J. M. Elliott
Romelia: WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT WAY YOUR BOOK HAS CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DRAFT?
J. M. Elliott: I wrote my first draft on a platform called Wattpad; it was very raw. I did not worry about if my writing worked, was structurally sound, or had grammar and spelling errors. Therefore, my book changed immensely from the first draft, not only with grammatical technique but dynamics as well.
Romelia: WHAT PERSPECTIVES OR BELIEFS HAVE YOU CHALLENGED WITH THIS WORK?
J. M. Elliott: Perspectives I may have challenged with my novel are how my characters faced sensitive situations and how they handled them. Beliefs I challenged are extra-curricular and pre-marital relations.
Romelia: WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK?
J. M. Elliott: My novel’s inspiration was from a dream I had, and personal experiences and experiences my friends have gone through. I wanted my story to feel real, and the reader could relate.
Romelia: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK’S IDEAL READER?
J. M. Elliott: An ideal reader would be someone who enjoys reading YA and NA novels with a little suspense, a lot of sweet and steamy romance, humor, and some mystery.
Romelia: HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR BOOK?
J. M. Elliott: I did quite a bit of research for my book. Most of which was on the settings I used. I am from a small town in the Midwest, so I wanted to have my book set around someplace similar. I chose a neighboring state to mine and looked up small towns there, roughly the same size as mine. I found one that seemed fitting for my book. I also chose a larger city nearby as well as a popular lake. I have never been to the places in my book nor knew anything about them beyond my research.
Romelia: HOW IMPORTANT WAS PROFESSIONAL EDITING TO YOUR BOOK’S DEVELOPMENT?
J. M. Elliott: Professional editing is significant. Without editing, my book may not make sense to the reader as it did in my head while writing it. I want my book to be valued based on its entire storyline. Not if I placed punctuation correctly or if a sentence is a fragment and so on. If there are too many issues and errors, the reader cannot fully enjoy my story.
Romelia: WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST SCENE TO WRITE, AND WHY?
J. M. Elliott: There is a rather sensitive scene towards the end of my book that was hard to write because I have never personally gone through it. I had to research it and reach out to family and friends who have gone through something similar. Then I had to decide how my characters would react during and after the scene. It was very emotional to write, and it gives me chills every time I re-read it.
Romelia: WHAT CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOK ARE MOST SIMILAR TO YOU OR TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
J. M. Elliott: My main character, Ali, is similar to myself, from her appearance to her personality. Ali’s love interest, Luke, is based on the attributes of a good friend of mine. Ris, Ali’s best friend/roommate, is a lot like one of my best friends in real life. Much inspiration came from myself and my friends for this book.
Romelia: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?
J. M. Elliott: I wrote the entire book in approximately four months. I started in April of this year when the pandemic hit. I wrote two to four chapters every day during the lockdown. After it lifted, I had a novel over 100 thousand words.
Romelia: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR YOUR BOOK?
J. M. Elliott: I honestly do not know why or how the title came to be; it came to me one day and felt right. I know I wanted a one-word title that was mysterious.
Romelia: WOULD YOU AND YOUR MAIN CHARACTER GET ALONG?
J. M. Elliott: Yes, since her personality is a lot like mine!
Romelia: IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR CHARACTERS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?
J. M. Elliott: I would tell my main character to take her time; breathe, everything will be okay. You’ve got this. I would ask Ris not to change a thing about herself. I would more than likely stumble awkwardly over anything I tried to say to Luke. I would have some choice words for Brady, and I would shake my head while smirking at Jason.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE? ARE YOU MORE OF A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?
J. M. Elliott: I am both. I planned out specific parts of this book, but most of it I wrote on the fly, using whatever came to mind that day. There are many parts of the book that I did not have set in my plan.
Romelia: WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR WRITING SPACE TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED?
J. M. Elliott: I need complete quiet, a dictionary, and a thesaurus.
Romelia: IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A SPIN-OFF ABOUT A SIDE CHARACTER, WHICH WOULD YOU PICK?
J. M. Elliott: This is a hard question; it would either be Ris or Jason, but maybe Brady. Any of the three would make a great spin off. But if it were up to my readers, they would probably choose Brady.
Romelia: IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANOTHER POPULAR AUTHOR, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
J. M. Elliott: I would choose James Patterson. He is one of my favorite authors. He is an inspiration, and I like he does not write in only one genre. I want to venture into other genres as I grow as an author. Show the world the stories I’ve got floating around in my head.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE WHEN YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK?
J. M. Elliott: I went hard on my first book, writing every day between five and nine in the morning. In my current work in progress, Her, the second book in the Him series, I am sporadic. I am not writing every day or always in the morning; I have children who are home for distance learning due to Covid, plus I beta and ARC read for other authors to give myself a break to come back to my book refreshed. Him, I wrote in sequence, chapter after chapter building my storyline. With the second book, I am writing all over the place and will place the scenes where I think they fit best within the storyline.
Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED AS RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK?
J. M. Elliott: I have not, but I would like to visit the places I used in my book to see if my fictitious descriptions of them does them any justice.
Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING SNACK OR DRINK?
J. M. Elliott: While I write, my beverage of choice is hot chocolate, preferably white chocolate hot cocoa, since I do my best writing in the wee hours of the morning. I do not snack much when I write due to needing my hands and having them clean.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK?
J. M. Elliott: I cry first because I feel like I am going to miss the characters from my writing. Once I can get over finishing my story, I feel a wave of pride and accomplishment; I may do a little victory dance! Thank my family for giving me space to write. Then make my favorite dinner, my grandma’s meatloaf, and a sweet treat.
Romelia: WHAT RISKS HAVE YOU TAKEN WITH YOUR WRITING THAT HAVE PAID OFF?
J. M. Elliott: My choice to have detailed steamy scenes in my book was a risk that has worked in my favor. The readers seem to enjoy those moments.
Romelia: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?
J. M. Elliott: I google myself as an author every day since I published my first novel, November 30th, 2020. I make sure I can be found easily, as well as my book. It is surreal to see my book and website pop up. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be an author. I have not googled my real name in quite some time.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR KRYPTONITE AS A WRITER?
J. M. Elliott: I worry about if others will like my book. My biggest weakness is my editors, and I overlooked grammatical errors where the reader is too distracted and unable to enjoy the story.
Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.
J. M. Elliott: Only one? Funny things happen to me all the time! Something funny yet embarrassing at the same time occurred when I was in the shower and left my cell phone unattended around my toddler. She managed to start a live video on my personal Instagram account. I did not notice she was playing with my phone while I was naked, putting on my pajamas in the living room. I heard her talking to someone. I asked her who she was talking to on my phone, and she said “the people,” not thinking about anything, I go to see what she was referring to; I realize she is in a live video, and there are currently three people watching it. I franticly end the live video and ask the three people in attendance if they saw me naked; the only part of my body they claimed to have seen was my lower back and the top of my rump. I was so embarrassed. Now, my phone has a password to get into it, and I bring it to the bathroom with me when I shower.
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
J. M. Elliott: I am extremely outgoing, quite weird, a tad goofy, and at times I can be loquacious. I have a huge heart; I love to help others and give back to my community whenever I can. I am ambitious, hard-working, and driven; I set goals and strive to achieve them.
Something not known about me would be I have a fear of dying. I do not know what will happen in the afterlife, and I do not want to leave my family behind.
I dislike how much hatred there is in the world right now. People are so mean to each other, and there is no compassion anymore. I believe we all need to be kinder to one another and show more love, less hate.