Today’s blog guest is the wonderful Devon Ellington who’s blog, Ink in My Coffee I’ve been reading for a while now 🙂
A full time writer who publishes under half a dozen names in fiction and non fiction her plays are performed all over the world. Devon’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies and she has had hundreds of articles published over the years. She also works as a fiction reviewer, freelance business writer and teaches online, with students across the globe.
Devon’s most recent publication, Old Fashioned Detective Work was released on March 4, 2013 by Solstice Publishing. A follow up to Hex Breaker it sees Jain Lazurus continuing her adventure.
Detective Wyatt East finds himself the primary suspect when hex breaker Jain Lazarus disappears after their romantic weekend in Vermont. In spite of the suspicions, Jain’s boss, Maitland Stiles, hires Wyatt to track her down, forcing him to face aspects of his own painful past and revealing more about hers.
Saddled with two rebellious runaway paranormal teens, he’s embroiled in a shapeshifter pack disagreement, and must learn to work with both a caustic dragon and a cantankerous mermaid to not only find Jain, but help her help an old friend who’s in over his head. Wyatt learns he is not without psychic abilities of his own, although he prefers old-fashioned detective work.
Visit the Jain Lazurus site
Visit Billy Roots blog
Jain Lazarus Adventures on Facebook
I got the opportunity to ask Devon a few questions….
Vikki:YOU PUBLISH IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT GENRES, WHICH DO YOU ENJOY WRITING THE MOST?
Devon:I like writing in all of them, which is why I keep shifting! 😉 I think the story and characters have a lot to do with what genre I choose at a particular moment. If the characters and story are served best by mystery, then it’s mystery; by fantasy, then fantasy, and so forth. I think you can tell emotional truths clearly in fiction — in non-fiction, it often comes across as being on a soap-box, while in fiction, you’re demonstrating the cause-and-effect of choices.
Vikki:WHAT OR WHO, WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND JAIN LAZARUS?
Devon:The scene where she defends Nick and Billy from the zombie and the scene where they’re chased at night all came to me driving back from my own work on set (two different projects, two different nights). The scenes came fully formed, but I wasn’t sure about the context. Slowly, Jain kind of emerged from the mists, so to speak — here’s someone who’s good at her paranormal job, but she still works union wardrobe jobs to keep her health insurance! Working in theatre and film is all about creating magic and illusion anyway, so it was fun to lay paranormal/urban fantasy experiences over the practicality of creating illusion on set.
Vikki:DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER BOOKS PLANNED FOR THE SERIES?
Devon:There will be seven books in the series. I’m almost finished with CRAVE THE HUNT, the third book in the series. It alternates from Jain’s POV and Billy Root’s POV. It’s really Billy’s coming-of-age book, where he finds himself and his path. He got a truly loyal fan following from HEX BREAKER, and I think they’ll be thrilled with how he evolves. Book three is a turning point for him, and although he’s a supporting character again in future books, I think his fans will continue to enjoy his growth. Book 4, LOVE AND FURY, is where everything Jain and Wyatt haven’t directly dealt with in their relationship comes back to bite them in the butt. I haven’t titled books 5-7 yet, but they’re in rough outline. There’s also room for some other characters to explore their stories, especially some of the supporting characters in CRAVE THE HUNT, should they capture readers’ imaginations.
I’m also juggling a bunch of other projects, so it’s a case of what is contracted when and the deadlines. My new play, MURDER “SEALS” THE DEAL, will be performed as a benefit for the National Marine Life Center on April 7 in Buzzards Bay (www.nmlc.org) and another play of mine, SEVEN OF SWORDS, will be read at Tilden Arts Center on March 1. So I’m in rewrites and rehearsals, and I’m juggling a couple of other novels and working with my agent on some interesting non-fiction proposals, too.
Vikki:WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHORS AND WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?
Devon:I have many favorite authors. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Shakespeare continue to be top influences, always. I’ve been gorging myself on Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series lately — she’s the only contemporary writer I can think of who successfully uses third person omniscient without making the reader motion-sick. I enjoy Yasmine Galenorn, Juliet Blackwell, Donna Leon, John Dunning, Marc Fitten, Kevin Hearne, Nicole Peeler, Carol Shields, Thomas Mallon –the list goes on and on. I’m about to dive back into Emerson’s journals for a good long time.
Vikki:WHAT METHODS OF PUBLISHING HAVE YOU USED AND WHICH DO YOU PREFER?
Devon:I’ve mostly gone traditional publishing routes (although both print and digital), and I’ve got some of my shorter and more cross-genre work out independently. Both have their positives and negatives. I like the outside eyes that working with a traditional publisher provides, the editor (I’ve had some wonderful editors, I’m blessed), but they need to partner more in the marketing instead of dumping 90% on the author — we can’t sell it if we don’t have the breathing room to write it. I think that’s why so many authors are going independent — if the bulk of the work is on our shoulders anyway, why not? But if one is going to go independent, there still needs to be a schedule and the time and space to do good work and get outside eyes on it before it releases. That’s often next to impossible, for both financial and scheduling reasons.
Writers have the RIGHT to earn a living with their skills. We have bills to pay, and our skills are unique and viable, as much as any doctor or plumber. So this attitude that we should always do everything for free, that we don’t deserve to be paid for our WORK, has to change. No matter how much we love it, writing is still skilled work. We shouldn’t be punished because we love our jobs.
Vikki:ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Devon:There’s no such thing as “not time to write.” Writing is a choice. Not writing is a choice. If you “don’t have time” to write, you don’t want it badly enough. Books don’t write themselves. If you want to write, put your butt in the chair every day and WRITE. No excuses.
Devon was kind enough to send me a couple of excerpts from the books and I have to say they’ve definitely pricked my interest 🙂
Thanks again Devon, good luck with the new book and i will definitely be following your advice! 🙂 So what excuses do you come up with for not putting your butt in the chair? If you’re anything like me (the Queen of procrastination) just look what we’re missing out on! 😉
Wow, Devon Ellington is one busy writer! I’m so glad she emphasized how creating stories should have monetary value. I have my butt in that chair and I write because I love it, however, given the pittance I might someday get as compensation, it does get difficult to justify all the time I put into it.
Oh, and you wanted excuses. Usually I only stop writing when my eyes fall shut from exhaustion, so: Sleep. 🙂
She is isn’t she Kirsten 🙂
Thanks, and good for you honey xx
Great interview, Vikki 😉 Devon sounds fantastic and very inspirational! I really don’t have time to write at the moment, but very soon…
Thanks Dianne, she is isn’t she!
Is that your butt in the chair excuse? 😉
Sure is! LOL 😀
Thanks so much for hosting me. The buy link for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK is here:
You are VERY welcome Devon.
Good luck with the book!
Hopefully, my current publisher doesn’t think that my comments about how much the author shoulders of the marketing is a dig at them; it is not. It is a general comment on the state of the business right now, and something that is often discussed amongst writers trying to keep on top of it all.
Pingback: Fri. March 8, 2013: Life Lessons, Buy Links, Bilbio ICU, Snow, & Migraines | Ink In My Coffee
My main excuses for not writing are tiredness or too many distractions. It’s quite possible to override both things, if the project is interesting enough. For me, it’s most important to start writing as early in the day as possible and keeping the internet strictly off-limits during one’s allocated writing time (except for researching small oddments relevent to that work session). If I do anything that involves having to speak to too many people before getting down to writing, I find it really difficult to get into the mindset to work on my novel-in-progress, so I’ll probably write a haiku or tanka instead — most likely, composed in my head while out walking the dog — or do some editing on a piece of work already written.
I’m with you there Sarah, mornings are best for me too and I know what you mean when you say you need to get work on the WIP done first. I’m EXACTLY the same 🙂
Vikki, thanks for the introduction to Devon. I am a true lover of cross genre writers and enjoy the changing voice. Many also publish under other names, but sooner or later fans find the other names and follow them all. It’s a trap for new writers today … to go either traditional or indie. The decision has to be made based on the book and how readers will find them. And yes, it is not as it was years ago when publishers helped writers get the word out about their work.
Great advise … or as they say … Just Do It !!
Your welcome Florence 🙂
I hope you decide to check out Devonshire work.
I’m struggling with the “just do it” advice at the moment, but, it IS the best possible piece of advice any writer can get 🙂