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Stories have arcs. Characters have arcs. Writers have arcs. We write, we get better at our craft. We read, we get better at our craft. We interact with other writers and our readers, we get better at our craft. Whether you are a professional writer or just starting out. Hobby or career. We are all in this together. Welcome.

Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

The Interview


Part I

You successfully navigate multiple genres, mystery, YA, contemporary women's fiction ... what are the pros and cons of working in more than one genre?
I love this question. It speaks to the heart of many writers who complain of too many voices in their heads. Or, better put, too many ideas popping into their heads. I'll answer the cons first because although they seem serious, I believe their serious nature can be overcome.
Cons: Readers, publishers and booksellers don't know how to categorize you. With readers, the problem isn't as great. If you tell them, "Look! Now, I've written a mystery novel." They tend to just say, "Cool. I love mysteries." Or, "Eh. Not today." Their concerns are fairly black and white--they'll either read your genre or the won't.
With publishers and booksellers, they may not pick you up to sell you or publish you if you tend to scatter yourself across genres. It's difficult to stay with a publisher because of this and booksellers definitely don't like splitting up their authors across genres. They will but they don't like to.

Pros: You have a greater breadth of a reading audience. You can write whatever you wish because those readers who have become your fans will read whatever you're likely to write. When I write what I enjoy, which may be a YA Fantasy one day and an apocalyptic thriller the next, the readers don't seem to care. They just want to read.

Your most recent book, the YA novel "Spider Brains" recently received "Bestseller" status on Amazon. I know you are amazingly proactive in the PR for your work, what are some of the methods you have honed to make you so successful?
Well, for starters, you must sell your youngest son to a Pharaoh for day labor and give him your eldest daughter as the queen's handmaid. Not really. I believe that a writer will get lost in the flotsam of all the other fabulous writers out there if said writer does not market herself. Plus, you need to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Amazon has an incredible promotional machine with algorithms that will knock one of  NASA's rockets out of the blue. The algorithms push books within their parameters up the charts when authors go exclusive with them through KDP.Select and also through CreateSpace. If you use a CreateSpace ISBN, Amazon will distribute to more markets than if you use your own ISBN. That's just one example of an author's marketing tactic. There are so many that I could write a book! Ha. I made a funny.

What is your writing process like?
Wonderful. It's the only thing I truly enjoy in my work day. I find it freeing and invigorating. When I write, it takes me a few days to settle back onto the earth. I once wrote a novel in 8 days. It was exhausting but fascinating. I didn't want the story to end but I was working toward the publisher's deadline--which was 8 days away. I don't suggest trying it.

Check Back August 15th for Part II!

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