Saturday, July 9, 2011

Interview with Author Elizabeth Mueller



I have two dreams: to be a mom and a published author. Guess what? I’ve reached both! I started my writing career over 20 years ago, but it was survival for me then. I endured many struggles as a child and turned to my creativity to help cope. It swept me away into the far off distance of the universe, or into strange lands where elves fall in love. The magic in my writing has never left me and still gives me great joy. It is my aspiration to be a light to others, either as a friend or writer.
Please drop by and say hi on my website or blog!


Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Elizabeth: I’ve been writing for over 20 years, but I didn’t start looking into getting published until 2007. The drive has only grown stronger.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
Elizabeth: I did pretty well with my writing assignments in elementary and high school. I took a creative writing class my senior year, and attended the University of Texas at El Paso. I didn’t complete my degree because I moved to Utah, and married. Now I have four children!

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?
Elizabeth: I love to drown myself in the story and watch my characters come to life. I enjoy living through their problems, and sorrows. Overcoming their trails is half the joy, but I especially love their feeling of triumph as they flourish in their successes.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?

Elizabeth: Rejections hurt and made me wonder if I was good enough. That is the hardest part of getting there. Once there, accepting the fact that it has finally happened to me is surreal.

I know that “Happily Ever After” in those cute movies we see for kids isn’t real life, and so it is with getting that book accepted. I’ve found that I still have to work hard for it. I need to do my part to market it. I’ve found that public speaking is a must if you want to get anywhere as an author, and that is a HUGE challenge I hope to conquer soon!



Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?

Elizabeth: I’ve always had the feeling that it was a when, not if. I turn to the Lord whenever I need encouragement. Prayer makes a huge difference in my choices, and influences the way my books come to life.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?
Elizabeth: Writing schedule? Only when I can squeeze it in; I work around the kids. I have an hour of quiet time for them where they play in their respective rooms. This gives me a chance to write. After they are tucked into bed, I do my serious writing stuff up until 11:30 at night.



Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?

Elizabeth: My ideas come from anywhere. It can be a sunset, a twisted tree, a piece of music, a simple phrase, an image . . .
I know the idea is good if I can feel eternity open before me. What I mean, I can feel inspiration grab a hold of me and rattle me so hard I have the strongest drive to start writing.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about Darkspell?
Elizabeth: Sure! Darkspell was born from a single sentence that exploded into a full outright novel over 2 months. I had so much fun writing because the main characters are teenagers; they are fun people!

Here’s the storyline: Winter Sky believes she’s everything ordinary . . . until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold. As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter’s protector against the darkness that hunts her. Violently thrust into a magical realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own. Will love prove thicker than magic?

Deirdra: How has being an artist and author influenced your writing?

Elizabeth: As an artist, I’ve learned to observe carefully, assimilate or understand, and create.
For example, the depth of objects. The way it curves away from your eye and how the light strikes or reflects that object, how the color lightens or darkens by degree. I apply this to the physical aspects of people: how sunlight lances through a person’s iris, how their eyes sparkle and dance when happy or how they darken when angered; it’s true, watch people and their physical appearances as they interact with each other; especially young children because they are untainted by learned behaviors! This has helped me define my characters in my novels.

Deirdra: BTW, love the cover. It sets a great tone for the book.


Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?
Elizabeth: Typically, I run my manuscript after I’ve gone over it to a handful of alpha readers. I ask for their opinions on how to improve weak points and what the strong points are. After fixing those, I re-edit and then send it off to about 2-3 beta readers. It really depends on who can help me at that time, too.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Elizabeth: I’m a survivor. As much as I don’t like to admit this aloud, I believe that I thrive on barren ground, and want to share that hope with others. Even in the midst of failures, there’s always something to look forward to.
Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?

Elizabeth: When an idea awakens my soul, I whip out my laptop and under the “story ideas” folder, I write what is in my head. It could be the middle, ending or beginning of the book. Or just a rough idea of what is driving me. I have over 30 story ideas waiting for their turn to be told.

Let’s just say that I’m done with my current novel, I skim through my story ideas and think about which one I want to write next. I open that file and start expanding. It all boils down to the fact that I am a true-blooded pantser!


Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?

Elizabeth: Oh, yes! It wasn’t fun. I had to put the story away, regrettably, until I was ready. I prayed and fasted and prayed some more. Meanwhile, until my muse returned, I help other writers out. I love to coach and mentor others; I’ve helped a few writers unsnag their block a few times! I critique their work, and edit. I do everything I can to help others with their writing endeavors as a way to help loosen the knot of my writer’s block.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?

Elizabeth: I need absolute silence to work on my writing, even edit. My mind tends to listen to the sounds around me and it’s hard to focus on my book!

Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?

Elizabeth: I make it a point to have my scriptures read, and pray for inspiration before I begin my creative process at all times. I have stickers framing the screen of my laptop with these writing tips: Does it deepen the character? Does it move the story forward?

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

Elizabeth: The first person that comes to mind is the Lord; I take my writing to Him from feeding the seedling of an idea, to brain-storming, to writing it out, to getting myself out of writers blocks and editing.
Margie Lawson helped me flourish into a better writer. Her writing course is thorough and instructive and so in depth, it changes the way I perceive writing.

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Elizabeth: I give my characters struggles and faults. I write about people that readers could relate to. To make my characters believable, I pretend that I’m that person, even if it’s a boy. I make it a point to show the emotions to sharpen the intensity of the reading experience. I also dive into their thoughts so that my readers can understand them better.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?

Elizabeth: Kim Wilkins, Liz Kessler, Helen Dunmore, and Michele Bell.


Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Elizabeth: I make it a point not to snack because I sit for hours in and hours out. Water is a fantastic item for me, though! ;)

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Elizabeth: I find my greatest joy by hanging out with my children. Then next is dancing. I get so lost in the beat, it’s magical! I also enjoy singing and drawing! I love making and keeping friends and helping them know that they are beautiful people.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Elizabeth: I encourage you to be strong and resist the temptation to see yourself as “not good enough”. I know it’s especially hard when other people don’t take you seriously, they make you feel like you’re nuts for loving to write. Just remember that you have that drive for a reason and you will turn it into something. Just don’t ever give up. Ever.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Elizabeth: To be honest, I’ve been working hard on my networking. I’m celebrating Darkspell’s release with a pre-book launch throughout the month of July.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?

Elizabeth: My book releases this coming fall. You will find it here:
Amazon.com, the TreasureLine Books online bookstore, Barnes & Noble ebook and paperback, ebooks: B&N, Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Borders, Diesel, Sony, and Scrollmotion.

You will have the opportunity to order/reserve a signed copy directly through me when the time comes!

Please drop by and say hi on my website or blog!
Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?

Elizabeth: Believe in yourself!
Please join me in my celebration for Darkspell’s fall release all July long! Click here: http://www.authorelizabethmueller.com/celebrate-darkspell.html for details.

10 comments:

  1. Great interview, ladies! Enjoyed reading more about Elizabeth! And Deirdra, thanks so much for the lovely Creative Blog Award!

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  2. Wow, another book I have to put on my to-read list!

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  3. Elizabeth, I love that you mention prayer as part of your writing prep. I've noticed that when I do this, fragments of my story piece together like they were always meant to be, my foreshadowing works like a charm, and somehow, the images in my mind become much less cliché. It's wonderful to hear from someone who shares this and can easily refer to it in an interview.

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  4. Elizabeth... I loved your answer to the question "What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print"

    Wonderful interview Deirdra!!
    Thank you so much for coming over and awarding us, we are very honored !

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  5. This is a great interview Deirdra and Elizabeth. I love when authors are so honest and helpful. Really looking forward to your book.

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  6. J.C., thank you!

    Paul, yay!

    Christine, it's always worked wonders for me. I'm happy that we both have something wonderful in common! <3

    JL, thank you! :)

    Christa, thank you for visiting--I can't wait to get it out!

    Deirdra, thank you SO much for being part of my Tour--you're such a sweet friend!


    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥
    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!
    Pre-order your copy now!

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  7. Never giving up is the key to success in most ventures - not always easy to do but necessary:-)

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  8. Great interview, ladies! It is a surreal experience, isn't it? And I appreciate the fact you are not afraid to say that you are grounded in faith, Elizabeth!

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  9. Jabblog, I agree with you on that. :)

    Alex, thank you! :)

    Melissa, thanks! :D

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥
    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!
    Pre-order your copy now!

    ReplyDelete