Ella James, what are you three most favorite things in the whole wide world?
I’d say… snuggling my 1-year-old son while he’s asleep, discussing an exciting new idea with my husband, and feeling like I’m doing the best I can with what I have in my day-to-day life. You know… feeling ‘on top of things’.
Who is your favorite fictional character of all time (besides your own, of course)?
Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. He’s such an awesome character.
If you weren’t a writer and could be anything else in the world, what would it be?
Writer is my #1, but if I couldn’t be a writer, I would be a doctor. As it is, I’d like to go back to school and get a medical degree at some point…although right now my to-be-written list is something like 12 books and growing, so that may not happen anytime soon.
Describe your writing process?
Well, I am basically a ‘pantser’ – I write more by the ‘seat of my pants’ than by an outline, but I do begin with an outline, and I know what the main plot points are. I let myself wander as far from the outline as I want to. When I first started writing fiction in 2005, it wasn’t as easy as it is now, but I’ve earned my stripes. I just sit down, get an idea of where I want to go, and let the story roll out. I don’t get nearly as many things wrong on the first draft as I once did, but I still spend a good bit of time revising on the second draft, and my editor (my husband, who happens to be an editor by trade) spends even more time going back over the story. From conception (there’s this girl in a field, and she finds a boy…) to pressing ‘publish’ on Amazon, an average book takes me about six to eight weeks to produce, if I am really pushing myself and my husband is also on his game (and our son isn’t teething!).
Three best things about being a writer?
Working from home, getting lost in storyland, and making money doing something that lots of people I know would consider not a legit job. 😉
Three worst things?
1. Not getting to come home from an office and just be ‘off work’. I rarely ever feel like the day is really done because theoretically I could just keep writing ’round the clock. I usually won’t let myself be ‘finished’ until I’ve tired myself out to the point where I no longer care what needs to be done. So I guess you could say it’s too easy to indulge my work-a-haulic tendencies.
2. Bad reviews. It may not be kosher to say so, but bad reviews really suck, even if they are honest and done kindly. Working a job where your performance is so open to review can be really difficult. That said, you do get used to it.
3. The inherent unpredictability. Any job that’s based on sales is one that’s never going to be as comfy as say, a tenured teaching position. Of course, not all teachers have tenure, and one of my teacher friends is currently furloughed. So there are pros and cons to everything. Overall, writing is an amazing job, and I am blessed to be able to do it.
How long did it take you to write HERE?
It’s hard to say. All in all, probably about 50-60 hours, which is how long it usually takes me to write a book (not including the work my editor does and copy edits). But when I started HERE, I was waiting to hear back from agents on another project—one I’d worked on, off and on, for about three years. I had a painful number of almost-acceptances, and two agents pulled out at the last minute, so to speak, for different reasons. I was really upset, and I had also just found out I was pregnant. I wrote HERE in strange little spurts during my pregnancy. Then my baby was born, he had some health issues as an infant, and I wrote it even more sporadically. I think I finished it when he was about five months old.
What was your favorite moment in the story?
Gosh, it’s hard to pick just one. My first-favorite would probably be the one at Milo’s best friend’s cabin, after…the big event, where he tells her everything, including how he feels about her. It’s the high-drama moment, and I love drama. Second-favorite is when he returns to her house saying he’s being followed; that’s also an intense moment, at least in my head, because I know it kicks-off all the major action. Plus I love that he comes back to her because he has nowhere else to go, and she’s soooo thrilled to see him. Good times. But not really! Which is what I love. Third-favorite – when he goes to her concert. It’s not dramatic, but it’s sweet.
Can you give us any hints about the direction the next book will take?
Things get a lot more real. Nick has to make some very difficult choices that have serious repercussions. One of my favorite things about this series is how difficult a position Nick is in. It’s impossible. It really is an excellent conflict. There are some big surprises in terms of…Nick’s camp, and what is up with them. I’m actually not finished with the book, and even I am tied in knots over it! It’s going to be really good. But nothing compared to book three.
When can we expect the next release?
It depends on exactly when I release Exalted, book four in the Stained Series. As soon as I get that out, I will focus exclusively on the second HERE book, which I think will be called TRAPPED. Unless I come up with a better name. *rolls eyes* I’m hoping for a late September release, but there is a small chance it could end up being early October instead. I hope not, but it’s hard to estimate.
If you could cast anyone to play Milo and Nick on screen, who would it be?
Whoever the guy is on the cover of HERE really reminds me of Nick. I don’t know any Hollywood guys that age. L Sad, right? I don’t watch a lot of TV. For girls, I really can only think of two Emmas. Emma Roberts and Emma Watson. Lol. They both could maybe look like Milo.
In 30 words or less, plug your story now…
Like Twilight but if Edward’s only options were to obliterate Bella or let himself and every other vampire die. Love + impossible choices = awesomesauce.