Saturday, September 15, 2012

Interview with Ellen Feld

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Ellen Feld:  Although I’d been writing for national magazines for over ten years, I was still considered an unpublished author.  I couldn’t get any agents or publishers to look at my work.  Not one to easily get discouraged I decided to self-publish.  That was about ten years ago, when self-publishing was just starting to get easier for those with little background in publishing.  My first book took off and it’s been a great ride.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Ellen Feld: It’s easy to get discouraged, particularly because writing is such a lonely profession.  There are times when I get down, and then I go to a book signing and a mom comes up to me and tells me her daughter is dyslexic and the teachers couldn’t get her to read.  Then she discovered my books and now reads them over and over.  I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel.

Deirdra:  What is your writing schedule like?
Ellen Feld: I have a full-time “desk job,” so my writing is done at night.  I never force myself to write.  If I’m not in the mood, I don’t write.  I’ve found that when I do force myself, as some authors do, I don’t like the end result.  But when I get on a roll, my family knows enough to leave me alone because I’m not stopping!

Deirdra:  Where do your ideas come from?  How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Ellen Feld : I write about horses for children and pre-teens.  My real horses (I have ten) are my inspiration and they give me enough ideas to keep me writing for years!  The silly, funny, unusual things they do are enough to fill a book – and they do!

Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, (name of book here)
Ellen Feld: I have seven published books, plus three more in the works.  Most of my books are for preteens (ages 9 – 13) and are part of my ‘Morgan Horse’ series.  The first two in the series, Blackjack and Frosty both won the ‘Children’s Choices’ award from the International Reading Association and Blackjack was picked up by a major toy company and sold with a model of the horse.  I love to write fun adventure stories but it is also important to me that the action be realistic and the horses act like horses.  The series takes place in New England, in a barn full of horses and follow a young girl who is learning about all facets of horses/horse care.  Each book revolves around a different horse and riding discipline.

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Ellen Feld : Oh, yes, absolutely!  What author doesn’t get stuck?  If I hit a snag, I step back and stop writing.  Then I just wait…I know the answer will come to me.  Sometimes it may take a month or more.  Then suddenly it pops into my mind - usually while I’m at the barn playing with the horses.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Ellen Feld : I’m probably unusual in that I need noise to write.  I think that comes from my college experience where it was always noisy where/when I studied.  I keep the television on in the background at all times. 

Deirdra:  What are you working on now?
Ellen Feld: Putting the final touches on the seventh book in my ‘Morgan Horse’ series, The Further Adventures of Blackjack.  It just came back from the editor and I hope to get it to the designer next week.  My illustrator should be finished with the interior pictures in a week or so too.  I have the cover art, which I really love.

Deirdra:  Are you planning on self-publishing, finding and agent, going with a small press or other? And why?
Ellen Feld: I self-publish all my books.  I’ve been really successful, have been picked up by national companies, sell my books through organizations such as The American Morgan Horse Association, and have a regular fan base so I don’t see any reason to stop what I’m doing.  I love the freedom of self-publishing, having total control over my “product,” so I plan on continuing.

Deirdra:  What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
Ellen Feld: “I couldn’t get my child to read until she discovered your books.  Why can’t you write them faster so she can read more?”  J

Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?
Ellen Feld: and for signed copies,


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  2. Fascinating interview and I was drawn to the lovely cover. (Well, being a horse lover, I would be!) One of my two horses is a jet black Welsh Cob, so the horse on the cover reminds me of him.

    What a lovely thing to be able to say that you helped a child find a love of books.


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