Friday, 11 February 2011

Serial Killers, Winners, and Questions Answered (Part One)

My short story The Vegas Screamer has been published in the Serial Killers Anthology, which I'm both excited and nervous about. The only person who has read my story is the editor of Static Movement, and it is a dark story. When the LSO read my piece in the Hometown anthology he was quite shocked, but that was quite tame compared to The Vegas Screamer. I'll let you know what he says when my copy arrives.

200 Followers Q and A Competition (Part One)

There were 36 questions in total and I shall be answering 18 today and the remaining 18 on Sunday. But before I begin, let me announce today's two winners, drawn from the first 18 entrants:

Congratulations to both of you; two Amazon vouchers will be with you soon. Now on with the questions, which were as fun, varied, and as devious as I thought they might be:

Pk Hrezo asked, 'What inspires you the most?'

If you had asked me this question a year ago, I would have said anything related to science fiction - movies, TV series, music, books etc. Today it is all of you. Whenever I feel low or despondant about my writing, it is all the amazing bloggers out there who keep me motivated with their kind words and constant encouragement.

Madeleine asked, 'What are your writing goals?'

At the moment (they tend to change often) my long-term goals are to earn a living through writing and to publish a book. My short-term goals are to practice and learn my craft and to continue to submit short stories for publication.

iZombie asked, 'Hand puppets or marionettes, which scares you more in this you open your eyes and this... is staring at you?'

Marionettes, because they would be hanging there in front of me and who would be working the strings?

Ellen Brickley asked, 'How do you balance a day job and writing?'

I am fortunate enough to only work four days a week and most of my shifts are afternoons and evenings - this leaves me three days and three mornings to write. In reality it doesn't quite work out that way, as family, friends, and the LSO demand my attention. But I do make time every day to write, even if it's only 30 minutes.

Old Kitty asked, 'Would William Shatner make a good smouldering vampire or a coherent zombie?'

He would have . . .to be . . .a . . .coherent . . .zombie. I can't see the smouldering vampire working with him.

Hannah Kincade asked, 'Are you done with Dreaming of Sleep yet?'

Unfortunately, no. But I am working on it every day!

L. A. Colvin asked, 'Do you world build before or during your first draft?'

I literally write by the seat of my pants and do not plot or put down any world-building information. But during NaNoWriMo last year, I did take two days out to plot my novel. I realised writing 50K words could not happen without any kind of direction. However, when I re-read what I'd written after plotting, it seemed forced to me. The flow was not there. Now I have a file in which I put key information about the characters and setting, so that I don't make any obvious mistakes, and then just write and see where the story takes me.

Janel asked, 'So, were you born with the William Shatner obsession (inherited obsessions - now there's something to write about) or did it come about later in life?'

I think I was born with it. During one of Captain Kirk's time travel missions, he visited Earth in 1972, altered my DNA before I was born, and then left me with the on going mission to watch re-runs of Star Trek and T. J. Hooker. We are destined to meet again in the year 2234, when both of us will have travelled through space and time and will be exactly the same age.

Colene Murphy asked, 'How do you revise?'

After I've written the first draft, I leave it for a few days. I'll then print it off in a different font and size, and then go through it word-by-word with a red editing pen. I then repeat the process two or three times. When I'm confident I have the final draft, and that there are no glaring errors, I ask the LSO to check it through one final time.

When I'm revising I'm looking for any of the following: spelling and grammatical errors; repetition; awkward sentences or dialogue; elements that don't move the story forward or do not make sense; and over-writing.

Talli Roland asked, 'Do you drink? And if so, how much is too much?'

I don't drink often because I'm intolerant to yeast - wine and whiskey make me sick. So, if I do drink it has to be pure spirits, like vodka. As I'm only 5ft and not overweight, it wouldn't take any more than three drinks to get me drunk.

Margo Benson asked, 'What were your favourite childhood books?'

There are two that stand out, The Tales of Olga da Polga by Michael Bond and Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. In my teens I loved anything by Stephen King.

Chantal asked, 'When did you become interested in science fiction?'

I cannot remember the exact age, but certainly before the age of eleven I became obsessed with science fiction TV shows such as Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Dr. Who. Films such as ET, Star Wars, and Close Encounter of the Third Kind fascinated me. I remember asking for the Millennium Falcon and Storm Troopers for Christmas, but being given a Sindy doll. Girls were not given toys for boys!

Alex J. Cavanaugh asked, 'What's your favorite science fiction movie AND favorite horror film?'

After much thought and hair pulling, I decided the two films I would want with me on a desert island are Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Thing.

welcome to my world of poetry asked, 'My question is did you like writing at school or did you become interested in it as you got older?'

I had no inclination towards writing before I left school. In fact, all my primary school reports pointed to some who had little grasp of spelling, punctuation and grammar. My standard of English did improve in secondary school though and I moved to the top set. But I did love to tell stories and was often classed as having an over-active imagination and being a chatterbox. It wasn't until much later in life that I realised I could tell those stories through the written word.

Elena Solodow asked, 'What is your favorite word?'

I think this was the toughest question. My answer, which could be different tomorrow, is discombobulate, which means to disconcert or confuse.

Melissa asked, 'If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?'

I would have to say my hometown of Exmouth because it's where all my family and friends live. Now if I could live anywhere in the Solar System, I'd like to be one of the first settlers on Mars. Can you imagine how challenging, dangerous, and thrilling it would be?

Tony Benson asked, 'So, my question is this. Imagine you're sitting on a mountain, watching a dramatic sunset. Where are you?'

I'm going to cheat a little, because I'd be at the Erte Ale volcano in Ethiopia. Oh and Professor Brian Cox would be there to answer all my scientific questions.

Jen Daiker asked, 'If you were trapped on an island with me what would you do to keep me entertained?'

Assuming we're trapped on an island with plenty of food, so I wouldn't need to kill you to survive, I would tell you the plot to Dreaming of Sleep. But then I would need to kill you . . .

Well today's questions and answers are finished, and I feel exhausted. I'll be back on Sunday, refreshed and with the other winners and answers.


  1. Really enjoyed finding out more about you - can't wait for Part 2 (where presumably you reveal true parentage (a Mr Vader?)/ the mystery of life/ secret kinky fetishes. Oh no! I sound 'facetious' again don't I? Trying to sound 'funny'!

  2. Congratulations to the winners!
    I'm inspired by some of the same movies and TV shows. And good choices for movie favorites.

  3. Ref: wouldn't take any more than three drinks to get me drunk.

    You're tougher than me! I don't think I'd make it to two drinks. LOL

    Ref: I would tell you the plot to Dreaming of Sleep. But then I would need to kill you . . .

    Poor Jen. She's just going to have to bring liquor to keep you drunk.

  4. congrats to the winners...
    i is fun getting to know you better, in a non stalking kind of way.. and our love for "shat" i have to find photos and share my encounter with the man a few years back...


  5. Such interesting answers - it's great to know a little more about you. Congratulations to the winners!

  6. Wow! Big thanks, Ellie. I'm glad you had such a good response. They were great questions.

    The fabulous thing about the q&a is that we find out things about you that we'd otherwise never have known.

  7. PS - Meant to congratulate you on 'Serial Killers' (applauding!)

  8. Loved all of the answers! Congrats on the newest publication. Yay, Ellie!!

  9. Congrats to the winners and your anthology story!

    Great answers in this round. Looking forward to Part 2.

  10. Yay!!!!! Congrats to the fab winners and CONGRATULATIONS with your story being published!! My curiosity is so piqued that I want to read your story asap - what horrors have you encapsulated in words, Ellie?!?!!?!!

    Thank you for this fabulous Q&A!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Brilliant questions - fab answers.

    Oh go on, for the weekend:


    Take care

  11. Congrats on the short story publication! Really enjoyed the question/ansers!! :)

  12. congratulations on the story being published.

    I really like the q&a - I'm finding out stuff I didn't know and I've known you for years! LOL

  13. Awesome Q&A! Thanks so much for answering my question too! Congrats to your winners!

  14. Woohoo! Congrats on getting your story published!

    Also, living on mars? That's fascinating!! I never expected that answer!

  15. Congrats to the winners and to YOUR published story!

    HOW EXCITING ... a great way to start the weekend.


  16. Congratulations on your story being published. I found your answers very interesting.

  17. Talli's question really is the best.
    Thanks for taking the time to answer so deliberately.
    Nahno ∗ McLein

  18. Great questions! And congrats on your story! That's so exciting!

  19. awesome write-up about you :) Oh wow, I think I like the theme of Serial Killers - and Hit Men. I'll have to check those out.


  20. Great questions and answer session, Ellie. I enjoyed reading them.

  21. The Vegas Screamer-sounds a little naughty *wink wink* Congratulations on being picked!

    It was really interesting getting to learn more about you. I LOVE the new Star Trek movie. I've watched it at least 6 times.

    Wanted to tell you that I have a goodie for you on my blog today :)

  22. This is fascinating stuff. I'll have to folow so I don' miss the second round.

  23. Congrats to the winners! And what a shame you're allergic to yeast - still, your liver is probably very happy and healthy! :)

  24. brokenbiro - LOL. My parents live somewhere on the 3rd rock from the Sun, though there identity is a closely guarded secret.

    Alex J. Cavanuagh - thank you!

    Maria Zannini - LOL. I thought I was a lightweight on three drinks. At least we'd get a laugh a party!

    iZombie - you must! I'd love to see you at the Shatman.

    Marg Benson - thank you!

    Tony Benson - thank you! I need to check - is it alright to send an evoucher direct from Amazon?

    Janel - thank you!

    Lisa Potts - thank you!

  25. Old Kitty - LOL. Once more for luck, "Khaaaaaannnn!"

    DL Hammons - thank you!

    The Myasthenia Kid - LOL. I'm a dark horse!

    Colene Murphy - thank you!

    Melissa - thank you! The only problem with going to Mars is that I'd have to overcome my fear of heights and flying. LOL.

    gideon 86 - thank you!

    Belle- thank you!

    Nahno McLein - thank you!

  26. Abby Minard - thank you!

    Donna Hole - I don't know why, but the Serial Killers anthology appealed to me. I never thought I'd write a short story from a serial killers POV!

    Rachna Chhabria - thank you!

    The Words Crafter - LOL. Yes, The Vegas Screamer is a little wicked.

    I'm glad you liked the new Star Trek movie - I can't wait for the second to come out next year.

    Ooo...something on your blog? I shall be stopping by soon.

    Mary Vaughn - thank you!

    Talli Roland - it is a shame :(


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