Bio: Elle Todd is the author of the young adult series, Allison’s Story. An avid reader and compulsive writer, she divides her time between family, home, work, and writing.
Elle lives in Ohio with…eleven million other people.
What all have you written?: I have two novels published: The Elect, and The Vanguard–books one and two of my YA series, Allison’s Story.
Where can we buy or see them?: The Elect is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Currently, The Vanguard is only available on Amazon.
Tell us a little bit about your main character: Allison Noble is shy, cynical, and cautious to the point of being irrational. When she stumbles upon a group of boys playing with fire, her neurosis kicks into high gear. It is with reluctance that she allows herself to be drawn into their world, and with both fear and fascination that she uncovers the secrets everyone in her life has been hiding.
What are you working on at the minute?: The Core
What is it about?: This is the third book in Allison’s Story.
What genre are your books?: Young Adult (Paranormal)
What draws you to this genre?: I’ve been reading YA since before I was a young adult, lol. From The Hunger Games to The Jessica Darling Series, this genre offers a world of options for readers of any age…and a certain freedom for writers. The rules that apply (at times rigidly) to certain genres don’t seem to here. For example, the first YA romance I read did not end with a HEA. After years of consuming traditional romance novels, I was both shocked and intrigued. I ordered the author’s entire backlist and began to really acquaint myself with this new territory. Since then, 95% of what I read would be categorized as young adult.
Do you have to do research for your books?: Oh, yeah. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent on research. You never know how little you know until you try to write a novel!
When did you decide to become a writer?: I’ve been writing since I was about six. It was never really a decision. No matter what I was doing with my life at the time, I’ve always had a set of characters writing their own dialogue in my head.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?: Oh, I aim…but I rarely hit the target.
Do you work on an outline or plot before you start writing?: I’ve written with an outline and without. Sometimes I know exactly where a story is going and sometimes I’m jumping off the cliff.
What is the hardest thing about writing?: Editing.
What is the easiest thing about writing?: The first draft.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?: From those first words to the finished product, about six months on average.
Do you edit your book right after you finish or let it sit for awhile?: Both. As I write the first draft, I’m acutely aware that it isn’t perfect. Once I’ve typed the last word, I go back to the beginning to edit. After I’m satisfied, I’ll let it sit awhile. Then I edit again.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?: I’ve worked with several editors in the past, to varying degrees of success. I’m happiest with the editing I’ve gotten from an old professor of mine. He would balk at the title, but he finds issues no one else ever did–and isn’t afraid to tell me when something needs cut.
How are you publishing this book and why?: I chose self-publishing after a score of agents told me the market was already too full to accommodate another YA paranormal series. Though I received compliments on my skill, their suggestions were to write something else. I felt (and still do) that Allison’s Story deserves a chance to find an audience.
How do you market your books?: I’m terrible at marketing. Aside from querying bloggers, and the occasional free promo, I’m still trying to learn the ropes in that respect. Why don’t we go with “N/A” here…
What do you do to get book reviews?: Book reviews are very hard to come by. I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime, and I might’ve written five reviews. I never thought much about that until I started the publishing process and realized how valuable they are–both to authors and other readers.
When someone sends me an email telling me how much they loved the book (or didn’t), I ask them if they wouldn’t mind writing a review. Sometimes they do, sometimes not. It takes time and effort to create a well-crafted review. A lot of people don’t want to go to the trouble. I understand that, and try not to be pushy.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?: Write. It’s as simple as that. If you have a story you need to tell, write it! Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a waste of time, or that you aren’t cut out for it. Writing is a craft that takes patience and skill–which can be learned. Try not to get hung up on technicalities during the first draft. It’s supposed to be sloppy. Editing is for after the completion of your idea, to refine your story. Read as much as you possibly can, write what you’re compelled to write, polish until you’re satisfied with every single sentence…then hire a professional editor before you put it out there.
I would like to thank Elle for her time in completing the interview. Stay tuned for my review of The Elect coming in the very near future.