Saturday, April 9, 2011

Author interview: A Family in Publishing Together (with Ellen C. Maze)

 Welcome everyone! Today I have an author interview to share with you. I had been wanting to interview author Ellen C. Maze for a while now. If you've been following my reviews at all, you'll probably know that I absolutely love all her books I've read so far. When I found out that both her husband and daughter are also authors, I just knew I had to ask her all about her family and how it works to have three writers all in the same household.

So please give Ellen a huge welcome, and I hope you enjoy her answers to my questions as much as I did!

----


Hello! Thank you for joining me.

Today we are going to be talking about your family in the publishing industry together. Can you tell us a little bit about your family and what they do? (writing, cover design, editing, etc)


Hi Erika! Thank you for having us over. Being the mom/wife, I am the main spokesperson, but as it fits in, I will stick my family members in front of your readers to lend an ear. Let’s see…a little bit about my family.



 Let’s start young…

My daughter, Elizabeth E. Little, is 18 and a senior in high school. She is an accomplished fine artist and here is a page of her art at this link: (http://www.hyliian.deviantart.com/ ) Her dream is to write fiction and do graphic art for a living. She is well on her way with two YA fantasy novels completed, another couple started, and numerous cover-art jobs already commissioned—when she gets out of HS, there will be no stopping her! Search her name on Amazon and a dozen covers come up, and she comes up as an author in the anthology FECKLESS TALES OF SUPERNATURAL, PARANORMAL, AND DOWNRIGHT PRESUMPTUOUS ILK. God-willing, her first novel will be published through TreasureLine in 2011.

My husband, Kevin R. Maze (www.kevinrmaze.com), has been writing since high school. He loves to write creative fiction and also movie reviews and general information blogs. He’s smart enough for nonfiction, but fun enough for creepy tales, too. He was first published in FECKLESS, the aforementioned anthology, and this month, his first full-length novel came out, WISP: A SMALL TOWN NIGHTMARE.

Me, myself, and I, Ellen C. Maze (www.ellencmaze.com), have always loved to write and draw, and I still do both. My first novel, RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER, has garnered more than 85 5-star reviews on Amazon, and also on other review sites. It is a very odd tale, mixing vampires and theology, and it works for 97% of readers. I like to say that those are the guys I’m writing for—and I hope that includes you guys!

For those of my readers who haven't read your books yet, can you tell us a little bit of the kind of stories you write and what you have in store for the future?

Oh, sure! I write paranormal vampire thrillers from a biblical worldview. Sound dumb? Amazing? Impossible? Think about it: most stories have a good guy and a bad guy. Some even have God and Satan. Well, a biblical worldview means that in my stories, the bad guy is the biblical devil or the devil’s influence on man, and the good guy is the God of the Bible. Sometimes I use the name Jesus, but even if I don’t, the tenets set forth in the 66-Book Bible teach me all I need to know about the nature of God and of the devil.

Don’t think they are light reading, though. Think STEPHEN KING meets ANNE RICE meet C. S. LEWIS. My books are incredibly creepy and often amazingly sensual/erotic, yet all the time well-within the PG-13 parameters that I feel like the Bible itself is presented in. I like to think that they are addictive…at least that is what my readers have told me. I love to hear that!


So, how did each of you get into the publishing business? Is it something you each set out to do separately or were you influenced by your other family members?

I was first to go when I self-published Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider (which was picked up by a real publisher 1 year later). I had a story to tell and the query letters were getting me nowhere. I had some good nibbles on my book, but no one willing to buy it in our crazy market. So I did it on my own with Outskirts Press, and they were wonderful and publicized my book everywhere.

My husband started writing his novel, WISP, sometime after my first book came out and he had always dreamed of being published. My daughter had already completed two novels and been published in two poetry anthologies, so it seemed like we all wanted to be writers together. In the summer of 2010, I had an idea to publish an anthology of short stories—not only to showcase my writing, but to get my husband and daughter into print, too. I also was able to find six other extremely talented new authors to submit, and they were blessed to be included in FECKLESS.

So to answer your question, I think we all wanted to be writers, but I was the guinea pig.

How are the stories you write different or similar from each other? Do you ever bounce ideas off each other or do you each keep to your own separate paths?

All three of us work in very different genres. I’ve told you mine; Kevin works in non-vampire paranormal themes (think Frank Peretti); Elizabeth works in fantasy—both elves and wizards, as well as paranormal fantasy as in werewolves and dragon-shifters.

We do occasionally bounce ideas off each other, especially Kevin and me. But we don’t work together as in, on the same stories. I once heard Kevin give an amazing “What if” story, and when he did nothing with it, I asked if I could run with it. So I took his idea and wrote it into a short story for FECKLESS (“Comeback”). That’s as close as we come to working together.

I would like to write with Elizabeth sometime. She and I could make a great team! She is a W.O.W (World of Warcraft) expert, and I’m a vampire expert. I’d like her to co-author a book that combines the two elements. It could happen…

Do you ever work together or do you each need your separate space?

We all sit in the same room to write… for now; with three PCs and three desks, and our backs to each other. That might change this summer when Elizabeth is home full-time. Talking when folks are trying to write is prohibited. Whoever talks the most is getting kicked to the spare room in the back, so let that be a warning to you…Kevin! LOL


Have you ever considered all working together on one story?

No, but now that you mention it, what a cool story that would be! We would mix all of our genres together in one delicious soup!

I hear that some of the book covers are a bit of a family project. Can you tell us a story about how one or two of them came to be?

Sure! Elizabeth is the Photoshop graphic artist in the family so that makes her my art slave. She has built all of my covers on her computer. I always give her an idea of what I have in mind and then she runs with it: titles, graphics, special PSD brushes—she is the bomb. And with Kevin’s novel, WISP, we used a friend’s photograph and Elizabeth turned it into a stunning and rare book cover for the world to ooh and aah over. Kevin’s contribution is to keep the Icee’s coming and cheer us on. He is not allowed near the art studio. You should see the bear he drew for us one time during a game of Pictionary…



Do you read each other's finished writing (published or unpublished)? If yes, do you have a favourite story?


YES. And during the writing process, we will share little doses to get some encouragement or direction. The most memorable story concerns my first written novel (4th published), THE JUDGING.

It was 2004 and my first attempt at writing an entire novel. It was a ridiculous 180K words (for those who don’t know, a novel is normally less than 100K) and all over the place. I took it to my husband to read and he did. When he finished, he felt let down by the dreary ending. He said, “is this how it ends? No resolution? No redemption? We went through all this (180,000 words) for no pay-off?”

I wasn’t hurt. I took his words to heart and fixed the ending. The rest is history. If my husband hadn’t pointed out this very simple story flaw, there’s no telling how long it would have taken me to figure it out on my own! Nowadays, we try to share our work before it goes to the publisher. We sometimes read the entire novel aloud to each other for one last check. It’s a fun way to spend every evening for a month.

I've heard it can sometimes be rough as an author, because no matter how many people love your book, there will always be some who hate it. How do you encourage each other through the rough patches?

That is the toughest part, getting bad reviews. So far, it’s only been me to get reviews, so my daughters showers me with love and says the bad reviewer is DUMB. My husband hugs me and reminds me of the hundreds of 5-star reviews I have, and tells me that I can’t please everyone. WHY NOT!? Okay, I understand…

How does the creative process of getting your stories and work out there affect your family life? Does it make it chaotic or keep you from doing certain things together? Or are you much stronger together?

I’ll share with you one funny side-effect of living in a writing family: the ZONE OUT. At any point in time—during a movie, during dinner, during a conversation, while driving—any one of us is liable to zone out and start writing a book in our heads. I do this all the time. It doesn’t make any of us good listeners. We have to work at it and concentrate to hear what the other is saying.

Writing together has the potential to make us a stronger family, I think. We have the same interests, and we can attend writer’s conferences and conventions together, go to book signings together, fun stuff.

A main drawback to living with writers is that when we get caught up in our fantasy world, it is difficult to snap out of it for every tiny little comment or announcement from a family member. That is why I made a sign that I put on the back of my chair; it reads: I’M NOT IGNORING YOU. I’M WORKING. SHALOM.

Whatever works, right?

Is there anything else you'd like to share with my readers?

I would love to thank you, Erika, for having us here and I hope your readers will gallop over to www.ellencmaze.com and see if there’s anything on the menu that you might find tasty. As fun as writing is, I love sharing the finished product with others! I work with my publisher to keep the prices low so everyone can afford my books, so have a look. They are also available worldwide, so don’t let the MADE IN AMERICA stamp scare ya! Ya’ll feel free to email me at ellenmaze@aol.com and let me know whuzzup! Also, I would be more than thrilled if you would “friend” me on facebook  and if you join my facebook group, you could win a FREE book! I’m crazy like that! Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1027516409#!/group.php?gid=96952574559

YA’LL HAVE A GLORIOUS DAY AND LET’S GO READ A BOOK!

Hugs,

Ellen C Maze

----


A HUGE thank you to Ellen, for not only answering all my curiosities, but for being so entertaining at the same time!

If you would like to know more about Ellen, Kevin's, and Elizabeth's work please click those links! If you'd like to read my reviews of Ellen's books you can find them here:


~Erika

2 comments:

  1. This is wonderful and you arranged it so well with the link and photos! Thank you again for having me, Erika! I will go share your blog around now...
    Hugs!
    ellen

    ReplyDelete
  2. That was a very good and interesting interview. Thanks for sharing it. I found you from book blogs. I'm now following you and I look forward to reading more book reviews. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete

 
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Under the Dappled Shadows kit by Lorie Davison