Interview with Danielle Ellison

Danielle Ellison is a nomad, a lover of make-believe, and a bit of coffee snob. Always on the lookout for an adventure and the next story, she has had more zip codes and jobs than she can count.

In addition to writing, she’s the founder of the NoVa TEEN Book Festival in Virginia and a teen librarian. When she’s not busy with books, she’s probably watching her favorite shows, drinking coffee, or fighting her nomadic urges.

She is settled in Georgia (for now) with her cat, Simon, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?

Honestly, they each have a special place in my heart. Besides the newest one, which is probably my favorite – I’d say Days Like This. I worked really hard on that one. Or Salt because it was the first one I published.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

Oh goodness, my first book is in the proverbial closet forever and it will remain there. I learned a lot from that book. Parts of it have been reshaped into other stories that I’ve written, but I’ve never really gone back to it. I don’t think I would now either. While that was a fun story, I’ve grown as a writer and I’d rather move forward instead of going back. Sorry, first book.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

It varies. Some stories take longer than others. The Sweetheart Sham was started two years ago, then shelved, then taken out and written with my editor. Other books, some published and not, have moved much, much faster and some longer. Unless I’m on a deadline, I try not to stress myself with writing in a certain timeframe. I don’t go seeking inspiration or any of that because I write characters, so as long as they are there, I’m writing them.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

I write on the computer. It’s just easier for me. Sometimes I will venture into a notebook, but then it’s always typed up. I’m not really sure on the one place thing. I can write anywhere, I think. I do like having a go-to place, and when I lived in Georgia I had that. But here in Oklahoma, I don’t have that yet, but I only moved recently so I’m hoping to find it with my new routine.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

My beta readers are always my agent and typically a friend or two, depending on the story and the kind of feedback I need. I have a beta reader, Traci, who reads EVERY book as I write it. We started that a couple years ago and now she can’t get away from me. She used to be a book blogger, and then when I was an editor at a small press, she was one of my editing interns. One day I asked her for an opinion on one of my stories, and ever since then she’s been one of my first sets of eyes. It’s great to have someone to talk to while drafting. I am very lucky.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I love bookstores. I was a bookseller for years and years, so bookstores hold a special place in my heart. I think indie stores, especially, are filled with passionate staffers and readers. My favorite bookshop is One More Page Books in Arlington, VA: great selection, atmosphere, awesome staff. (But I’m biased.)

That said, I love e-books too. I think there’s enough room in the world for both!

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from:

  1. childhood? 

Goosebumps. Hands down. Those were my jam.

  1. adolescence? 

VC Andrews – I read the first one  in 5th grade (the Orphan girls/Runaways series)—and Lurlene McDaniel. I thought all books ended sadly.

  1. young adult? 

Harry Potter. I was a teen in love.

  1. adult?

YA books, the whole genre really.

 Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. If you manage your own profile, please tell me as much as you are comfortable with in regards to your preferred platform and an estimate of time you spend doing it [and whether you like doing it!]

I use twitter and instagram, and I have an author facebook, but I’m not as good about it as I want to be. I love using it because it’s an instant connection with readers and other writers. That’s the best part for me. I get why people don’t like it. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re shouting into the void, but if you shout enough then someone will hear you. It’s changed a lot the last two years, so I’m still figuring it all out for the current climate of things. As far as how much time I spend, probably not enough.

About The Sweetheart Sham:

In a small town like Culler, South Carolina, you guard your secrets like you guard your cobbler recipe: with your life. Georgia Ann Monroe knows a thing or two about secrets: she’s been guarding the truth that her best friend Will is gay for years now. But what happens when a little white lie to protect him gets her into a fake relationship…and then the boy of her dreams shows up?

Enter Beau Montgomery: Georgie’s first love, hotter than ever, and much too much of a southern gentleman to ever pursue someone else’s girl. There’s no way to come clean to Beau while still protecting Will. But bless their hearts, they live in Culler—where secrets always have a way of revealing themselves.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hilarious “fakeship,” a scorching-hot impossible relationship, and a heartwarming best-friendship that will make you want to call your best friend right here, right now.

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