About Elaine Calloway:
Elaine Calloway is the Amazon.com bestselling author of paranormal and fantasy novels with elements of romance and desire. Her “tales of the living, the dead and the eerie in between” include the ELEMENTAL CLANS series, the SOUTHERN GHOSTS series and several short stories. A New Orleans native, Elaine grew up with a love of all things supernatural and enjoys visiting the “Crescent City.” She currently lives in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. www.elainecalloway.com
What inspires you to write?
Life and all its variety! I’ve always been fascinated by the human experience in general. In high school, all those hormones and complex experiences came into play. Writing in a journal helped me understand myself, my relationships, my experience in the world. I guess I took that passion of writing and now use it for characters in different situations. It’s also a great feeling when things “click” during the writing process. It’s a natural high.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a work in progress on this answer, LOL. Once upon a time, I was a diehard “seat of the pants” writer; I didn’t plot anything. But that approach doesn’t serve me well when I’m trying to write more than 1 book per year. You could say I’m a hybrid: I do some basic outlining of character goals/motivations/conflicts, but I don’t go overboard by using colored stickers, pens and charts. I use a notebook that I carry with me before I start writing the book. It lets me jot down conflict ideas, character notes, dialogue snippets, etc. For visuals, I create Pinterest boards for each book with setting photos, character images, etc. Readers like seeing these once the book is released, so it’s a double help.
Another approach that works is to write out a very high-level outline of the chapters I intend to write on a specific day. That lets me know where I’m headed, but it’s not so over structured that it removes the magical spontaneity of writing. The key is to go with what works. That’s the best process for any writer: learn what works for you and tweak as needed.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters won’t be quiet! And they always want to talk around four in the morning.
Most times, when characters speak to me, I write down the thoughts immediately because it’s part of my brain that is developing the story. To dismiss it means you miss out on something that could have organically worked in your book.
I don’t really talk “to” my characters; when I write it’s like seeing a movie in my head. But some characters definitely talk more than others. Those are the easiest to write but cause me to lose the most sleep!
What advice would you give other writers?
You need to love the “work” part. That is, sitting down and writing. Many people love the idea of writing but never put in the hours needed to get it done. You need to do this no matter what. Otherwise, the first bad review or lackluster sales month will discourage you.
You need to back up your material – often! The very first book I wrote on a new laptop, I lost 160 pages because my laptop (new) was defective and died. That was agonizing, but I kept on writing and finished that book. Always back up your material on a flash drive or some other way. It will save you heartache
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve been writing novel-length fiction for ten or more years now. Before that, I wrote short stories and anthologies. And I tried going the traditional route. The query letter, the pitch to an editor/agent, the sending 3 chapters, the waiting to hear back, the rejections.
The decision to go the indie publishing route came when my rejections no longer said, “this needs work.” Instead, the rejections were all saying, “I love this, but I have no idea how we would market it. Therefore, I’m passing on it.”
I decided I could figure out my own marketing plan, so I dove into indie publishing and love it.
New authors need to know what they want and be sure to compare apples and apples. Traditional publishing doesn’t fork out a ton of money on travel tours for Joe Schmo new author anymore. They do have distribution power, but make sure you research how much work they will do for you before you go traditional.
Indie publishing is some money up front. You’re doing all the work and hiring others to do your graphic design, your editing, etc. But you get to keep all that control. It’s a big plus for those that want it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it’s a great time to be a writer. We can finally reach readers regardless of which way we decide to publish. There is no longer that old adage, “Well, guess this will never be published.” Now you hold the power to publish anything you want. Just make sure it is good quality before hitting that “Upload” button!
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: paranormal, fantasy
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print