We're back for another interview!
Today, my guest is Elliott Wink! Elliott is a science fiction and fantasy writer with a day job. She's been teaching English for nearly a decade, so she spends her days analyzing writing with her students and her nights putting her own pen to paper.
She has a masters in psychology and finds people fascinating, so she usually spends a lot of time in her characters' heads. Whether that character is drifting through outer space, navigating through a dystopian future, or in another universe entirely, they are unlikely to escape the nature of the human condition when it comes to her stories. "We are human, even when we are forging through the unknown."
She lives with her very supportive husband and tri-color collie-pit mix in Northern California. When she's not writing or watching movies, you might find her on the golf course or cooking elaborate, celiac-friendly meals.
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When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started writing my first book when I was in high school, but I only got about 30k words in before dropping it. I wrote my first full novel at 24, but that one is indefinitely shelved.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love playing video games, watching movies or TV shows, playing a round of golf, or just spending
some quality time with my husband.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I was actually shocked to learn that I love cover design. My first few covers were premades, and I adore them all, but when I realized that they were just stock photos with fancy fonts, I bought a few liscences and started working on making my own. My next two books will feature covers that I created, and I’m pretty excited about that.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I just finished writing my fifth book, the sequel to After Io. I’m really happy with how that one turned out, so either this most recent one (yet untitled) or After Io. I like to think they just keep getting better.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Write regularly and just keep going. Most of the writers who never make it are the ones who stopped writing.
What do you think makes a good story?
Believable characters in difficult situations, and themes that truly resonate with people.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I think writing is a lot like exercise; in the short term, it will exhaust you, but in the long run you’ll have more energy and pep than you would have if you’d done nothing at all.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Believing that your first book will be the best thing ever written and launch you to success. Writing is like any other skill—you need to spend some time building it.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Honestly, I don’t know what readers want. So, my stories are decidedly original by default.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book?
The funny thing about my writing journey is that I’d never written a sequel before I decided to self-publish. Then, I started writing two series. I’m expecting The Far Light Series to be 5 books, and the AneterraSeries to be even longer. I’m really enjoying fleshing out these worlds and the characters within them.
What do you have coming next?
The second book in The Far Light Series will be out soon, although I haven’t set a firm date yet (probably early June). I’ve started the second volume of the Anterra Series as well, and I’m optimistic that it will be out this summer.