Hi Ellen. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please discuss your newest book.
My newest book is also my first book and is titled “When Darkness Falls”, The First Vampire Redemption Story. It is the first in a series of at least 3 books. It tells the story of Lexie, a vampire executioner who doesn’t know she is one. When her best friend is murdered by vampires, she is thrown into a five-hundred-year-old secret and meets her Amant de Sange or Blood Mate, Etienne Benoit. She chooses to step into her legacy as a ‘Chosen One’ and begins her journey into a dark and dangerous world. Lexie and Etienne fall in love and when he betrays her she vows revenge.
Read it recently, loved it! Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve loved all of the Anne Rice novels and when a friend introduced me to Buffy, The Vampire Slayer I became intrigued by the idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad vampires’. I started reading as many vampire books as I could get my hands on including Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong, Christopher Pike and Stephanie Meyer. They were my research, and when my work commitments changed, I decided it was time to write. I wrote the first draft in 9 months, took a year off when my husband became terminally ill, and then pursued the dream when he died. I found a great writing coach and the next 4 years were spent in rewrites, editing, and polishing. A great publisher found me and we published the book in March of 2016 on Amazon’s Create Space and Kindle. I’m sorry for your loss.
What are your current projects?
My current project is writing the second book in the series.
What books have most influenced your life most?
When I was a teenager I read a lot of Hemingway and loved his style of writing, so definitely Hemingway. Probably most of all though would be Anne Rice.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
I have two main characters. Lexie is a Southern Belle from Atlanta, Georgia and was brought up in a strict Southern Baptist household. She’s rebelled against the suppression of her Mother and lives in Paris working as a translator for the United Nations. She’s attractive, sassy, a bit promiscuous and wonders if this is all there is to life.
Etienne is a 500-year-old vampire who was turned against his will and has created an organization to fight against ‘dark’ vampires. He’s sophisticated, handsome, ruthless when he needs to be and resigned about ever finding his Amant de Sang (Blood Mate). He falls hard for Lexie and when he is forced to turn to the ‘dark’ side, vows he will find a way back to her.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message is that there is good and evil in all of us and it’s ok. It’s part of being alive (or undead as the case may be). Every day we have a choice between good and evil.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I’d like to see Olivier Martinez play Etienne and Jessica Chastain play Lexie.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I had the time and the dream.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I’m lucky enough to be able to write full-time. I don’t write every day full-time, but when the story or the characters are demanding my attention, I’m disciplined and write 3 to 5 hours every day.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The rewrites. Then I realized they are the key to honing my craft and producing something that people want to read.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Creating the story.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading “Find Me When The Sun Goes Down by Lisa Olsen.
What is one random thing about you?
I love horses and music
What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?
Tablet and computer
What does your writing process look like?
My writing coach trained me to do a lot of what she calls “laying on my bed writing”. In other words, really thinking about where I want to go in a particular paragraph or chapter and making sure my characters are always in character. Also doing the required research – I’ve learned to love research. When I’m on a roll, I’m always in my office by 9am anxious to discover what my characters have been up to overnight.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
How important are names to you in your books?
Names are very important as they have meaning.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I’m still in the marketing process and so far so good.
What is your favorite book and why?
I gave this a lot of thought and I don’t really have a favorite book. I have favorite authors.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never give up – just keep writing.
Don’t listen to the little voice in your head saying you can’t or you’re not good enough or no one wants to read what you want to write about.
Don’t edit your work as you go – get that first draft done and then edit.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
See friends, listen to music, watch TV, travel – in many ways I’m never not writing. I’m always thinking about writing even when I’m not sitting at my computer.
From where do you gain your inspiration?
Everywhere – but particularly other authors who write about vampires.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I don’t have an opinion about that – I’m traditionally published and I love my publisher.
How do you market your books?
Facebook, Twitter, word of mouth, author interviews, pod casts
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
I would and I don’t.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Authors need to also be entrepreneurs. Writing is not only creative it’s a business and I think many authors are not business people. I’m lucky in that regard as I was a business woman first and then became an author. Create a marketing plan and stick to it and keep talking about your book – to anyone who will listen.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Right now a lot. The book is newly published and it takes time to build an author platform and develop one’s readership. I’m willing to put in the time and energy to get my book known.
What do you do to get book reviews?
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? My publisher has been extremely helpful in that regard. She discovered a tool we’ve been using and it’s been extremely productive. We’re still working on attaining reviews and know that it takes time and energy on both our parts.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?
Which social network worked best for you?
At present Facebook seems to be working well. And I’m also creating a presence on Twitter.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
I did a press release for the Horror Writer’s Association – not sure how successful or productive that was. I did a book launch here in Vancouver and it was extremely successful. Sold out of books I had on hand and could have sold more. Launch was promoted through Facebook.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I’d like to meet Bram Stoker. Fascinating mind.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Sit down and write – don’t critique – just write.
Everything I said above
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I have a blog – ellenchauvet.wordpress.com
Website – ellenchauvet.com
Find me on Facebook
Interview by Courtney M. Wendleton