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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Author Spotlight: Eliott McKay

Eliott McKay has lived in ten different countries on three continents over the past five years and uses her suitcase as a dresser. She has a great love of learning, enjoys spending time with friends and family, and travels light, viewing excess as a burden. Her favorite place on earth is riding through the vineyards in the south of France on her bicycle. She comes from a large family, holds the reigning title of favorite aunt to several nieces and nephews, and sees value in every person she meets. Adventure finds her wherever she goes, particularly in the books she reads and writes, and her self-acclaimed mission in life is to: “Spread joy everywhere!”

Eliott, recently, took time out of her busy schedule to let me interview her.

Firstly, when did you realize that you were a writer?

When a relation of mine told me I had some talent. That encouragement took hold and affirmed what I somehow already knew: that I could write and learn to do it well.
Do you have a specific writing style?

I recently heard my writing described as, “Charming and sleuthful with a piquant dash.” — I think I’ll go with that one.

Can you tell me a little about the current projects you are working on and at what stage they will be finished?

Midnight Engagement is my first published work. I wanted to write a heroine with a superpower, I just wasn’t sure which one to pick; the choice of vampire was purely a marketing decision. I think people are really going to enjoy it.
I recently finished another book, a revenge story, which I imagine is rather delectable.

 Is there a specific genre you prefer to write, and if so what is it and why?

Everything I write hinges around the great inamorato itself: love.

When did you start playing with the idea of writing a novel and what inspired it?

I was sent to North Dakota for my job as a tax auditor one summer and found myself in the deep clutches of dead monotony. The entertainment roster was anemic at best. I visited the world’s largest statue of a bovine — a Holstein that stands at eighteen feet — and aside from the Lewis and Clark sunset river expedition, which was no more than a quick ferry ride, there wasn’t much else to do, so I sat down and started writing and I never stopped.

How hard has the journey been — both emotionally and mentally, on yourself as a writer?

No doubt, it’s an up and down process. The trick is to keep honing your craft and believing in yourself, one paragraph at a time. The original draft of Midnight Engagement was edging nearly eight hundred pages. Whittling that down was a painful process of operable proportions. All you can do is move forward and hope for the best and be grateful for all the people and blessings that made it possible.

Can you tell me what you've learnt so far?

Crafting is everything. Every part of the story is equally important. Deliberating over the right word gives your voice inimitability and pays dividends in terms of quality. Stephen King says the first million words are just practice… thank goodness!

Some writers prefer to write in the morning, locked away in the study, others at night. What is your own writing process and are there certain quirks you have developed that are uniquely you?

I have two rules:

I once had the opportunity to be critiqued at a writer’s conference by the great and amazing Julianna Baggott. I’ll never forget her first words to our group, in this arcane voice: “Be not vaguely bitter.” It’s advice I have taken to heart and applied to other emotions as well.

An editor of mine once gave me a command of matchless wisdom: “Thou shall eat as many cookies as necessary while editing.” I adhere strictly to this practice.

Which writers inspire you?

Every writer inspires me — the good and the bad, subjectively speaking, of course. It’s part of my job to read what’s out there with a careful eye, aimed at developing technique. Koontz is amazing, how he’s brave enough to write an entire chapter in the present tense, or turn one word into a whole sentence. Genius! If I’m not continually learning and improving, my own work suffers.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging when writing — Research, psychological, literary, etc.?

I just love to write and take great pleasure in re-crafting what I’ve already written. It’s like adding a spoonful of happiness to a pot of joy. The toughest part for me is being rushed. Stewing is just as vital to the process as the actual writing itself — so long as I’m actually building something in my mind. It’s architectural grammarianship, and I find it quietly exhilarating.

In your opinion what makes a book worth reading?

A book that makes me forget I am reading it.

As a writer, the changes to technology have both opened and closed a number of literary doors. What do you think are both the good and bad points of the introduction of e-books?

It’s definitely a volatile time to enter the marketplace, as the rules seem to change daily. I stick to the practice that if I put my attention into producing quality work, the rest will sort itself out.

And lastly, where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

“Spreading Joy, Writing Books,” as is my personal mantra.

Thank you for having me, Nina! You are wonderful!

Eliott's book, Midnight Engagement is now available at Amazon.

Want to find out more about Eliott? Check her out on:


1 comment:

  1. I follow Eliott's blog, and she's a wonderful person as well as a skilled writer. Anyone who reads Midnight Engagement will appreciate her talent.


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