Interview with Steve Elliott

Where do you get your ideas from?
Damned if I know. When I sit in front of the computer at 3 o’clock in the morning before going to work, there isn’t a single plot idea in my head. I haven’t the foggiest what the next chapter is going to be all about. Hell, I don’t even know what the next line is going to be. I’m sure other people don’t write this way. I imagine they have the story already outlined in their head, complete with chapter and verse. I can’t do any of that. I have no idea of the ending, or even if there’s going to be an ending. It’s pretty frustrating really.
What do you want to achieve with your stories?
I want readers to laugh and cry. I want them to go away saying “That was so sad!” or “That was so funny!” Ideally, both. The stories are basically humorous love stories, full of action and emotions. People fall in and out of love. They experience betrayal and heartache. They share tender moments and crazy scenarios. And sometimes they die. Hey, it’s life.
Do you become emotionally involved with your characters?
And then some! There’s the book “Endings and Beginnings” where the main character, Kim, dies. It took ages to write the last few pages of the story because the keyboard kept blurring. Even now, when I reread that chapter, I go all misty eyed. It’s amazing how attached you can become to a fictional character.
What about your writing style?
I admit it’s somewhat eccentric. The stories are generally slanted towards a two person narration, which would probably be considered a little out of the ordinary. They tell the story from their own viewpoints. What can I say? I like to be different.
What about your story structure?
Because of my writing style, I simply keep writing the story until I run out of words, so most of the stories end up around the 25 to 35 thousand word mark, which I consider to be a nice length. Contrary to popular opinion, I think that people prefer shorter stories, not longer ones. Who has the time to read endless pages these days? Besides, the plot becomes lost if it rambles on for too long. I’m too impatient to sit through long novels.
What’s the most important factor in a story?
The characters. The reader has to identify with them. That’s why most my stories are in a series where the character’s personality grows as the stories progress. The first series is about Kim, a temper-prone martial arts master, who is seeking for her true soul mate and the adventures she stumbles into as she searches. The last ten stories or so deal with her aging from a child to an old woman; to her death and beyond. Her whole life if exposed and that’s why I became so attached to her. I’d love to meet her in real life. The second series is about fairies, elves and goblins, but it’s definitely not a children’s version. A human becomes downloaded into a fairy clone and runs around having adventures. Once again it deals with personalities and how they develop.
Are the stories R-rated at all?
Not really, although they do contain adult material. But nothing explicit. I prefer to leave that up to the reader’s imagination. However, some of the areas explored may be a tad controversial.
In the first series, Kim seems to prefer the company of women. Is that something of a cause for you?
I’ve wondered about that myself. To be honest, I was a bit surprised it turned out that way. It wasn’t deliberate. It just happened. At the time I seemed to be more comfortable writing about lesbianism than heterosexual love for some reason. Don’t ask me why. Although, to be fair, Kim does go with a few men as well. She states that she’ll accept love from any gender when it’s offered. The fairy series turned out to be more orthodox in that respect. Stephen, the human, falls in love with two female fairies. How he resolves that dilemma takes up the first few stories.
And you main wish for the stories?
To be read, of course, otherwise what’s the point? However, the act of creation is a soul-satisfying feat in itself. No matter how flawed the creation, the bringing of something that has never existed before into actuality is always a worthwhile pursuit, regardless of what it is.
Published 2013-08-31.
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