TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Elena: I'm not sure if this is a quirk, but sometimes I have to write passages in first person in order to understand a character's point of view. Later on, I'll rework what I've written into third person so that it fits with the rest of the story.
Oh, and my other big quirk is that I won't let my husband read my novel in the bathroom. This means he hasn't read it yet, and probably never will.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Elena: Elmore Leonard for his dialog. Terry Pratchett for his humor. Stephen King for his versatility.
No matter what you think of these authors, you have to respect their sheer volume of original material. Some writers produce one great novel and follow it with an endless chain of sequels. These guys don't do that; they aren't one trick ponies.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Elena: I like to think of myself as a plotter, but my stories tend to take on a life of their own. When that happens, anything goes.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Elena: Dialog is my favorite part of writing, but it's also the most frustrating. My characters constantly surprise me with the things they say and do, which makes driving their conversations something of a chore. At one point while writing Donor, I had to put a chapter on hold because I couldn't get two of the characters to stop fighting.
TQ: What inspired you to write Donor?
Elena: I'd say my primary inspiration was Bram Stoker's Dracula, with Jonathan Harker trapped inside the Count's castle. It amazes me there isn't more material out there based on that idea.
TQ: Describe Donor in 140 characters or less.
Richard is a vampire who keeps fresh victims trapped in his lair. Every captive eventually dies; Lenore hopes to be the first to escape.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Donor?
Elena: Richard loves to play with his victims, and the turning point of my book is when Lenore decides to play back. In my favorite scene, Richard tells the human characters to pick a number between one and ten; the loser is dinner. Lenore not only avoids being eaten, but also manipulates the game to her advantage.
TQ: In Donor, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?
Elena: The most difficult character to write was Lenore, and that's because I wanted to make her as real as possible. Real people are wonderfully flawed, which is what makes them interesting. But flaws can be a tricky recipe for a protagonist. I struggled with presenting Lenore's flaws in such a way that the reader would still root for her. She's hard to like, but easy to relate to.
Richard, on the other hand, was a great deal of fun to write because I didn't have to worry about making him likable. That freedom translated to his character; he isn't afraid of what others think. I've always had a sneaking suspicion that bad guys have more fun. And in Richard's case, it's true.
TQ: What's next?
Elena: Naturally, since I enjoyed writing my first novel so much, I'm busy working on another. This next one takes place in the same universe, but features zombies instead. It's my take on zombies, though, meaning that they're real people. The main characters constantly inject themselves with serum to prevent from rotting. And when the sole provider of serum goes missing, they set out to discover what happened to him – and they don't have much time.
The book is tentatively titled Fix, and I should probably get back to writing it. :-)
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Elena: Thank you so much for having me!
eBook (December 6, 2011)
Trade Paperback (March 6, 2012), 224 pages
The life of a vampire’s live-in food supply is never long.
Richard is a modern vampire who likes to eat in. That's why he always keeps a fresh victim trapped in his home. All of his captives eventually die; Lenore hopes to be the first to escape.
Life at Richard's is short but never dull. Not with Richard's vampire friend, Paul, constantly popping in. Paul loves toying with Richard's victims before they die. But is Paul getting too attached to his plaything? His human servant, Charles, certainly thinks so. Charles is next in line to be turned and wants to eliminate the competition.
If Charles's schemes don't kill Lenore, then Richard's hunger surely will. Lenore has a plan to survive, but someone will have to die in her place. She now has something terrible in common with her captor: she must kill in order to live.
You can learn more about Elena and her latest projects at http://elenahearty.com