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.