Interview with Elvira Drake

What is your writing process?
It can start in a number of different ways. Sometimes I come up with a title that I think is catchy or interesting and work around it (brainstorm) and see what I come up with. Other times I might have a character sketch. I ask what happens to the character? Why? How? When? Who? Sometimes I see a powerful scene in my head and build a story around it. It can also start with a dream ( I have many bizarre dreams.) So for me, dreams can turn out to be a free writing prompt!
I don't have a set-in-stone process of writing. Maybe that's what makes writing so interesting for me.
How do you approach cover design?
I've always designed my own cover. They don't look fancy but they don't look horrible either. I just re-did all of my book overs so they all feature my repeat patterns. They look more uniform (ie. You can tell that these books are all from the same person.)
Who are your favorite authors?
Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Sylvia Plath, Edward Gorey, Christoper Isherwood, Dr. Suess, Stephen King
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - Nabokov is one of my favorite writers and he is clever with words. In Lolita, he can make you feel sorry for a criminal!
2. The Trial by Franz Kafka - Kafka has a huge influence on me. Many of my stories are what you might call "Kafkaeque."
3. The Journals of Sylvia Plath - Gah! Even her journals are well-written!
4. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender - Very visual and absurd. You just have to read it to see what I mean.
5. The Stranger by Albert Camus - I read this in the summer before high school and I really felt an affinity with this book. I'm not sure why...
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy short stories, books on writing/publishing (how to, nonfiction guide), conspiracy-related books, books about classic actors/actresses (Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Marlon Brando, etc.)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My Kindle has finally stopped working but I was able to sell it back to Amazon for $30, if I remember correctly. Well, the only problem was it could no longer connect to the internet. But now I have an RCA Android tablet and use their Kindle app. I also occasionally read e-books on my computer.
Describe your desk
I have a tiny (and ancient) metallic blue Acer Aspire One connected (HDMI) to a larger Acer flat-screen monitor. There's the usual clutter: random pens I am too lazy to put back into the pen/pencil holder which is a mere few inches to the back left of my netbook, post-it notes everywhere, stacks of notes, 4 remote controls, herbal supplement bottles and a mug full of coffee.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in elementary school. My writing consisted mostly of horror stories (ghost stories), thrillers and mysteries. I was really into the paranormal. I say was... but I still am. I was reading a lot of R. L. Stine's Goosebumps and Fear Street books and watching all the scary TV shows and movies back in the day. Luckily my parents didn't try to stop me!
I started out writing things out longhand. Then my dad gave me his electric typewriter, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then we got our first computer. We've come a long way since then!
What motivated you to become an author?
I've always known that I was born to work in the Arts. Growing up, friends and family would tell me they enjoy my (sometimes strange) stories and tell me that I was unique so I thought: why not put the stories down and share them with the world?
What are you working on next?
I'm putting the finishing touches on a short story called "Stabbed in the Head by a Chinese Man." It's definitely a bizarro fiction piece! The story actually started as a strange dream I had. I love getting story ideas from dreams.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Tokyo, Japan and I remember hearing a lot of ghost stories and even bizarre, gory news stories. These really got me interested in all things scary and bizarre.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to watch movies, and of course reading. I also like to listen to the radio. Radio is great. Not so much the music stations but the late night talk shows on strange topics like alien abductions, mind control, bigfoot, etc.
I also am a crafter (ie. I make crafts). I like to crochet and I recently learned to knit. I can also sew. I've been painting and drawing since I was young (well, I guess most of us have but I stuck with it!)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think completing a piece and reading over it. I guess, deciding that the work really is complete. That it's the best that it can be and ready to be read by the public.
Published 2016-08-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Anthony Miller
Price: Free! Words: 1,670. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy, Fiction » Literature » Literary
Anthony Miller, divorced with two teenage kids, is an unassuming office worker. So no one expects the man threatening to jump off the top of a high rise building is him!
Price: Free! Words: 1,670. Language: English. Published: June 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Lori muses about birds, her birds, as her nagging psychiatrist pushes for further explanation.
A Stranger at the Monastery
Price: Free! Words: 3,900. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
A strange, old woman appears at a secluded monastery in Wyoming with a message for the man in charge, Bishop Kallistos Stavros. This self-professed oracle tells him that God told her to warn him of a great fireball falling from the sky... onto his monastery! She warns of Satan coming in disguise. Things are not as they seem.
Petunia and Sir Alfred
Price: Free! Words: 4,790. Language: English. Published: June 9, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical, Fiction » Coming of age
Al, a janitor at Lakeview Asylum, never noticed Petunia, a young schizophrenic patient, until Nurse Kathy nudges him into socializing with her. Little does he know he will get pulled into Petunia's bizarre metaphysical world. She claims to be a prophetess, filling one notebook after another with frantic scribbles. Intrigued by her strange religion, he becomes a neophyte initiate.
Project Spiralbound
Price: Free! Words: 8,940. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
John Mortenson, a poor student at an Ivy League university trying to make some easy money gets trapped in a bizarre psychological experiment. (This story was inspired by the true story of Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, and the mind control experiments he was subjected to as a young Harvard student.)
Fire Boy
Price: Free! Words: 5,430. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological, Fiction » Coming of age
Fire Boy is a short story about Jeremy Scott, a thirteen-year-old, bed-wetting pyromaniac with a grim home life and an awkward social life. What can become of such a sad creature?