I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm excited to introduce my next guest as she's a fellow SFRBrigader.

As a child Ella read books under the covers with a flashlight. There she found a special love of elves, dragons, and knights. Now that she's found her own knight in shining armor and happily ever after, she loves to write tales of fantasy, hot enough to scorch the sheets. No flashlight needed.

Without further ado, please welcome, Ella!

Can you tell us a little about yourself? A southerner transplanted to New England, I’m a reading fanatic, I love to research, and I wrangle kids during the day. Writing is a large portion of my life outside of my family and all of that has direct bearing on what I write.

When did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published? I started writing when I had my last child in 2006 and signed my first contract for a novella, WOLF-BITTEN, published in 2009 by digital publisher Cobblestone Press.

What sparks your creativity? Nearly everything! I am like all authors and have my weakness, but having ideas is not one of them. Nearly anything can spark something for me. From seeing a glimpse of a red teddy (led to SCENT OF CIN) to the smell of gas when I was at the gas station (WOLF-BITTEN). 

What do you think it is about your genre that readers find so fascinating? I think what’s so fascinating about SF/F is that taking an idea that’s mundane and running with it. In paranormal, it’s the attraction of what’s different from human. Or, the taking a portion of humanity and making it bigger than life. As far as romance goes, it’s making characters you want to know, someone who can sweep you off your feet, and give you that happy ending. 

Are you a pantster, scener, or plotter? Is it your characters or plot that influence you most? What’s your writing process from start to finish when writing a book? This isn’t as easy to answer as it could be. I have different writing processes, usually depending on the length of the story. If it’s a short story, I might write it all by the seat of my pants. If it’s longer, I’m all over the place.

Frequently, I write three chapters or so with a spark of initial idea. Then I stop to outline, plot, and research. As for characters or plot, it depends! The origin for a story may be the plot, as with SILVER BOUND, but it never takes off until the characters come to me. I have an upcoming release, a post-apocalyptic romance yet to be announced, which started all with the hero’s character. 

Can you tell us about your latest release? My latest release is JAQ'S HARP, a futuristic retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk released in digital by Carina Press and audio by Audible.com. (more about that world, below).

In a world of floating islands and bio-engineered beans, the bad guys are taken down by agents of the Mother organization—agents like Jacqueline “Jaq” Robinson. Instead of accepting her next routine assignment, she sets out on a mission of her own—to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister’s wasting illness. Jaq must steal her cure from Giant’s headquarters high above the city…even though she’ll be brought face-to-face with Harper English, the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

For Harp, Jaq had been a distraction the mercenary thought he couldn’t afford. But once he sees her again, Harp knows he’s made a mistake. Even though she vowed he won’t have her again, it’s clear they still have a powerful attraction. Harp’s determined to get a second chance with Jaq—if they can escape Giant Corp and get back to solid ground in one piece...

What is it about your characters that made you want to tell their stories? Their uniqueness is what drives me to tell the story. That, and they’re fun! 

Can you share a few fun facts about the geographic locations where your novel takes place? The universe for JAQ'S HARP, and continued in BRAIDED SILK (coming soon) is fascinating for me to visualize.
It’s a futuristic world where the city is as large as a small continent, the smog blocks the sky, the poor and working class live on the ground, and the rich on flying islands above the smog. A spy organization, Mother, has agents who sort of police those flying islands. All that is told from the vantage point of fairy-tales of our own past, Jack and the Beanstalk and in BRAIDED SILK, Rapunzel.

What was the easiest and hardest parts about writing the book? My process might be all over the place, but the hard part is usually the same thing. It’s when there’s something about a character that isn’t working quite right. Forcing a character slows me down quite a bit.

What’s the worst writing mistake that taught you a valuable lesson? This is difficult to get into, but my worst writing mistake was in trying to make a point in a subtle way in a story and failing that miserably. It didn’t come off.
What I’ve learned is that if I want to make a point, as I frequently do is my Science Fiction Romance, then I need to just make the point and forget the subtlety. Embrace the message, or something like that.

What’s the most unusual place you have visited? I could say many things here, I think. I’ve visited caves. I went out in a swamp where the alligators roamed. I toured a military base in a behind the scenes kind of way.
I’ve been to New Zealand, which is unusual for Americans, but not so unusual, really. I loved it all.

Which book that you’ve read has made a lasting impression on you? And why? Linnea Sinclair’s GAMES OF COMMAND because the world-building is so real I felt like I was there and would love to be in that world.

Do you have a pet that keeps you company when you write? No pets, but I do have children!

If you weren’t doing what you do today, what other job would you have? I’d go back to website development. Once a geek, always a geek!

Are there any particular settings or sorts of characters you’d like to use in a future book? Cyberpunk! I've been working on a cyberpunk setting that I'd like to delve into more.

What’s next for you? What are you working on? I’m polishing up a space opera, nearly done with the Silver Bound sequel, and have about a dozen other stories on the backburner.

Do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you’d like to share with unpublished authors? Write down all your ideas, even if you think they won't work for whatever reason. You never know when that tidbit will work in a new story of its own or can add to something you're working on.

Ella, thanks for joining me here today. It's been great having you visit and thanks for sharing so much about yourself. 

Ella Drake is a dark paranormal and science fiction romance author. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog & Goodreads.

Her Science Fiction Romance, Braided Silk is coming soon. Currently available SFR: Silver Bound, Jaq’s Harp, & Firestorm on E’Terra.

And paranormal: The Forbidden Chamber, Wolf-Bitten, and Scent of Cin.


  1. Kylie, Thanks for having me for a visit!

  2. Hi Kylie, Hi Ella, Another fantastic interview introducing to yet MORE books I haven't read!

    Ella, I love how the smell of gas at the gas station can launch a story idea. That's brilliant. I'll never worry about where my ideas come from again. :-)


  3. LOL, Catherine. At this rate I'd be planning a renovation to add a library to your home for all the new books that you've discovered here! :-)

  4. Catherine, I love how ideas come to me. There's no choice but to just go with it!

  5. There's more in the Jaq's Harp world? Yay! I loved Jaq's Harp. It was so much fun.

    doxisrcool at aol dot com

  6. Anna, there is! I love the world of New Castle!

  7. Great interview and I'm looking forward to your future stories, Ella!

  8. LOL...the only thing the smell of gas has brought me is the a bad headache and the dry heaves!!!
    Lucky for you to have such a varied imagination Ella :)
    Thanks for another great interview Kylie.
    Cath (Book Chatter)

  9. Hey, everyone, thanks for dropping by to say hi to Ella (it was her birthday on 17th!!!).

    I meant to say, Ella, I love the covers you've been blessed with - the colors are striking and the content arresting (my fav. is Scent of Sin). Do you have any input into them? Does your editor ask for ideas? Have you ever requested the same artist do another cover?

  10. Thanks everyone!
    I do have some input into them. Usually I'm lucky enough to describe the characters and include images if I have them. So far, I consider myself very lucky and have gotten fabulous covers, and I have requested particular artists and sometimes I get them! (for the most part, my publishers have talented artists on staff & I've gotten incredibly lucky with who I get).