Elisabeth and I have known one another for a few years now. We met at the 2011 Texas Book Festival, exchanged info, and have been reading each other’s books since! And on the book front, Wheatley is a machine. She’s written over 400,000 words this past year alone. She’s published five books in less than four years, – but what’s more is that they’re amazing. Anyone can throw down words on paper, but to make them quality? That’s a whole different ball game, and one she routinely conquers.
So, let’s take a look at the mind behind the work!
First off, here’s a look at her official bio: “Elisabeth Wheatley began what would be her first novel at eleven and hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not daydreaming of elves, vampires, and/or hot guys in armor, she can be found wasting time on the internet, fangirling over her latest obsession, and pretending to be a functional citizen.”
So, what got you into writing?
Well, at first it was the desire to create my own world. Then I started really getting into it and realizing how happy it made me, and now I can’t seem to quit.
How long have you been writing?
Oh, I would say about twelve years if you count all those “books” seven year old me scribbled on copy paper.
What process do you use to write? Do you use an outline, or just sort of wing it?
In truth, I have a “living” outline in my head that grows and changes as I explore the story. I once tried writing outlines, but I never stuck to the plan and eventually gave up.
Regarding the above process (or lack of), why do you prefer that method?
Like I said, I write largely for the joy of it. That’s why I prefer not to stress myself with an outline. I usually have an idea of where the story will go and how it will end, but I do enjoy letting the characters surprise me.
What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?
I love drafting—that’s when I’m first discovering all the characters and their plans and roles in the particular story. I loathe editing with the fiery intensity of a thousand bursting supernovas—it’s a slow form of torment; going back and tightening up the story, the dialogue, proofreading, making sure there are no plot holes, on and on and on.
What is the most difficult thing, (whether conveying a certain emotion, writing love scenes, specific settings, etc.), for you to adequately transfer from your mind to paper?
When it comes to romantic scenes, I usually spend about an hour on a single page, trying to make it sound right. Most the time, I feel weird writing that sort of thing, worried it sounds corny or stupid. I suppose it’s that I’m not comfortable with them yet.
What is the process of editing generally like for you? (In terms of ease, the number of rewrites, beta editors used, etc.)
Editing for me is like shoveling mud with a spoon. I stress out a lot because there’s all the pressure to get the story right and I rely heavily on a few beta readers to tell me when I need to change something. Depending on the manuscript, I may go through 30+ “drafts”. It just depends.
Are there some different genres you see yourself pursuing in the future?
I think I would like to explore more paranormal romance and maybe sci-fi. I have a few story ideas in those genres and I think they would be fun.
What genres do you never see yourself writing in?
Well, certainly never erotica. Aside from that, I think I’ll always have an attachment to the paranormal. It’s hard to picture myself writing anything that didn’t have some degree of fantasy in it, I simply lack an affinity for the “real” world.
What keeps you motivated to write?
Pathological ambition, that’s the best answer I have. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t not write and still be happy with myself. My family can tell you all about it.