Interview with Ellen Behrens

Published 2017-07-17.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My husband and I are full-time RVers, traveling the US in our RV, so often when we get out of bed and look out the window we're looking at something different than we did the day or week or month before. Today it's a gorgeous bay off the Oregon coast. Next week? The mountains! Every day is a new adventure -- which is great inspiration for getting out of bed.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Hiking, bicycling, taking photos... reading... life is full of amazing adventures, if we're just paying attention (get that nose off the smart phone screen!!!)
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I subscribe to a few alert sites, plus I follow authors I enjoy reading. Sometimes I've read an interview or review of a book and I hunt down the e-book. So much good stuff to read -- so little time!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! I might still have it. I was six and it was called "Harold," about a boy who wanted to play baseball. Talk about writing from the imagination -- what did I know about boys or baseball at six years old?
What is your writing process?
Think. Draft. Think some more. Draft some more. Polish a bit. Revise. Think. Read. Over and over until I think it might be done. Then I do more revising and polishing and eventually decide it's ready to publish. Of course I realize it's not really ready yet, so I do more revising and rewriting and editing. In between I keep myself sane by doing other writing, designing covers, and taking a lot of photos.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Too many to remember the first. Fortunately I came from a family of readers. I do remember a story from the library I read over and over. It was called The Upside Down Town (or something like that) about a place where everything was the opposite of what we know -- things were upside down, but so were roles (kids went to work and parents stayed home). It made me realize stories could do a lot of things the real world cannot, and make us view things in ways we don't always see them.
How do you approach cover design?
The RVing Alphabet cover went through a few early drafts (like the writing!) -- but I landed on a drawn graphic rather than the photos I use for my novels because the book seems more informal, more casual.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read mysteries (I've just discovered Julia Keller, whose Bell Elkins mysteries, set in West Virginia, are the best written books I've read in a long time) and nonfiction (currently reading "The Summer of 1787" about the writing of the US Constitution), and I've frequently got my nose in local newspapers and brochures so we can scout out places to visit and restaurants to try.
Describe your desk
Right now my desk is one half of a dinette in a Class C motorhome (my sweetheart hubby has the other half). The view out the window changes all the time -- right now a stunning view of a bay off the Oregon coast. Sometimes it's hard to stay focused on the laptop monitor with all the cool stuff to see. I print very little because of our limited RV space (about 200 square feet!) and carry few books (though I've figured out how to tuck them into oddball places).
What's the story behind your latest book?
My husband and I have been full-time RVers for more than eight years, and along the way we've seen a lot, experienced amazing things, so I've got a lot of things stored up in me. The RVing Alphabet is about things I didn't see discussed in other RV books or blogs -- and touches on some of the questions people ask about our lifestyle -- "How do you get your mail?" "Why do you use special toilet paper?" It's not a vacation, it's a lifestyle, and I wanted to help people understand the difference.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My first novel (and first published book) was traditionally published. It was a great experience -- got reviewed in the New York Times Book Review, Publisher's Weekly, and those places... did interviews and readings and signings... but living on the road in our RV has meant I can't -- and don't want to be -- tied to some publisher's timeline. I want to be able to do things on my schedule, my way, and self-publishing allows me to do that. I'm glad I had the traditional publishing experience, because it's helped me make some of the decisions I've made since.
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Books by This Author

Fiction Tips
Price: Free! Words: 7,100. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
(5.00 from 1 review)
Fourteen brief articles covering topics from characterization to the importance of smooth transitions between scenes, all from award-winning novelist Ellen Behrens. She draws on her many years of writing and editing experience to focus on common issues facing beginning fiction writers.
RVing Alphabet
Price: Free! Words: 17,080. Language: English. Published: July 17, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Camping & RVing
(3.00 from 1 review)
Ever hear someone say they're a "full-time RVer" and wonder what that's like? Maybe you dream about ditching your sticks-and-bricks house and taking to the open road yourself in a recreational vehicle. In her ninth year as a full-timer, Ellen Behrens shares some insights on the RVing lifestyle -- on topics not often covered in other places, all from A to Z.