E.E. Giorgi is a scientist, a writer and a photographer: she spends her days analyzing HIV data, her evenings chasing sunsets, and her nights pretending she’s somebody else. She loves to blog about science for the curious mind, especially the kind that sparks fantastic premises and engaging stories. Her detective thriller CHIMERAS, a hard-boiled police procedural with a genetic twist, is now available on Amazon.
What inspires you to write?
I work on viruses and genetics and the things I discover through my job are fascinating and mind-boggling. For example, did you know that 10% of our genome comes from viruses that infected us during evolution and then their genome got stuck in ours? And did you know that we still carry our mother’s cells in our body, which we acquired back when we were fetuses?
I also get very depressed when I think too hard about the issues that affect our planet, our world, our future, our kids. Writing for me becomes a form of escapism. Rather than ducking my head in the sand, I ask a myriad of What if questions that gradually morph into characters and stories. I seem to be able to cope better if I turn into fiction all the world issues I can’t solve. And the science gives me the best premises to set things off.
Tell us about your writing process.
I don’t outline. Usually a scene pops in my mind, or a voice. I can’t get it out of my head and as I keep thinking about it, it develops into a character. I start writing once the scene has completely formed in my head, and then I go from there. When I get stuck, I go for a walk — for some reason it helps. 🙂
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
No, I just let them talk. 🙂
What advice would you give other writers?
Write from the heart, not from the head. Let the characters grow inside you, get to know them — they’ll be and feel more real.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wrote CHIMERAS over the course of two years. I queried agents for about three months, got a first offer of representation, and after that the offers kept flocking. With 8 offers of representation I had no doubt my book was going to get published — maybe not by one of the “Big Six”, but certainly by a traditional publisher.
My book is a hard-boiled detective thriller, and my main character is a modern Philip Marlowe with a genetic twist. Yes, talk about mixing genres. I got comments along the lines of: “I get the genetic twist, but could you turn it into paranormal?” And about my writing, which I honed after Chandler’s noir tradition: “I found the writing exceptional, but could you remove all the descriptions?” Another one praised the sensitivity to smells as a great novelty but wanted me to turn my detective into a woman because heroines are trendier than heroes.
So, what does a wannabe author do in a situation like this?
It really depends on what your priorities are. If all you want is getting your foot in the door, then you’re probably ready to do anything to make it happen. Then by all means, do what they tell you.
For me, the priority was this: TO BE TRUE TO MY STORY. This does not mean to be completely closed to feedback. Like I said before, I had 8 offers of representation AND every single agent requested some changes to the story AND no two changes overlapped.
Stephen King, in his memoir On Writing says, “Don’t lie.” It’s not that writers lie, but they do need to be true to their story and characters. As readers, we’ve all come across characters that feel stiff and unrealistic. You see, the writer has to fall in love with his/her characters in order to make the readers fall in love with them. If you let others pull and tug at your story, and you start making one change here to accommodate X, and another change there to accommodate Y, and the changes become one too many, you end up losing track of your original story. And that chemistry you had originally built with your character(s) gets lost.
Back to my book: if all editors and agents hit the same nail, I would’ve known there was something wrong with my story. But some requests were literally at the opposite ends. Some made sense, some didn’t. I wasn’t going to change my main character just because gals are trendier than guys. I fulfilled the requests that made sense and ignored the others. As an author, you’ve had some time to get to know your characters. Don’t trash them just because somebody told you they’re no longer trendy. You might try and write something trendy, but great stories aren’t made with the head only. Great stories are made from the heart. And believe me, readers can tell stories that are made from the heart from the ones that aren’t.
That’s when I had enough of the tugging and pulling and decided to self-publish.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I hope more and more people will self-publish. I hope for better ways for indie authors to overcome the slush and make their quality books come forward and be read instead of be frowned upon by traditionally published writers.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Suspense, Thriller, Science Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print