Elaine D Walsh, a women’s fiction author, received an honorable mention at the 2012 Southern California Book Festival in the general fiction category and was a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. She has penned top selling book, Atomic Summer and the next best seller, Restoration.
Nimitz Highway and River Street is an intersection on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. This is where Elaine impatiently came out of the womb ready to start on her own personal history. She grew up in upstate New York against the backdrop of the flowering women’s rights movement with different ideas from my mother as to what life as a woman should be. In college, she majored in psychology with the intent of being a “death & dying” counselor. This would be her paying job while she wrote the next great American novel. Plan B kicked in and she graduated with a B.A. in English, packed her car, and upset her parents by moving to Florida in search of her destiny.
So far, she has lived a Lifetime Movie Network life, a mixture of extraordinary, ordinary, mundane, and terrifying, providing her great inspiration and fanning her creative flame. The most powerful influences in her life and her stories are being a daughter, mother, friend, and soul mate. But as a successful women’s fiction author, does this surprise anyone?
What inspires you to write?
The every day world and my own experiences inspire me mostly. For instance, I was working on a story and couldn’t quite come up with how to tie it together. Then, my mother started to tell me about a conversation she had with two other friends. They were discussing what they would do if the end of the world was imminent. Light Bulb! I listened to her story and it combined it with the story I was writing and just like that Atomic Summer exploded.
Tell us about your writing process.
When I come up with an idea, I begin writing out the scenes. Typically I carry a notebook and jot them down and then eventually transfer them to note cards. Once I have all the scenes figured out, I place them in order and decide where I want to start the story.
During the time I am writing the scenes out, I am really getting to know the characters. This really helps so I can invision the character in the scene when I start writing. Then I just dump. I write and write and write without the thought of what’s really coming out. The idea is to get it out of my head and on the paper.
After the story is out there, I begin the edit. I ask myself does this flow? Would my character say this? Would they act like this? And at the end…I get a great editor!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Okay, I am not a Schizophrenic, but I do hear voices and I listen. It’s the best way I know to be authentic to who they are. Listening to them really allows me to understand how they will react in stories and provides my readers an extremely emotional experience where the characters come alive.
What advice would you give other writers?
For new writers, I suggest getting involved with writer groups where you can subject your work to the constructive criticism of other writers. Our family and friends don’t tell us what what we need to do to become better writers, so although they are good for encouragement, they don’t necessarily help us hone our craft. Also, find writers who write great dialogue and those that excel in developing strong memorable characters, and others who are gifted in scenes and settings. Read them, study them and learn from them. Go go to writer’s conferences and workshops and learn. And the most important lesson I learned is write first and edit second. By that I mean, just get your story down on paper. The editor in you will try to battle for control but stay on the creative side of your brain and push away the editor. Don’t worry about sentence structure or how it sounds. Create first. Edit second.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have been down the traditional agent path with a literary agent in New York who loved my work. He thought he could get an auction going for my book. Obviously, that didn’t work out. I plan on staying with Indie publishing, unless an agent or publishing house pursues me and convinces me it is a better path to sign with them. Publishing houses have precious few dollars to invest in unpublished unknown authors. I would rather put my energy into publishing Indie and all of the marketing and promotion that goes with it, than pursuing a contract. At least at the end of my Indie efforts, I have my novel being published and read versus being a disappointed unpublished and unread author.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s ever changing. No longer is your success dependent on a Big Six publisher. The world is now our canvas. I think we will see easier ways to publish and more avenues to sell internationally. After all, we are still in the infancy of electronic books.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Drama, Womens Fiction, Historical Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print