Interview with E.L. Harris

What's the story behind your latest book?
The Aestrah Cycle came about as the result of two non-related incidents. The first was my involvement with the Houston Esoteric Center (now defunct) and an Akashic Reading from founder William David. Somehow this reading opened up dim memories of past lives which eventually took on a life of their own. The second incident was a series of trips to South America where I came in contact with the Uros and Auca Indians. From them came the legend of Las Madres del Sombra, a whispered story that obviously originated from the Inca's. These two things eventually framed Aestrah, along with the miserable state of women's affairs all around the world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've been hammering away at fiction for over 35 years. During the 1980's I had connected with a literary agent, had a book accepted, sent to an editor who gave me a wonderful edit, but by the time I had finished the rewrite, my editor had left the profession to become a lawyer. After that, the publishing wars began, with the majors eating up the minors and hard-line genre's became the norm. I had submitted Aestrah to several agents and publishers, but the book, while well received, never truly fit into a genre (wasn't really Fantasy, Science Fiction, etc.). I even submitted it to feminist publishers under my wife's name, but had the same result. As time passed, I felt this book needed to be published; thusly making me an Indie author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to translate the places and people I've met into a compelling story. I'm currently rewriting a novel set in the Galapagos Islands in to 1970's. My wife and I lived on Santa Cruz Island for six months (she had previously run a yacht charter on the island for two years) and the people I met were as truly unique as the islands themselves. I started writing the Galapagos book while on Santa Cruz using an electric typewriter, even though electricity was parsed out only a few hours a day, and never at the same time. A friend gave me a plug-in buzzer that would go off whenever the power came on - night or day - and that's when I would write. What a joy!
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans equate to success or failure. Fans give me guidance and an insight into what I'm doing right and wrong. Without criticism and comment, writing isn't satisfying. I would like the think the folks who have read my work and given me input have become a part of my creative process. Having been a free-lance business writer for 40 years, you always get paid for what you write, i.e. satisfaction. Being a novelist is a different beast altogether. We live and die not only by the number of sales, but also by the time our fans invest in giving us input. Without fans, why write?
What are you working on next?
Working title is "So SImple A Name As Eden", an action/adventure/romance set in the Galapagos Island, circa late 1970. I'm combining the fictional life story of an old friend who was one of the original colonist's of Santa Cruz Island; a female Ecuadorian doctor American-educated but sent to Galapagos to work at the only functioning hospital in the island; and a bizarre, psychotic vulcanologist with a blood lust for women. My original manuscript was heavy into prose and, after editorial comment, I have to agree, weighed the book down (original mss was over 500 pages). I'm now honing it down, which is painful, but probably necessary. Stay tuned.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Obviously, computers are important. My earliest manuscripts were hand written. Then I switched to manual typewriters; later to electric typewriters. Computers have freed up a lot of time, so I became involved in home renovation. Working with my hands gives my brain time to rest; time to consider the next page while actually accomplishing something. Beyond this, I try my best to read what's current (thanks to my sister, Donna, an avid reader who shares her latest finds with me). My wife, a professional artist for the past 30 years, is also a wonderful distraction (and handy to have around for book cover designs!).
What is your writing process?
Oddly, I do not write from an outline. I try to build my novels around the characters, find a flow into which they can effectively interact, then develop a theme and plot. I generally know where the book is going without the need for written mileposts. Once I have plowed through the writing process, the editing begins. This is where continuity is developed. Computer programs now make it so simple to move whole sections around, I have found the need for outlines to be redundant. My chief concern other than plot and character development, is pacing. I want to make the reader turn the page. While editing is tedious, if I get bored reading a second or third draft, I know something has to be fixed.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
For my generation it was Ernest Hemingway. While I was a reader at an early age, most of it was sci-fi. During high school it was Hemingway. I think I fell in love with his dialogue more than anything else. I also learned it was not important to totally nail down what a particular character looked like, but rather to use dialogue that allowed the reader to find a comfortable image of the character in their own mind. Fast forward to Cormac McCarthy. The absolute simplicity of the English language as written by McCarthy to create imagery is magnificent.
Describe your desk
Simple. Mac OS-X. Stapler. Small fan. A window looking out over the low-rolling hills and mountains of northern New Mexico. A thesaurus, Chicago stylebook. Print-outs my wife has hung on the wall, along with some of her paintings. "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." Amen!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Kansas, which, I believe had no influence on my writing, other than to give me the desire to be somewhere else. Oddly enough, while in Kansas, I wrote poetry, a lot of it having to do with the sea. Perhaps being brought up amidst the wheat fields of southern Kansas catapulted me outward. As a free-lance writer, I have traveled the world, enriched by the people, places and things I have seen. Perhaps Kansas taught me to look beyond what is in front of me and see a larger picture.
How has travel affected your writing?
"Wings of the Fly" would never have been written had I not spent time in South America. Several trips back and forth led to numerous interviews with some pretty dangerous characters. Hours of cassette tape recordings from Peru, Bolivia and Columbia gave me a tremendous amount of inside information into the notorious cartels. Similarly, all of my other books, including "The Aestrah Cycle" and others yet to come, can be attributed to my travels.
Published 2014-07-04.
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Books by This Author

The Aestrah Cycle
Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 65,190. Language: English. Published: July 2, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Inspirational
Since recorded history began with ciphers etched into stone, no viable records exist of an actual matriarchal-dominant society. But myths and legends suggest that matriarchal rule was dominant. One need look no further than deep in the Amazonian jungles of South America where the legend of Las Madres de la Sombra still exist. From these legends comes The Aestrah Cycle.
Wings of the Fly
Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 84,730. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
The Medellin Cartel's leaders have been a thorn in the side of Don Esteban Ochoa, head of the Peruvian familia that established the South American cocaine cartels in the late 60s. But 40 years later, who can control such men? A beautiful and mysterious woman, Alexandra Macintosh. Wings of the Fly paints a portrait of obsession, of absolute power corrupting absolutely and of innocence overwhelmed.