

Interview - Tara Ellis 2016

The Mystery Of Hollow Inn (Samantha Wolf Mysteries #1)     The Heiress of Covington Ranch (Samantha Wolf Mysteries #4)
My first author interview of 2016 is with Tara Ellis, Tara became a new to me author in 2016 when I read The Mystery of Hollow Inn (Review to Follow) and she kindly agreed to let me interview her.

In your spare time what do you like to read? 
Science fiction is my favorite, but I’ll go through my own trends. For years, Stephen King was it, but his work got too dark for me. I still think he’s one of the best writers ever, but I lean towards lighter tales. Medical thrillers or a good mystery are a sure thing!

When you were younger who was your favourite author? 
Julie Campbell (author of Trixie Beldon) during my younger years. I discovered Stephen King in 4th grade and I also loved Dean Koontz and Ken Follett.

What inspired you to write the Samantha Wolf series? 
I have to mention Trixie Beldon again. My ultimate, all-time favorite series as a child, and it gave me many, many days/nights of healthy escapism. I originally started my series when I was sixteen, and based Sam and Ally on myself and childhood best friend. It has a lot of special meaning to me.

How do you come up with your story ideas? 
The Mystery of Hollow Inn was something I thought up in my teens. My grandparents and a lot of family members lived in Montana, so that was my idea of a mountainous getaway. The last three are all very recent. Honestly, I can’t really define how I come up with it. Sometimes I surprise myself how it all coalesces and comes together. I spend weeks, sometimes months on the outlines. I take a lot of walks where I dedicate my thoughts to the story, and I always do my best thinking in the shower! (Although it makes it hard to write it down!)

Can you tell us anything about the next book in the series? 
Yes! It’s called, The Haunting of Eagle Creek Middle School. It takes place in late October, and the girls are helping to form a new club at the middle school, for raising money for non-profits. Their first project is a haunted house in the school on Halloween. Of course, it turns out there’s an old haunted story for the school itself, and their first benefactor has some secrets.

In the Samantha Wolf series, who is your favourite character and why? 
Samantha Wolf. I relate the most to her, perhaps because back when I was sixteen, I originally based her on myself. The character has most definitely evolved since then, but I still see a lot of the same compulsiveness that I had as a child.

For you what is the easiest and the hardest part of the book to write? 
The easiest part is the outline, because there isn’t as much pressure at this point. It’s like I have a ball of clay and I’m just deciding how to mold it, but don’t have it in my hands yet. For me, there is always a bit of hump to get over. The first chapter or two are always a bit slow, because I want to proceed cautiously and not make any major plot errors, or rush it early on. A few chapters in, I always hit a spot, a major point where I have to push through some sort of issue. I have found that if I take my time…perhaps even a step back for a couple of days and think about it, the story always ends up being better for it.

What advice would you give to someone who “ran out of creativity” while writing? 
I would say that they’re looking at it in the wrong way. You never run out of creativity. Most likely, you’ve hit a spot where you have an issue with your plot or storyline. I know some authors swear that they don’t need an outline, but I discovered a few years ago that this had been my issue my whole life. I had always struggled to finish a cohesive book prior to this revelation. A good, solid, thoughtful outline will help you. If you already know where you’re going, then you can figure out how to get there. If you hit a wall, step and look at the whole story, not just the point where you are stuck. If you don’t already have an outline, write one. If you do, revisit it and flesh it out. You’ll be amazed at how much better the whole story will be, if you put more time into this aspect of it.

What do you do when you get writers block? 
I think I just addressed that above. J  But…to be more specific on how I work on the outline, or take a step back, I often go for a long walk. Or take a long shower, or sit in a hot tub. I put myself in an environment where I’m free to be alone in my thoughts, and I work through the issues mentally. I always envision the scenes in my head as if it were a movie playing out. So I do this….over and over again, with various scenarios until I find one that works.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
I hope that my stories take you to another place for a little while, and offer that same escapism that I enjoy while reading. I try to write relatable characters and plots that in the end, leave you feeling good and a bit nostalgic. I also love feedback, so please feel free to reach out!

Thank you Tara for answering my questions and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

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