Hi and welcome to another author interview Under the Willow Tree. Today it gives me great pleasure to interview the talented author Ellie Burmeister. Welcome Ellie.
What are you currently working on and when do you plan to release your next book?
I’m currently revising a mystery-suspense novel that takes place in renaissance Italy at the request of my agent. I’m not sure when it will be released. It’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever attempted.
Do you have a favorite genre for your writing or do you write whatever moves you?
Mysteries! The puzzle solver in me loves to read and create riddles. Especially when they aren’t your everyday “conk on the head and the killer reveals himself” sort of mysteries. I think there is a real magic in being able to play along at home and match wits with the detectives. I also like historicals, since the truth is always so much stranger than fiction. Above all, I love humor. I’m not sure I could write a book that isn’t humorous and quirky.
What is the best piece of advice you were given about writing?
Silence your inner critic when putting out of a first draft. The pacing for writing is far different than the pace it will be read at, and the important thing when starting a new project is to get your ideas down on paper. A sentence that is painfully awkward when you write it will still be awkward the next morning. A sentence that only seemed awkward will survive when viewed with afresh eye. Sometimes it takes several attempts to get things perfect, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Do you have a special spot where you like to write or are you a “have lap top will travel” writer?
I’m a “have lap top will travel” writer. I have a 10” Samsung laptop that can fit into my purse so I’ve been known to write entire chapters while waiting in lines or eating dinner at a buffet restaurant. I'm probably the only person who gets excited to be called for jury duty, since some of my best writing is done in their waiting room.
What is your favorite book and favorite author?
I can’t pick just one. There are so many I love for different reasons. In terms of books I’ve gladly read more than once, I might have to say the Princess Bride. As far as authors, it’s hard to beat Agatha Christie. It’s hard to believe that one person came up with so many iconic mysteries.
When did you discover your passion for writing?
I think I had a passion for writing before I could write.
Do you have a favorite beverage or snack you must have while writing?
Not a favorite food, but I do like to listen to music. Nothing gets me in the mood faster than the appropriate soundtrack. I create playlists for my characters, to get me in the proper mindset to tackle that POV. Occasionally I’ll discover a song on the radio that is prefect and then I’ll have to find the title. With can be really hard with instrumentals!
What inspires you?
I have a wild imagination. As a kid I was bored a lot, so I made up stories. People who know me are usually startled that I’m nothing like my protagonists, and they can’t recognize my characters, but that they are all fully fleshed and multidimensional.
Do you have a favorite vacation destination and do you write while vacationing?
I love London and Italy. I’ve only gone to Italy once for a research safari. Fortunately, my husband loves history too, and doesn’t think it’s weird that I’ll walk two miles, take a picture of a seemingly ordinary arch, and then leave. Ok, he thinks it’s a little weird, but not after I explain the historical significance of that particular arch.
London was just for fun. What mystery writer wouldn’t want to go to London? We got a private tour of the Tower of London when a Beefeater realized that we knew the names and backgrounds behind the graffiti carved into the prison walls. He wanted to hear our commentary on the graffiti in the areas that are normally closed to the general public.
Do you have any advice for other writers on any subject you choose?
Listen to your betas. They are worth more than rubies! If they tell you something isn’t working, don’t just explain to them why they are wrong. Once your book is released into the world, you lose the ability to correct your readers in any way that won’t put them off.
Instead use their feedback to think of away to strengthen and improve. This may seem limiting Most of the greatest storytelling the world has known is the result of circumventing limitations. Shakespeare had his groundlings, early TV shows had their censors, all we need to do is get people to suspend their disbelief.
That said; make sure you have the right betas. A person who only reads sci-fi and horror might not be the best person to propose changes to your Amish romances, and vice versa. A good rule of thumb is to ask whether this person might buy your novel if he or she didn’t know you.
Any last thoughts you would like to add?
Chase your dreams and be fearless! If you write the book you've always wanted to read, then chances are others will want to read it too.
You'll find Ellie's books at the following sites:
I'll also be a guest professional at this year's Comic Com in San Diego.