Thursday, June 2, 2016

Interview with author Elizabeth N. Love

I’m chatting with Elizabeth N. Love today about her collection of sci-fi short stories, Through a Window.

Raised in the rural plains of Kansas in a large family, Elizabeth N. Love appreciates home-cooked meals, hand-made clothes, and watching wildlife. Listening to public radio and watching BBC science fiction shows on public television sparked her young imagination into wondering what lay outside of her small town.

Besides writing, she creates art in drawing, cartoons, music, and gardening. Her short story “Look Through” received international recognition in 2001. She now lives the suburban life in the Kansas City Metro area with her family.

Welcome, Elizabeth. Please tell us about your current release.
Through a Window is a collection of short stories in science and speculative fiction ranging from humans dealing with overpopulation to a world shared by three sentient races, told with a spiritual theme. I wrote these stories over several years and entered them in competitions. All ranked in the Top 10 in these competitions, with the highest ranked story being “Look Through” at 5th Place in an international, genre-based competition against 235 other short stories, and received an amazing review from science fiction author Edward Bryant.

Since I’ve put the collection together, I’ve received high praise from many readers, and the stories have been compared to Stephen King’s short stories from his early writing career. The best compliment so far is that a single copy of my book is being passed around in the nearby city of Lawrence, Kansas, among the Plymouth Congregational Church membership. A co-worker loaned a copy of the book to a friend and hasn’t been able to get it back. They love it that much. (Now, if they would all run out and buy a copy…)

What inspired you to write this book?
I like to imagine “what-ifs.” Like the What-if Machine in Futurama, I ask myself a question and let the story take over with all its variables. Each story goes through a few iterations before I decide which has the most impact. What if the peoples of two planets in close orbit were to visit each other? What if the world never knew darkness?

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently, I’m finishing up book three in my Bona Dea series of science fiction novels, entitled Revenge of the Goddess. This follows up Call of the Goddess and Army of the Goddess. After that, I have a paranormal novel in the developing stages, based on another “what-if” scenario.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing stories and poems when I was nine and haven’t really stopped since then. Actually considering myself a “writer” didn’t happen on a conscious level. It’s just something I’ve always done. Telling other people I’m a writer when they ask what I do, that just happened recently.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I still have a day job—I’ve been working since I was 16 years old—but it isn’t really who I am. I have a day job because bills need to be paid. I’m a writer who happens to be a department supervisor at a small company. I write when we have down-time, or when I take a day off to be home by myself. I write when I get home and the kids are entertaining themselves. I write on the weekends while sitting outside on balmy day, or I write in that time between when everyone else has gone to sleep and before I just can’t keep my eyes open. It’s not a perfect schedule, but writing doesn’t happen on a schedule, either.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I cling to pen and paper for my first drafts. I think a lot of writers these days go directly to a computer or tablet to type in their words, but I prefer the completely mobile, never-needs-charged notebook and ink pen. I can carry what I need in my purse or backpack. No wires, no signal. Don’t have to worry about dirt or glare. My handwriting is atrocious at times, and even I look at it later thinking, “What the heck does that say?” but I feel that it gives me a better pace for getting down what I want to say with the words that make it flow. I type at over 80 words per minute, faster than my brain can form a decent sentence. The first run at editing happens when I type it into the computer document.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was going to be a music teacher. I followed this path all the way up to my first year of college. Then I went on my first observation and realized I was not cut out for controlling a room full of kids, so I got a degree in Creative Writing, instead. I’ve used my writing and typing skills to hold some interesting jobs, such as marketing manager and researching real estate titles for insurance purposes. Digging through historical records over one hundred years old and reading divorce case proceedings can lead to some interesting stories.

Thanks, Elizabeth! Happy writing!

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