This was an interview conducted by Undiscovered Publishing blogger Thomas Neil with aspiring author Ella Medeiros.
Thomas: Tell me about yourself? And what made you want to be a writer?
Ella: For me, storytelling comes as naturally as breathing. I can remember making up stories and telling them to my younger brother even as a little kid. I’m certain that my love of writing came from my love of reading. When I was little, my parents always encouraged me to read as much as possible and that definitely translated into my becoming a writer.
My first attempt at writing a story was all the way back in the fifth grade. Now as a twenty-year-old in college, it’s nice to see how my writing has changed and improved throughout the years. I’m looking forward to see where life takes me and my stories.
Thomas: What attracted you to the particular genre you are involved in? And do you stick with it consistently or do you change it up?
Ella: My current work-in-progress is an urban fantasy novel. That’s not a genre I’ve seen a lot of even as an avid reader. I’ve always loved the idea of magic and modern life coexisting. It raised a lot of questions like how it would affect everyday life. But as much as I love the genre, I don’t write it exclusively. I’ve dabbled in everything from spy thrillers and mystery to romance. I think it’s a good idea for all writers to try new styles and genres. You never know if you’ll find something you like.
Thomas: What is your writing process like? And how important is research to you when writing a book?
Ella: My writing process is bit chaotic, but it usually follows this path. Randomly, I’ll have a character idea, sometimes it’ll be inspired by a real person, event, or sometimes even a dream. But as soon as I have an idea, I immediately write it down in what I call my “Idea Journal,” which is just a glorified $0.99 notebook. Over time I’ll develop this character and give them life. To me, the characters are the most important part of any story. Your plot could be bland, repetitive, or cheesy, but as long the characters feel real to me I can ignore any problems with the plot.
After the characters are created, I begin on their story. Sometimes it can take me months to create an appropriate concept for them. While I above all want to have good characters, I also want to create a plot that helps them grow into the best versions of themselves. Usually while doing this I’ll grab that notebook and make simple plot outlines and note various devices that could be used. For example, long before I began writing my current project I had decided to use character descriptions and detail to help convey an idea of identity throughout the work. I believe that if someone desires to implement something similar to this it is very important to plan it out prior to beginning writing.
That being said, while I figure out these devices and themes out very early, I prefer to begin writing with a very bare outline of the plot. I like the feeling of being free to add scenes without being restricted by an outline.
As for the actual writing, I always put on some on some of my favorite music and begin work. Actually, I’ve had to stop listening to slow music when I write because I find myself typing along with the tempo of the music.
Additionally, I believe that research is extremely important. There are very few things as irritating as incorrect information. If you want your work to be respected, it starts first with research. For example, my current project takes place in Chicago. As someone who resides in New England, I have no idea what it’s like living there. So I’ve spent countless hours wandering the city on google maps and researching what Chicago residents think of the city. Research is what makes the story and characters believable.
Thomas: Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? And do you have any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Ella: Personal experience reminds me that writer’s block is very real and very annoying. Usually I get writer’s block towards the end of each semester. Being a junior in college means that even when I have a bit of time to breathe, I’m so exhausted that I can’t gather the motivation or the inspiration to write.
I usually deal with this by either listening to upbeat music or by reading. Usually doing this puts me back into the mood to write. And other times you just have to force yourself through it. That sucks but it’s necessary to not let that lack of motivation control you.
Thomas: So tell me about what you’ve written, and has it been published?
Ella: Currently, I have nothing published. However, I’m currently working on my debut novel and already have several short stories that I’d like to post online. I’m hoping to post those short stories within the next two weeks but that could change if my school workload dictates otherwise.
I try to stick with fiction and short stories though I have dabbled in poetry without much success. I would love to give poetry another shot in the future though.
Thomas: Where can potential fans find your work?
Ella: Right now none of my work is available online. However, I am planning to release short stories on the site Wattpad under the username @crazycatstories. I know it’s a strange name, but I like to blame that on the fact that it was 3am when I created the profile and not on the fact that I’m a crazy cat lady in the making.
Thomas: Are you working on something at the moment? And can you tell us anything about your current projects?
Ella: I am! I’m currently working on the first draft of my debut novel whose working title is currently Et Morte Pueri, which translates to The Death Child. Like I mentioned earlier, this is an urban fantasy novel that takes place in an alternate version of our world.
The story follows Fae, a young woman who blindly follows the orders given to her. Throughout the story, she struggles to discover her identity outside of her duties all while struggling with idea of right, wrong, and that small grey area between.
Here’s the synopsis: “Those the gods have blessed have a duty to protect the innocent. She has never questioned this. She has never questioned the judgement of the Judges, and she has given them everything. But when she is asked to betray her most precious beliefs, she must break free of the chains that have bound her identity since her beginning.”
Thomas: How active are you on social media? And if you have social media as an author/for your books then please share links?
Ella: I’m very active on twitter and spend way too much time there. I can be found there @ellaella_books. I love meeting new people who share common interests with me there!
Thomas: Tell me about some writers you really like and/or admire?
Ella: Growing up I always loved writers like Ally Carter, who I know best for writing the Gallagher Girls Series, and Erin Hunter, who shocked eight-year-old me by turning out to be four different people. They are definitely some of my biggest inspirations for becoming a writer. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve fallen in love with the works of classical writers like Jane Austen as well as those of Katherine Arden, who is one of my favorite writers of all time.
Thomas: What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?
Ella: Just keep writing. No matter how discouraged you feel, just write. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by what others say. Writing everyday creates habits. Those habits make you a better writer every day. It’s hard, but the result is so worth it. Don’t give up.
Thomas: And let’s end with something a little different…Which of your character(s) would you take with you to spend the night in a haunted house? Why?
Ella: If I had to pick any character, it would definitely be one from my current project. Arrow, who is a close friend of the main character, is a very kind person and hates to see anyone upset. He would definitely make sure that i’m safe and cheerful throughout the entire night. Though I can’t guarantee he wouldn’t “accidentally” burn down the house, ghosts and all, later.