Interview with Elizabeth Audrey Mills

Why do you write?
Imagine you are blowing up a balloon. It gets bigger and bigger, and if you don't release the pressure -or stop blowing- it will burst. Well, my head fills up like that (yes, with hot air, if you insist on continuing the analogy) and would explode if I couldn't let some of it out in the form of writing. It could be messy.
What inspired you to start writing?
Oh, gosh, it started so long ago I can't remember. I seem to have always been writing little pieces – essays, ideas, poems – ever since my school-days, although I didn't take the plunge into novel-writing until later in life. When I did finally try to put together my first book, I found I was floundering in the research, and was becoming disheartened. Fortunately, I met Bernadine Evaristo, a talented writer who came to our local library to talk about the writing process. Her advice gave me the confidence to continue.
Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?
Well, I seem to have fallen into writing historical adventures quite by accident. My character, Natalie Tereshchenko, was born from the name of my avatar in the online virtual world Second Life, and I conceived the idea to create a romantic past for her; that is how my writing career started. However, I don't intend to restrict myself to this genre, and have already written a novelette for pre-teens - a kind of science fantasy, set in modern times. I hope to explore other avenues as I develop as a writer.
Who is your favourite author?
I have several - each has a distinctive style, but what they have in common is that they write well: Marian Keyes, Sarah Waters, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Jane Austin, Gabrielle Kimm. All have influenced my work in some way; I have learnt something from each of them.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It was through Smashwords that I published my first book, and gained the confidence to expand through other media.
What is the most interesting lesson you’ve learnt about yourself through your writing?
That I can do it. Honestly. This is the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken (and I have tackled some big things in my life) so to see it through, learning as I went, has been a wonderful experience.
Which writing achievement are you most proud of?
I received a review for one of my books from Lauren Scharhag, a gifted author whom I admire greatly. In it, she showed that she had understood my characters and the way I had developed the story. To me, to have made that connection with a reader was immensely gratifying.
What has been the hardest book for you to write?
Natalie Tereshchenko, Lady in Waiting … much of the narrative was controlled by the historical time-line and the known facts (see the next question, about research), and sustaining the tension over a prolonged period was a challenge. Oddly enough, when I was released from those constraints, when the Tsar and his family were assassinated, I was lost for a while, unsure of my ability to create an alternative history. Consequently, the book lay unfinished, while I wrote what became my first published work, 'A Song for Joey'. After that was released, I returned to Natalie, read it through from the start, to refresh my memory, and found that my mind was filled with ideas, including the astonishing ending.
Do your books require much research?
Writing my first book involved a huge amount of research. It is set in Russia (a country I knew nothing about when I started) in a period of history of which I was completely ignorant. I researched for three months before I could start actually writing, and was continually checking historical records, maps and books (I read most of Leon Trotsky's 'History of the Russian Revolution') as the story progressed. Several times I was forced to change parts of the book (sometimes drastically) as new facts emerged. The same still applies, as I write the sequel.
Even the more familiar situation for 'A Song For Joey' involved an enormous amount of fact-checking. I wrote the book as a rest from the intense research for 'Natalie Tereshchenko', and set it in a place and time with which I had some experience, but even so I had to look up a lot of historical detail.
Is there a new book coming?
Yes, two, in fact. I am writing the second book in the Tapestry Capricorn series, and a sequel to 'Natalie Tereshchenko, Lady in Waiting' is well under way. I hope to have the Tapestry story completed in time for Christmas, and the Natalie sequel should be released early in 2014. I love both these characters, and hope I will be writing about them both for a long time to come.
Published 2013-11-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Natalie Tereshchenko - The Other Side
Series: Natalie Tereshchenko, Book Two. Price: Free! Words: 64,680. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Victorian, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical
(5.00)
They wanted her to become the new Tsarina, but Natalie had other plans. Now she finds herself in the heart of the Kremlin, trying to hide her true identity. In this sequel to ‘Lady In Waiting’ the tension explodes into terrifying action. All protection lost, and deceived by her own mother, Natalie must again cross Russia searching for her beloved Max, relentlessly pursued by unknown assassins
A Song For Joey
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 93,520. Language: English. Published: September 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Drama, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical
(5.00)
When your father has deserted you, and your mother died giving birth to you, when you are homeless, drugged and beaten, and someone is out to kill you, the best person to have beside you could be the ghost of a boy who once loved you.