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1. What drew you to writing, and why did you pick the genre you write i

I grew up in the pre-computer era. If you wanted factual information you found it in paper books and newspapers. The "Word" was powerful and depending on how you used the words, could influence peoples attitudes and behavior. I realized this before I was nine years old when I decided I wanted to pursue journalism.

By the time I was in 8th grade, I published a weekly newsletter of local and upcoming events. Since we didn't have copy machines, I mimeographed my newsletter. I had a readership of over a hundred subscribers paying a dime to me each week.  Big bucks in that era.

I continued to work pro-bono as an editor or journalist in high school, college, and in my professional organizations gaining experience in publishing.

During my federal career I was only writing non-fiction, but my desire was to become a mystery novelist by the time I reached age sixty. I enjoy writing romance and Young Adult if the opportunity presents.


2. Have ever taken a formal writing course and if so what would you tell someone looking to take one?


I have taken many writing workshops offered by my professional writing organizations, but realized the correct way was to earn a Master's degree in Writing. Once I completed the two and a half year program at Seton Hill University, my marketable thesis was under contract with a publisher within a few months. Studying writing in a structured environment forces you to think and behave like a professional writer. That opportunity also provides you with the interface to your published faculty as well as with editors the university invites to their writing programs.


3. How long do you take to write one of your books?

Because I still work and have family responsibilities as well as handling those unexpected crisis, I read about ten hours a week and write twenty-five hours a week. I conduct my research after I outline my book. It takes about six weeks for me to produce a readable draft (definitely not a final manuscript) and an additional six to eight weeks to be happy with all the critiques and line edits before I draft a final manuscript for submission to a publisher.


4. Do you do a lot of research for your books or do you use your own experiences to help you write.


I write about the things I have experienced. But since I include a science-based theme in every mystery, I conduct the research to be certain my facts are credible and thus, believable.


5. What would you tell a new author looking to break into the industry?


Write what you know and with quality. Refer to the Chicago Manual of Style to write quality. DO NOT Self-publish any of your books. Submit your "FINAL" manuscript to a reliable and established publisher whose web site shows they can provide you opportunities to market your book if they contract with you. If the publisher offers you a contract, make sure the fine print does not include losing all your rights to your characters and your lifetime electronic rights as some "traditional" publishers do to new authors.  If the publisher rejects your manuscript, don't take it personally. Just revise following the publisher's suggestions. Once your first book is under contract, immediately begin writing another novel. Usually the same publisher will take your subsequent books. Also, publish with other publishers. Oh yes, the new author has a much faster chance of being contracted with an ePublisher rather than a "traditional" publisher who usually requires you to have a literary agent to get your foot into their door. After publishing your first twenty eBooks, take six months and write your best-seller novel.


6. ePub or Traditional Print house and why?
As mentioned above, the credible established ePublishers have less overhead and can publish books at a faster rate than the "traditional" publisher who has been cutting corners for the past few years due to the declining economy. You don't need to go through the agonizing process of finding a Literary Agent when you submit to an ePublisher. Moreover, more readers are downloading eBooks because it is cheaper than buying a paperback from the non-existent book stores.

Comments

Patricia Bates said…
You background seems to help your writing quite a bit. Do you think its a vital part of it?
Ellen Spain said…
Thank you for your question: Having the wonderful opportunity to live on Great Duck Island (Gull Island in the novels) plus all my government experience has indeed helped me maintain my enthusiam for writing mystery and YA. My background includes a lot of areas described in my bio at EllenSpain.com but you can also read about my varid interests so to speak "between the lines" when you view the photograph albums at my web site. The albums help give credibility to my writings.
Ellen Spain said…
7. You background seems to help your writing quite a bit. Do you think its a vital part of it?

7. ANSWER
Ellen Spain said...
Thank you for your question: Having the wonderful opportunity to live on Great Duck Island (Gull Island in the novels) plus all my government experience has indeed helped me maintain my enthusiam for writing mystery and YA. My background includes a lot of areas described in my bio at EllenSpain.com but you can also read about my varid interests so to speak "between the lines" when you view the photograph albums at my web site. The albums help give credibility to my writings.
Ellen Spain said…
7. You background seems to help your writing quite a bit. Do you think its a vital part of it?

7. ANSWER
Ellen Spain said...
Thank you for your question: Having the wonderful opportunity to live on Great Duck Island (Gull Island in the novels) plus all my government experience has indeed helped me maintain my enthusiam for writing mystery and YA. My background includes a lot of areas described in my bio at EllenSpain.com but you can also read about my varid interests so to speak "between the lines" when you view the photograph albums at my web site. The albums help give credibility to my writings.

July 29, 2011 10:51 AM
Ellen Spain said…
7. You background seems to help your writing quite a bit. Do you think its a vital part of it?

7. ANSWER
Ellen Spain said...
Thank you for your question: Having the wonderful opportunity to live on Great Duck Island (Gull Island in the novels) plus all my government experience has indeed helped me maintain my enthusiam for writing mystery and YA. My background includes a lot of areas described in my bio at EllenSpain.com but you can also read about my varid interests so to speak "between the lines" when you view the photograph albums at my web site. The albums help give credibility to my writings.

July 29, 2011 10:51 AM

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