Interview with Erin Gitchell

Describe your desk
Corner white desk with a "nook-ish" feel. Large monitor, quiet keyboard, my lucky green lamp, and my writing buddy--a lump of clay with deep, soulless eyes.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Kansas, spent my first year of life in Iowa, spent the next twelve years in Minnesota, followed by nine years in a different part of Iowa, and I'm now living in Wisconsin. This Midwest has offered some great inspiration for settings, but it's also allowed my imagination to flourish.
When did you first start writing?
I started my first fantasy "novel" at age twelve, and intend to finish it some day. I've been keeping a journal since age ten.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I was in grad school, doing some homework for my 511 Metadata class, when I got the urge to open up a new document and start writing about a girl who was transformed into a horse by a crazy sorcerer. The story was just there all of a sudden, and it was really exciting! That was during January or February 2011. It took a few years to get the rest of the story out, and thankfully I had some help along the way.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I would think "rejection" is the most common answer here for us indie authors, and if I'm honest, rejection is part of my personal motivation. To clarify, I mean rejection by agents and therefore rejection by publishers. The other part is determination to do it myself to prove that I can. And there's also a small part that enjoys being in (almost) complete control of the entire process (cue maniacal laughter). It's been a very liberating and empowering experience, but also quite humbling.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I don't know yet, but I'm very excited about the greatly expanded distribution!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being transported to a world of my own. It's work, to be sure, but it's also an escape. It's wonderful to overcome obstacles that I (or "society") have placed in front of my path to creativity and realize (again), "Hey, I'm the author! I get to decide what goes on here." I'm learning to break rules and challenge thought processes.
What are you working on next?
A sequel to "The Feast" as well as three other projects. My stories are very different so it's easy for me to multitask, and it keeps what I'm currently working on fresh. Being an indie author means I work on my own schedule and meet my own deadlines, which, in turn, means I can let my creativity guide me. It's great!
Who are your favorite authors?
Robin McKinley, George R. R. Martin, Juliet Marillier, Tamora Pierce, J. K. Rowling, Garth Nix.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My first favorite book (and it's still #1) is "Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine. I was just floored by the author's interpretation of the Cinderella fairy tale and the rich cultural details that gave the story much more depth and meaning for me than the Disney movie every did. My favorite part of the story, which still inspires me today, is that Ella saved herself (AND the prince in doing so).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Family, work (library), walks and other activities outside when it is not Eternal Winter, occasional video games, Netflix....I used to read a lot but now I write instead! I am working on reading more and have taken to graphic novels to help tide me over in the mean time.
Published 2014-08-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.