© 2013 Clive Eaton
Eli Hinze is a high school student born and raised in Texas. She grew up with a love of fiction, and in her younger years was always either reading or creating stories of her own. Thankfully, that has never changed.
Despite picking up other hobbies such as martial arts and studying multiple languages, writing has stayed closest to her heart. She published No Angels, her debut novel, at age sixteen. Collapsed Cathedrals, the second instalment, is slated for release in mid-2013.
Book title: No Angels.
Liz Patrona never expected to lose her normal life completely. She never expected
that people's memories of her would vanish or that all records of her existence would
disappear. She never expected to be stolen away to a city beneath the desert. And
she definitely didn't expect to be told she was the God-chosen barrier between the
common man and paranormal threats.
Liz is a teenager perfectly happy with her mediocrity, that is, before she's taken by a peculiar group of people and forced into a role she never imagined, - and definitely doesn’t want. Distinguishing illusions from reality, realizing her abilities as a pyrokinetic, and keeping otherworldly objects from the hands of normal folk are only some of the things that await her. Prepared for this by her new mentor, a rude, possibly sadistic, but oddly attracting man, Liz braces herself for what is to come. But many an unknown thing lurks here, and what she doesn't know may just kill her.
What do you do to relax when you are not writing?
I'm not sure I know how to relax, really. I always feel like I'm wasting my time if I'm not doing something, so when I'm not writing I usually study or work out. The only truly relaxing activity I take part in is reading, though that can be an ordeal in and of itself.
What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?
The stories my father read me when I was young pushed me towards it, I think. They had a profound impact on me. Even with his hectic work schedule, he always found time to read to me, from Aesop's Fables to The Chronicles of Narnia. I found them wildly entertaining, and wanted to captivate people in the way that I had been. My writing is a result of that desire.
What or who inspired you to write your current novel?
I can't recall a specific thing or person that inspired me, since I first wrote what would become No Angels in the fourth grade, (though it has obviously matured greatly over the years.) All I remember is that I was interested in Egypt, where the story takes place, and wanted to see a strong female protagonist I could identify with. From that, everything else arose.
Tell us three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) Each name in the book gives a peek into either a character's personality or life.
2) The oldest character in the book is over one thousand years old.
3) There is a cave-like chamber that will either radiate shimmering pastel colors, or go stark black depending on the intent of the person inside it.
What research did you need to do for this book?
I had to get a basic feel for Cairo, as well as some of its tourist attractions. I also had to take a very close look at its airport; I can't even tell you how long I spent looking through Cairo International Airport's online photo gallery. Also, I had to brush up on various religious and mythological trivia.
Are any elements/characters of your book based on real life experiences or people you’ve met/known?
The main antagonist's name is similar to that of someone who used to harass me in elementary school. Also, a lot of the fighting techniques and tricks in the book are based off my martial arts knowledge, since I have years of experience. Aside from that, I wanted the story to be relatively distanced from my day-to-day reality.
Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress.
I'm currently working on the final instalment in the No Angels trilogy, though you're
probably asking for something a bit different than what we've already been talking
I have two ideas I plan to tackle after No Angels. One explores the roots of the main character's suffering as well as the human condition, and is a bit of a psychological acid trip. The second idea is under the steampunk genre and deals with a world built on tiers, each divided up based off of social class.
What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book?
Being my first novel, I didn't have a defined process that I worked with. From the time I wrote it in fourth grade, I kept fleshing the ideas out in my head as I grew older, wrote it all down again, and completed the official first draft when I was thirteen. From there I edited it a total of twelve times, including the edits/input from beta readers, until I had a product I was satisfied with.
What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?
I cannot have a computer near me at all. I become far too distracted. Everything I write, I write by hand initially, and then copy it over to a computer. And though this isn't a material thing, it needs to be dead silent. I also need a blanket to wrap around myself, regardless of the temperature.
What prompted you to self-publish your current book?
At the time I wanted to publish No Angels, my life was simply too hectic to pursue traditional publishing. I didn't think I could handle query letters and agents and even more potential deadlines. Sure, I had sent out query letters, but even keeping up with those was a challenge.
What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Time. I'm an extremely busy person, so finding time to sit down and write was near impossible for quite a while.
2) . . . Internet. I used to go on the computer to research something and, well, usually wound up looking at Grumpy Cat photos. I've actually had to put a block on my computer that locks me out of social media sites after a set amount of time every day.
3) Being too wordy. I'm very descriptive in my writing, so sometimes I go overboard and need to make a conscious effort to reign it in.
Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point. How do you overcome it?
I just write. I'll force myself through it, even if I hate every word that's coming out. If I don't like it, I can always change it later, but at least then I have something to work with as opposed to nothing.
What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?
Again, write. Just do it, because it's not going to magically materialize for you. Don't sit there and plan and plan for hours on end either, then never get around to actually writing anything. Just write. Keep edits of anything you want to change content or wording-wise for later.
What genre does your book fall into?
How did you get interested in this specific genre?
I had enjoyed fantasy for years, but many of the books I was reading were lacking a certain, unnamed something. A spark that I didn't find until I came across the YA urban fantasy novel “City of Bones”. I loved that it blended fantasy into the modern world, had more snarky characters than I was used to, and so on. From then on out, YA fantasy had me in its grip.
You as a reader
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) J. K. Rowling. Though I had already started writing before I read any of her work, she inspired me to keep trucking forward.
2) Homer. The sheer variety of plot lines mixed into a single epic, combined with such raw emotion and prose changed the way I thought about writing in a way I can't fully explain.
3) Cassandra Clare. I was slowly becoming disenchanted with the literary world, coming across one too many terrible books, but her works yanked me (violently) right back in, and exposed me to my first dose of YA lit, which is now the genre I primarily write in today.
What was your favourite book as a child?
What kind of failure would I be to my generation if I didn't say Harry Potter? In all seriousness, if I was to add up every time I'd read each individual book, the total would come to roughly thirty five.
What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?
Life of Pi.
What was the last book you recommended to a friend, and why did you think it was worthy of recommendation?
The Picture of Dorian Gray. It's an elegant classic, without being pretentious, plus has lovely writing and momentum. I also love the sinister, dark quality of the main character.
Kindle (or other e-reader) or paperback, and why?
I've tried adapting to my Kindle, but print will always be number one in my book. eReaders are useful for reading the work of indie authors who don't have their books in print, but overall I'd rather contribute to my growing library. Plus I prefer the look and feel of paperback.
Hollywood is calling
You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why?
For Liz I'd choose Evanna Lynch. She seems to have a decent amount of spunk to her, without being too in your face about it. Truth be told, she doesn't look much like Liz to me, but so far I haven't been able to find anyone that does. Riven's appearance was almost based entirely off the actor Ben Barnes, who is a fantastically versatile actor as well.
The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it?
Two Steps from Hell, easily.
Drink – Water! Nothing as refreshing as that.
Meal – Honey glazed salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts.
Holiday destination – South Korea
TV programme – Doctor Who
Film – Life of Pi
Method of travel – Bike
Sport – Muay Thai or Judo
How can people connect with you?
Authors always appreciate feedback and comments. Please leave your comments by using the following link: Author Feedback/Comments - Thank you.
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