This morning on Make-believe Mondays I'd like to introduce you to Elle James. I met Elle through my friend Susan and we had a blast at the RT convention last year. Elle and I are kindred spirits in that we both love to dance. Elle won the Golden Heart for paranormal romance in 2004 with To Kiss A Frog and sold it to Dorchester, launching her career. Since then she has sold to Harlequin Intrigue and has several books coming out.
Elle, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
Elle: I’m working LAKOTA BABY for Harlequin Intrigue. It’s set on a fictitious Lakota Indian reservation in South Dakota and is about a woman who’s baby is stolen and held for ransom and how she and his father find him. I’ve finished the rough draft and hope to complete revisions by the end of February!
A stolen baby! Now that's intriguing.
Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?
Elle: I get with my sister and my other writer friends online or in person to brainstorm and just talk about writing. There’s nothing more uplifting to an author than to talk about writing with others who “understand”.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Elle: That point is when I put my fingers on the keyboard. I don’t have conversations in my head between them until I apply myself to actually writing the story. Then it gets fun!
Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?
Elle: I wrote a futuristic romance where my heroine was from another planet. I made up a curse word for her to use and you knew it was a curse word based on how she used it. Nothing too hard to pronounce, though or you lose your reader!
For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?
Elle: No. I’m one of those “force it out” authors. I have to concentrate completely on my story ideas before they come to me. No music, no distractions, just story.
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Elle: Wrinkle In Time and anything by Dr. Suess! I used to read short science fiction books as well about mutant people. I loved to escape into other worlds.
If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?
Elle: I like what I’m writing now. I would like to do more romantic comedies because I have such fun with quirky characters and impossible situations. And I love paranormal and want to do more in that genre as well.
I'm glad to hear that, because I very much enjoyed reading To Kiss A Frog.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?
Elle: Not everyone has ideas popping out of their heads at all crazy hours of the morning and night, and that’s not a bad thing. I used to think, I’ll never be able to come up with a continuous stream of ideas, but I was soooo wrong. I have enough book ideas to keep me writing for the next 300 years. It’s like a muscle. Once you start make stuff up, it’s hard to quit!
Watch for my Harlequin Intrigues coming out this year!
BENEATH THE TEXAS MOON in March 2006 – paranormal and RT TOP PICK for Mar
DAKOTA MELTDOWN – Aug 2006
LAKOTA BABY – Dec 2006
You can learn more at www.ellejames.com. Elle, thanks for visiting with us here on Make-believe Mondays!