In celebration of the outstanding success that Joanne Ellis is now experiencing with her marvelous book SPOILT currently ranked #1 on US Kindle; I am sharing an interview I had with Joanne only six short months ago.
Jo Ellis has just shifted her 50,000th copy of 'Spoilt', which makes it an official best seller, with a #1 spot on US Kindle to boot.
Hello Jo and thanks for joining me. I can imagine how incredibly busy you must be, so thanks for making the time.
1. ‘Spoilt’ is a book that is listed in romance genre, yet it’s far more than that. Please share with our readers a little about your book.
Spoilt is a romance but is also surrounded by, hopefully, a gritty crime story. I wanted to break the boundaries a little and move away from the normal boy meets girl, happily ever after theme and though this is a large element of the story, it also has the suspense working hand in hand with the love story. I wanted to show that love can overcome even the toughest of adveseries and how falling in love can really change people's lives.
2. “Spoilt isn’t your first book.” How many books have you completed all told?
I have completed eight stories in total. Spoilt was actually the first I wrote but I followed up with three in quick succession that all follow on from it. I loved my characters so much, along with the other players in the story that I wanted to continue on with them. I wrote three others after the first four before returning to Spoilt and polishing it so that my first 'baby' could be out in the world.
3. What genre are they?
They are all predominantly romance but all have a sub genre theme. The four in the 'Spoilt' are all suspense. The other four fall into the sub genres of historical, fantasy and gay erotica. I have one which is a straight romance.
4. You have young children, how do you manage your time?
With difficulty. No, actually it isn't too difficult to manage my time. I'm fortunate enough to be a stay at home Mum, with a supportive husband, while running my small bookkeeping business from home as well. I make sure I schedule my day around their needs and dedicate time that I can spare without compromising them to write or edit most days. Using a laptop to write on enables me to be close to them too which helps.
5. The family would need to be very supportive. I believe you run a business as well? How do you manage the hours?
My business has only a small number of clients whose needs only need to be fulfilled around BAS/Tax time so I only need to dedicate a certain number of days per month and quarter to my bookkeeping. Routine is probably the most important aspect. I use the time whilst my daughter is at school and my youngest is napping to write and edit. At then again at night when they are in bed for the evening. There are times though when the muse calls and I have to get those ideas down fast and I'm lucky to have children who understanding sometimes that my eyes are glued to the screen for short burst of time. They generally amuse themselves when they know Mum is 'busy'. They are my angels.
6. Romance is a genre that easily lends itself to crossing over into erotica. Have you crossed those boundaries?
Aside from my fantasy story, I delve into a little erotica in each of my books. American Girl (which I wrote under and may publish under a pen name if the opportunity arises) is an erotic/romance story but instead of boy meets girl, it is girl meets girl. American Girl is very different from everything else I have written. It is in first person point of view and is an emotional story, a journey of self discovery.
7. If you had to name the single most frustrating thing you encounter as a writer, what would it be?
Editing! I really don't like editing much at all. When I first started writing I would do a first draft really quickly, get the story all down and then go back and add and polish later. Now I know how much work is involved in this I now plot out a story and then edit and polish as I go. Writing and ensuring one chapter is 'right' before moving onto the next. A first draft used to take me a few of weeks, now it takes me a few months.
The other frustrating thing is rejection, in particular writing a query and synopsis. It is so difficult compacting a story into a page or even a few lines. Trying to find a 'home' for your stories, something you have poured your heart and soul into can be crushing. Luckily I have determination and tenacity and never gave up.
8. How long did it take you to write the final edited version of ‘Spoilt’?
Well as I said in an earlier question I used to write first drafts quickly and Spoilt took me about two weeks to write the first draft. It then took many edits and rewrites to be published which took about two years.
9. Do you have another genre that you wish to explore as a writer?
To be honest I haven't really thought about it. I think because I like to explore many sub genres within romance I have sort of explored other genres already. I don't think I could write a story without romance or at least some sort of romantic connection... I love it far too much.
10. What do you like to read?
What I love to write, romance. That being said there isn't much I don't like reading. I have always been an avid reader and will try almost any book that looks interesting.
11. Apart from writing and your family what else do you enjoy?
I love Aussie Rules Football and I am a huge fan of Port Adelaide Power, I have season tickets and go to every home game. My other big loves are movies, in particular a good romantic comedy, drama or comedy and music. Music is a huge inspiration in my writing too.
12. How many hours a day do you spend writing?
I don't write every day but I do something writing related most days. When I do write I usually spend up to three hours at a time. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
13. How many hours a day do you spend promoting your book?
When I'm not asleep. :) I think everything I do somehow relates to my writing and plugging my work. Whether that be networking, blogging or researching ways to get Spoilt noticed. I couldn't put a time frame on it but I spend much of my time dedicated to my work in some way.
14. Feel free to plug other links to sites for your writing.
There is my website of course: www.joanneellis.net and my page at Night Publishing: http://www.nightpublishing.com/id34.html
Spoilt has been reviewed on a couple of reviewers blogs and links can be found to these on my website.
15. You had a radio interview recently, how did that go?
Great! I was so nervous but all in all I think it went well. I read an extract first before being interviewed. It all went so quick I barely remember now what was said. I'm not sure when it will be aired but I believe it is coming up soon.
16. To write as much as you do, would require discipline, tell us about your writing process.
I plot a lot more now than I used to. Write copious notes and jot down any ideas as they come to me. Mostly though I let the story come to me as I go and I don't always stick to my notes. Sometimes a story just tells itself and pops into my head as I write it. I don't stick to any real process just go with the inspiration and work on the project I'm feeling the most about as the mood strikes.
17. What book is next to be published?
Probably the sequel to Spoilt in Fire Starter. I'm currently doing a big edit/re-write to it at the moment.
18. Do you have a current work in progress? Tell us about it?
I have two in progress at the moment. Hudson is about Lucas from Spoilt. It shows his life from when he finishes school right up to when he meets Chelsea and his life in the police force then as a detective. Gangland is my futuristic romeo and juliet. It is about a war torn city controlled by the government. When a citizen and a rebel meet they fall in love and then fight together for freedom against the government.
Thank you Joanne. Joanne Ellis's Book "Spoilt" is available from Amazon.com
Update...Joanne's "Firestarter" the sequel to Spoilt is due for release shortly.