Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Author interview and book giveaway: Ellen Meister

I'm really excited today, because we have the fabulous Ellen Meister here to chat. Like me, Ellen's a blogger, a member of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, and is the author of two novels. You may recognize her name, since we spoke together at an Author's Tea not too long ago. If you had to miss that, don't fret: we've got a few more events planned together for the summer!

Ellen's going to be giving away a signed copy of her latest novel, THE SMART ONE.

I loved this book! (And so did my mom, which is saying a lot!) I picked it up and literally couldn't put it down! A totally wonderful read from start to finish. But, I'll leave it to Ellen to tell you all about it.


So, without further ado, I give you the wonderful Ellen Meister!


Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.

Here goes: THE SMART ONE is about three adult sisters who find a body stuffed inside an industrial drum and begin a bold, heartbreaking and sometimes hilarious journey that will either bring them together ... or tear them apart for good.

That's 39 words, Brenda. Feel free to deduct points. :)


What are you working on right now?

I have a book in production I'm very excited about. We don't have an official title yet, but here's the summary as it appeared in the trades:

Pitched as "Jodi Picoult meets THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE," the new novel tells the story of a suburban mom expecting her second child who discovers that she might be able to slip through a portal to the life she would have had if she never got married. When a routine sonogram reveals unexpected problems, her grief lures her to escape to the life that might have been-in which she discovers that she's stayed with her neurotic ex-boyfriend, and that her mother, who committed suicide several years before, is very much alive.


What are you reading right now?

I'm reading and loving SUMMER ISLAND by Kristin Hannah. It came out in 2001, which shows you how behind I am in my reading!


How do you fight writer's block?

To tell you the truth, I don't really believe in writer's block. Or maybe I just don't indulge in the idea. Point is, we can't sit in a chair and expect a bolt of lightning to deliver ideas. Like anything worth doing, it's hard work. So when I'm stuck on an idea, I make notes. I just open a blank document and start asking myself questions about what could possibly happen next in the story. I explore every answer that occurs to me and what repercussions it might have for the characters and the story overall. Eventually, the answers begin to emerge.


What is your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?

My favorite part of writing is when I hit that zone where I know what's going to happen in the scene and my characters just take over. That's not to say it flows before me like a scene from a movie--I struggle with language and pacing no matter what I'm working on--but surely there are times when it's so vivid I can hardly type fast enough to get it all out.

My least favorite part is when my editor or agent suggests a change that requires unraveling the whole book. It can be overwhelming.


How do you usually begin your stories-with a character or with a plot?

I have to say character, though usually it's more like the relationship between two characters that first strikes me. For instance, in THE SMART ONE, I got the bug to explore the relationship between three sisters and how their childhood labels impact their adult lives. From there I had to build a plot that would drive their relationship and individual arcs.

Thanks so much for the interview, Brenda! I had a blast answering these questions.

Thank YOU, Ellen, for stopping by! And now, on to the fun part: the free book! You know how it works-- just leave a comment below and you're entered to win a copy of THE SMART ONE! Want extra entries? That can be arranged.... Blog about it for another entry. Become of follower of this blog for another entry, too. Or you can leave a comment on another one of my blog posts for yet another entry!

The winner will be announced on June 3rd.

80 comments:

katrina said...

Loved the interview! And I loved what you said, Ellen, about writer's block and what you do to keep it from happening.

Can't wait to read your new book!!!

Nakor2117 said...

Sounds like both books will be great!!! I will definatly have to get these for summer reading!!

CherlyCurly said...

Great Interview. I Can't wait for the new book. It will be great for summer reading.

DevraNS said...

Can't wait to add The Smart One to my summer reading list!!! I loved what you said about your favorite part about writing - how it's sometimes hard to type fast enough to keep up. I totally get that! I find my fave part about writing is when I re-read something I've written and it actually makes me laugh out loud...

Amanda said...

I am looking forward to getting these books to read. I plan on following Ellen's writing career for as long as she writes.

*I have read Summer Island and it is WONDERFUL!*

SarCraw said...

This sounds really good, and so does the book she is working on! Very intriguing plots.

sarahbcrawford(at)gmail(dot)com

SarCraw said...

I follow your blog!
sarahbcrawford(at)gmail(dot)com

Angela Streit said...

Sounds like a good book! Can't wait to read it!!!

Clifford Garstang said...

Ellen is terrific! Thanks for the interview.

drey said...

Ok Brenda! You HAVE to stop making me add more books to my list!! Really!! =O

Enter me, please, this sounds like a great summer read! And I subscribe to your fee...

Regan said...

I love hearing of a book that you just can't put down- cover to cover in a day is fabulous! 'The Smart One' is added to my summer reading list!

Rik Kellerman said...

I loved both books, and I am looking foward to your upcoming one. Great idea about overcoming writer's block-rather than waiting for lightning to strike, you've developed a way to create your own electricity! That's inspirational!

crystees_mom said...

This book sounds right up my alley!

Anonymous said...

The new book sounds like it's right up my alley!

Kelly said...

I can't wait to read THE SMART ONE--it's on my list for as soon as the school year is done! Love to hear your ideas on writer's block as well--couldn't agree more.

Tish Cohen said...

I would love to win this book!

nancorbett said...

Ellen, I can't wait to read your book. It's now at the top of my list.

I was intrigued by what you said about the idea of the three sisters and how their childhood labels impact their adult lives carrying you into the story.

Great interview! I've never visited this blog before but will add it to my feeds.

gaby317 said...

Great interview! I really enjoy hearing how writers approach their craft and the discipline and steps that they take. Very interesting stuff!

I hadn't read anything by Ellen Meister and will definitely check out these books.

pls count me in the contest!

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

missndan said...

great interview and can't wait for the new book. sounds like a great read when sitting by a pool with a nice frozen refreshment!

msatch said...

This sounds like a very interesting read!

Llehn said...

I would love to be included in your giveaway! Thanks!

Chris Bartholomew said...

Great read, and and the book sounds very good. Thanks for the chance to win a copy, very generous.

Janel said...

Since I'm an only child I can only imagine the relationships between 3 sisters!

Janel said...

I am already a follower :)

mindy said...

fabulous interview and thanks for the generous giveaway

Kelly said...

Thanks for the giveaway! It was fun reading the interview. I'd love to win a copy of the book. :)

krtrumpet [at] aol [dot] com

bocamom62 said...

bocamom62:
Can't wait to read your book. I'm a CM sister & want to be the chosen one LOL.

jemscout425 said...

love to add this to my summer reading list
pksanddancer@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading the books this summer.

bridget3420 said...

Count me in. Sounds like a good read.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

I'm a follower.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

MOMFOREVERANDEVER said...

looks fun

bridget3420 said...

Added this contest to my sidebar.

http://bridget3420.blogspot.com

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

Ceci said...

Brenda, I love your interview style! You've got it goin' on, sister! *wink* Nicely done. So inspiring. You are making me think of interviewing & copy development in a whole new way...many thanks! Wow! Already a gift!

You know, I love Ellen, too. She's a gifted writer, a wonderful mom, a darling friend, & a beautiful Book Barbie to boot! Yep, our girl's got the whole package, indeed.

I would be thrilled to win a copy of Ellen's book, The Smart One. As much as I would like this, I would be equally gleeful for any woman to have such well-written copy, such a warm & winning story, & such encouragement to be totally human in her own inimitable way in her beautiful hands.

Ellen's work is important for far more than entertainment purposes, & any woman winning this book is receiving a gift that will continue to give her faith in herself for years to come.

Bless you, darling, for offering this wonderful contest. You are a joyful, fun-loving girl, aren't you?

It's nice to meet you through Blogger, darling, & I will be back to visit you here. I l-o-v-e your writing & the way your beautiful brain works!

Success & joy to you...Ceci

Dennis said...

Awesome interview, thank you for it.


Ellen Meister IS the smart one!



Best,

Dennis Mahagin
mahagin@aol.com

cstironkat said...

Please enter me in your giveaway. I would love to read something besides textbooks.

scottsgal said...

Sounds like a great book - enjoyed the interview

msboatgal at aol.com

MJ said...

I love books about sisters! I enjoyed the interview.

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

Valerie said...

looks good
KawaiiNeko2008 at aol dot com

A Reader said...

Great interview.
Thanks for the giveaway!
Kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

Patricia said...

Wonderful interview. I am such a fan and cannot wait for the next book, and the next book and the next one, each one so unique, you have a fabulous mind Ellen. xo

kathy55439 said...

Great interview.... I would love some great summer reads....

Val said...

The subject of relationships between siblings has always fascinated me. Add a dead body found in a drum and you've got a great story line there.

superblondgirl said...

You had me at "dead body in a drum". Not that I have a fetish or something. It's just very, very attention-getting.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the interview. Please enter me to win. Thanks so much!

hillary1128@yahoo.com

Renee G said...

Great interview. Would love to read the book.
rsgrandinetti@yahoo.com

A Stationary Addict said...

Awesome interview! Would love the read. Have a good rest of the week!

cagrowngirl said...

Terrific interview...would love to add The Smart One to my reading room. Thanks!! I love the cover.

cagrowngirl@yahoo.com

Cari said...

I want to win! I ordered this book for my library too!
carolyn dot dubiel at gmail dot com.

Nicole D. said...

Sounds interesting!

Diana said...

Loved the interview, Ellen! Always enjoy reading your blog. Would love a signed copy of your book :-)

Nickolay said...

Looks like a great book. Thanks for the chance

jason@allworldautomotive.com

Aramena said...

Hmm, having grown up in a family of three sisters, The Smart One (which was me of course) sounds like a great read! The new book in production sounds very interesting as well.

Anonymous said...

Interesting interview with a great, articulate and funny person and writer. Thank you!

Kathy Fish

Nicole said...

Both books sound really good!

choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

Marie said...

Great interview, I would love to read this!

marielay@gmail.com

Sarah Z said...

I love finding new authors to read!
Thanks!
Sarah
believedreamcourage (at) gmail.com

wendy said...

sounds like my kind of book.

madamerkf at aol dot com

Mitzy said...

This looks so cute! And I love the cover =)

Jacqueline C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacqueline C said...

Thanks Brenda! I love discovering new authors (well, new to me anyway). Plus, who can resist a book with cupcakes on it. Also, I now follow your blog and I've commented on another post of yours (http://brendajanowitz.blogspot.com/2009/05/viva-la-france.html?showComment=1242972551577#c7281892991277843781).

jac8604(at)hotmail(dot)com

Rebecca said...

Looking forward to reading The Smart One this summer! Brenda - keep introducing more authors!

zeuzlaben(at)yahoo(dot)com

paula h said...

This sounds so good. I can't wait to read it.

hafner611{AT}gmail{DOT}com

mgflye said...

Wonderful interview. I'm really looking forward to the new book, Ellen, especially now that I've read the description!

Alexa said...

This sounds like a great book! Count me in!

I'm a follower.

lovinfitch@aol.com

Kristi said...

Looks like a good one - and I am one of three adult sisters so think it would be fun to read!

kherbrand at comcast dot net

Kristi said...

I follow your blog.

kherbrand at comcast dot net

alexandrea said...

Her other books sound interesting too! I'd love to read this one, thank you for the giveaway!

Alicia said...

Sounds like a good read.

Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

targetmom said...

Sounds like a great book for my summer reading list!

Tiffany819 said...

I would love to win! Thank you

tiffanys819 at gmail.com

Belinda M said...

They both sound like great books. Please enter me in the giveaway

Lady Roxi said...

Love to have this.

Thanks,

darkfyre1(at)gmail(dot)com

gaby317 said...

I'm a new follower

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

Lori said...

Interview was great. Your book sounds great! Would love to win it. Thanks.

Lesley said...

I would love a copy! Thank you!

lesleymfan(at)gmail(dot)com

Teresa said...

Interesting plot - it would be fun to see it in less then 25 words! Great interview and thanks for a chance to win the book.

throuthehaze said...

sounds like a good read!

throuthehaze said...

i follow

Allison said...

OMG I need to read these!

allygotts567[at]hotmail[dot]com