Interview with Elle Kelly

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My daughter because she wants breakfast. But really, I have a family that depends on me and friends that love me and that's enough to get anyone out of bed every morning.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I read a lot. It's basically like research. I'm always running after my daughter. I'm a choreographer for a Panamanian folkloric dance group, so 3-4 times a month I'm doing that. I love brunch (mimosa's especially), so I'll take any opportunity I can to do that. I'm a big movie buff, theater goer, and I'm starting to get into the opera.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I'm a goodreads fanatic and also bookbub. They are great apps to find new books by new authors and they are always on a discount on bookbub.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do. It was about a man that has a near death experience and goes to heaven to meet his guardian angel. When he gets there, he's surprised that there's no clouds or fat little cherubs running around. Heaven is run like a corporation and he has to gain perspective on his life in order to go back to it.

It was a cute story; undeveloped, but cute, none the less. Maybe I'll revisit that story one day.
What is your writing process?
My ideas come to me at random times. I can overhear a conversation or hear someone's name and a story will just pop into my head. Sometimes they're good and sometimes, not so much. I always outline. I know a lot of writers say that it boxes them in, but for me I think it gives me a structure that I can adhere to. It makes me evaluate the pace, the plot, and the characters on a whole. It works for me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, but there are a few stories that have stuck with me through the years. I read one once about a World's Fair and a flying apple or a pancake or something. I wish I could remember the name of the book, but it's lost in my memory forever.

My favorite series was Goosebumps by R.L. Stine when I was younger. I had every single book and I would go through about two books a week. I almost put my mom in the poor house with my obsession with reading.

One of my favorite books of all time is A Tale of Two Cities because it's the first book I ever really had to dive into and read between the lines.

But I think the one book that has always stuck with me is Where the Sidewalk Ends. The poem, Listen to the Mustn'ts, gives me life every time I read it. It's inspiring and pushes me farther than I thought I could ever go.
How do you approach cover design?
I've never been a fan of books that have people on it. I don't like to be told what the character should look like. When I'm reading, I like to imagine what they look like on my own and I think putting a person on the cover that looks like the main character deprives me of my right to imagine them in my own mind.
So when it comes to my own cover design, I like it very simple with clean graphics that communicate the general tone of the book more so than the plot.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. Tale of Two Cities - because it forces me to read between the lines and it's true literary fiction. #CareerGoals
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - because it's Harry Potter and I'm team Gryffindor.
3. Where the Sidewalk Ends - because as a child it was wonderful and as an adult it's even better.
4. The Hunger Games - this one should be obvious
5. Tuck Everlasting - it's a beautiful story that makes you ponder your life and its meaning.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'll read anything for pleasure. Reading is an escape for me; it always has been. Even if it's as short as a paragraph, for that little bit of time you are transported into another mind frame and world. It's like traveling, only much cheaper.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle on my phone. When I'm standing in line at a store or just waiting on my food or my friends, I'll open it up and read a couple of pages. I find that it's much more productive than playing Cookie Jam or Candy Crush.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth is definitely key for me. My first book's title, Men & Women Can't Be Friends, always starts a debate and I've had people buy it just to see what it's about. Facebook is key, Twitter is good, Goodreads, and book blogs are really good marketing tools as well.
Describe your desk
Chaos. I don't like to sit at a desk and write. Most of the time, I'm sitting on my couch with my daughter running around me while I'm writing. I hate silence, so the T.V. is always on or music is playing. My focus is intense and I can tune any and everything out if I have to.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Houston, Texas and I still live here today. My parents are Panamanian, so I come from a big Afro-Latino family. Almost everyone in my family has gone to college and has a degree. Education is really big to my family, so reading has always been a big deal to them. They love the fact that I write and they are always bragging on me. I'm really lucky to have such a great and supportive family.
Published 2016-04-08.
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