Words With Author Elyse Salpeter

Today, I'll be stepping out of the spotlight (you didn't know we had a spotlight? Well, we do, and it takes three trained monkeys to keep it aimed at me) to feature an interview with author Elyse Salpeter. Enjoy!

Why look, an author with a book!

Last week, I sent Elyse a series of questions carefully constructed to make it appear as if I have a rudimentary command of English. She kindly obliged by answering each, and consenting to have her responses posted here in the Board-certified, gluten-free pages of my blog.

But first, here are a few links to Elyse, and her books!

Elyse's Amazon Author page (includes links to all of her books!)

So who is this writing madwoman? What is she all about?

I give you the Official(tm) Elyse Salpeter Author Interview!

QUESTION from FRANK: Your new book, Flying to the Fire, is the latest installment in a series featuring a deaf protagonist. What led you to feature a deaf child as the hero of the series?

ANSWER from ELYSE: I’ve been asked this a lot and I have to say, when I first wrote Book #1, FLYING TO THE LIGHT, I had no intention of making any sort of statement by introducing a deaf child as the main character. It’s just that when I was developing the story, this young boy popped into my mind and I said to myself “what if he can’t speak and no one has any idea about the amazing secret he holds?” I was more concerned about his age. How no one would take this child seriously at the age of six, so his secret would be safe for awhile. In book #2 I move him to the age of thirteen because I really wanted him to be the driver of the story.

I didn’t want this child’s deafness to be construed as a disability and it was simply a part of who he is. I have the family all using sign language to communicate with him and I treat him very typically. 

QUESTION from FRANK: You've established a unique cosmology for Flying to the Light and Flying to the Fire. Both books are set in the world we know, in the present, but your young protagonist knows something about the afterlife we don’t. Without giving away too many spoilers, how did you come up with the plot twist that’s central to the books?
ANSWER from ELYSE: No one really knows what happens to us when we die. We think we might have an idea. We believe in faith and religion and spirituality concepts, but none of us actually has the answer. Unless you’re a complete agnostic that believes you’re worm food at the end of the day, most of us think there “something,” though I’m hard pressed to say what it is. 

I love the idea that good souls have somewhere to go and bad souls have some place where they do penance, or are simply tortured for eternity for their heinous crimes on earth! When I came up with the idea for the FLYING series, I thought to myself “what if our souls don’t necessarily go where we think they do?” I also liked the idea that this wasn’t a plot scenario that I’ve seen anywhere in the field, and death and the afterlife have been covered a lot. I think readers will enjoy this twist on the age-old question of “what happens to us when we die?” 

QUESTION from FRANK: Let’s shift gears for a minute and talk about Elyse the author. Walk us through a typical day -- when do you write, how much do you try to write, and what’s the biggest obstacle you face trying to get all that done?

ANSWER from ELYSE: Ah, you see, when you said typical day and then discussed writing, that’s where my creative side gets skewed. You see, I never have set times to write. Between a full time job, married and with kids, I find my time to write to be a “plead, beg and steal” routine. A typical day is me turning on the computer in the morning and blasting out some social media promotions before I jump into the shower to get ready for work. Then, if I’ve dragged the laptop with me to work, I get two twenty minute sessions, on two different trains, to write. Sometimes I’m lucky and then can get some time in at lunch, and then also on the way home. 

Writing at night happens after the kids go to sleep, but by that time, I’m pretty much wiped out from my day. That said, when I’m deep into writing a new novel, I’ll negotiate with the family time for me to write and usually it involves me leaving the house in order to get the space and time I need. “Ideal” this is not. 

QUESTION from FRANK: The publishing industry. You’re a writer, so you’re a part of it. If you could change one thing about the business of writing itself, what would that be, and why?

ANSWER from ELYSE: I wish so many things. I wish there were more brick and mortar stores. I wish more publishing companies took on new writers. I wish it were easier to reach readers. I wish it were easier to get respected companies in the field to do reviews of self published work. I wish agents were more responsive and open to also taking on new writers. I wish it were easier to break into Hollywood. As you can see, I’m a big wisher. 

QUESTION from FRANK: What’s next for you? Got any new projects on the horizon you’d like to talk about? 

ANSWER from ELYSE: I do! I have a horror novel that I’m presently editing that I’m hoping to release for Halloween. It’s called THE MANNEQUINS and is about a film crew that disappears after breaking into a deserted mansion. After that I’ll start working on Book #3 in the FLYING series. The tentative title is called FLYING HOME. 

QUESTION from FRANK: Advice for aspiring authors -- it’s a Federal law that I ask this question in any blog interview. So, what’s worked for you, and what hasn’t, and what would you suggest new authors concentrate their efforts upon?

ANSWER from ELYSE: I would tell people to persevere. There are so many different levels of success. I know that now with five novels out I can be considered successful and I should be happy, but I’m not. I want to be able to do this full time and so I implore aspiring authors to keep writing, keep promoting and keep trying new things. With this ever changing social media and publishing landscape, who knows where the industry will be in ten years? Continue to keep writing and put out quality work and sales will come. I can’t tell you if you’ll be able to make a full time job out of it, but if you can reach a few people who enjoy your work, then you can certainly call yourself a success. 

Elyse is hosting a book launch for her new novel, Flying to the Fire. The official launch is August 30, but since you're a person of taste and no small wit, you can grab a copy right now by clicking your clicky little finger on this brightly-colored easy to use link

Thanks, Elyse, for joining us on the blog today!

Writing News

Despite a trying week, I was able to finish the second draft of the new Mug and Meralda book, All the Turns of Light.

This new draft is now enjoying a stay with a Secret Beta Reader. Meanwhile, I do as all serious authors do after completing one book -- I've started another. 

It might be a new Markhat adventure. It might be a new Markhat adventure involving a long train ride. All these rumors might be true, although it must be pointed out that I could very well be lying about the whole thing, and have instead immersed myself in Cheetos and video games while I await the verdict on the second draft of Turns of Light. Frankly, I'm such a devious, deceitful fellow that I'm not even sure anymore. Why are my fingers stained yellow?

Other Writing News

There has been much ballyhoo and hullabaloo concerning the so-called Authors United Open Letter To Amazon, which you can read for yourself here

The crux of the matter is the ongoing dispute between publisher Hachette and bookseller Amazon over, um, whatever it is they can't agree upon. The right of Amazon to price ebooks as they wish or Hachette to fish inside the hundred-mile territorial waters limits of Norway or possibly over whether Han shot first.

Truth is, I don't know. Look, I have a full-time job, an elderly diabetic dog, and a closet-full of demons and skeletons of my own to deal with each and every bloody day. Bad author, I know, but Amazon and Hachette are going to do whatever it is they wind up doing regardless of my opinion on the matter. It's all I can manage most days to just keep putting words together; I don't have the time or the energy to spare on what amounts to a clash of the Titans over the hills and far away.

I do hear the crash and thud of battle, though, and that itself is disturbing enough. 

Publishing isn't an easy. It wasn't easy when I dived in back in the 1990s and it isn't easy now. But Frank, you say, aghast at my statement -- why, publishing is easier than ever, today! Anyone can upload their ebook, and instantly become an author!

My point exactly. I read somewhere that Amazon introduced more than 70,000 new ebook titles in the last two months alone. Seventy thousand. 

As a veteran of the publishing industry, I will leave you with this comment, which is of course open for debate.

It has never been easier to publish one's own book, and it has never been more difficult to place one's own book in front of the right audience.

Awash and bobbing amid an ever-widening sea of titles, each clamoring for rescue by a reader?

That's how it feels, much of the time. 

So whether Amazon is right or Hachette emerges victorious is secondary to someone treading water and hoping to stay afloat. 

And with that, gentle reader, I bid you good evening. 

How about a book to read?