About Eliot Parker:
Eliot Parker is the author of three novels: Breakdown at Clear River (nominated for a Weatherford Award in Outstanding Fiction), Making Arrangements (named a “Best Book of 2014” by USA Book News) and Fragile Brilliance. His short fiction has appeared in Speck Literary Journal, Apex Books, One Story Magazine, and others. He currently teaches writing and literature at Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington, West Virginia.
What inspires you to write?
I have always wanted to be a writer. I became a writer almost by accident. I have always enjoyed reading and writing, but it wasn’t until college that I began to pursue it seriously. I was a Journalism major at Marshall and I joined a creative writing club during my junior year. One of the goals our group established was to create a piece and submit it for publication. The idea of submitting something for publication frightened me. In the end, I submitted a short story I had written and a literary journal at Mary Washington College in Virginia accepted it for publication. At that point I thought, ‘Well, maybe someone does want to read something I’ve written.”
Tell us about your writing process.
I write for 30-60 minutes each day. Even though I am not a morning person, I get up early in the morning and write before everyone in my house wakes up. Some days are more productive than others, but I feel like I am making progress even on the slow writing days. I have a brief outline that I follow, but I do deviate from it if I find a plot device or a character’s reaction to tension in the story moving the plot in a different direction. Some of my best chapters as a writer have been when I deviate from the outline.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
When I am writing a book, I have mornings where it feels like the characters are standing next to me as I write. I interact with my characters by examining their flaws. All characters have flaws and these flaws often make their situations worse in fiction. I do use detailed physical characteristics of my characters, but I often “listen” to them as I write and think about how would an actual person like character X respond in this situation.
What advice would you give other writers?
I am a firm believer that good writing comes from lots of reading. I love mysteries and non-fiction books, but I also read outside of my comfort zone, which really helps me as a writer. For example, when I think about building scenes in my writing and the importance of setting, I think back to some of the science-fiction and fantasy books I’ve read over the years. Those writers are some of the best at creating worlds for readers and making their settings function as actual characters. So, I think it’s important to read a lot, but read other genres that are maybe not your preferred genre.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I sought agents and publishers that believed in my work and in me as a person. That is important when seeking an agent or publisher. Their interest in you is genuine; it cannot be fake. If the publisher is not fully vested in your manuscript and in your success, look someplace else. So much of publishing is timing. You may have a great book and the publisher maybe recently published something similar or they are moving away from that genre of book for a while. Don’t give up and don’t take rejection personally. That is one key point I have learned after having three novels traditionally published.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Technology has made it possible for all authors to reach readers, but you need to be clear on your goals. For example, just because you self-published a great book doesn’t mean your local Barnes and Noble store will carry it. If that is something that is important to you, then maybe you need to seek a small, medium, or large traditional press. However, if you want to publish something for a specific audience, then there are so many ways that can happen as well.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, LGBTO
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
Eliot Parker Home Page Link
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.