Thursday, April 25, 2013

Author Interview: Elizabeth Otto

Yay! I just love author appreciation Thursdays! Today, we have the fabulous Elizabeth Otto with us. Elizabeth is awesome! We met in the WrAHM group a while back and it's been great watching such a deserving lady succeed! I've never met a harder working writer. She writes like a mad woman and does an amazing job! Let's get to it!

What inspired you to start writing?

To be honest, I’m not really sure. I’ve just always written. I was an early reader, and my parents didn’t restrict me from reading certain genres or titles, so I had a varied early reading experience. My mother said I was asking her to write stories, that I recited to her, before I knew how to write words, so I guess I was just born with the drive to be a storyteller.

Can you tell us a little about signing with your agent?

Sure! I have to say, that my story is one that makes other writers a little angsty, because my querying days were short and sweet. Trust me—I know stories like this are both frustrating and encouraging. I was lucky to land my agent ten days after I started querying my book. The contemporary romance market was hot just then, apparently, because my query garnered eight full requests within the first five days, and ten days later, I had offers. I choose my agent, Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates, firstly, because she truly loved the book, and mostly because of her past deals, current client list and eagerness to help plan my career as a writer. 

If it helps, I did query my adult paranormal romance BLOOD OF ISIS for several months without much interest, before deciding to give up on the agent search, and sign it to a small publisher. I think having a fresh book, in the right market at the right time, helped me snag my agent the second time around. 

What has the editing process been like for you?

Enlightening! I had no idea what went into taking a book from a draft to the polished edition you get on your Kindle or hold in your hand. When you finish your book and think you’re done—yeah, you’re not really done. The first two passes of content edits are rough because you may end up changing the meat and bones of your story. I’ve been blessed with great editors so far, who have offered great insight into making my books better. Copyedits have shown me just how badly my grammar sucks! LOL

What books do you have coming out? 

My debut paranormal romance, BLOOD OF ISIS, debuted on April 5th.  I have a contemporary romance series, PAINT RIVER COWBOYS, coming from Entangled Publishing’s Indulgence line starting with book #1 in October, 2013 (titles are being changed, so I can’t announce them just yet).  The second and third book in that series will launch in January and April, 2014. People interested in my upcoming releases can find an up-to-date announcement schedule on my blog or Facebook page. 

I love #traumafiction! How did you come up with such a great idea?

Thank you! I actually can’t take credit for coming up with the idea for TraumaFiction (just the name). My critique partners encouraged me to do it, after we had several discussions in our group on the lack of adequate medical information for writers.

The idea behind TraumaFiction is to give writers a resource for finding realistic medical advice for their fiction. Need to know how or where to shoot/stab your character without killing him? Need to know how to set a broken arm in the middle of a forest? TraumaFiction helps with that and so much more. Every Tuesday at 10 am CST, I host a different medical topic—from diseases, to treatments, to trauma and more—and people are encouraged to follow along and jump in at ANY time with questions. Even if the questions aren’t related to the weekly topic. Viewers can use the #traumafiction hashtag to follow along. 

As a career emergency medical technician, I get really annoyed when I read a book in which the medical or injury scenes are anything but believable. I mean, we should at least try to lend some credibility to what we create, right? I hope to help with that. Very soon, I’ll have a backlist of medical topics on my blog that are readily accessible.

Do you have any secret writing habits?

I’m a panster. Not sure if that’s a secret anymore, but I very rarely outline a story before I dive into it. I do utilize the Save the Cat beat sheet to help organize major plot points and the ending, but that’s it—and rare. I also try to fast draft. This lets me get ideas out of my head very quickly, and then I go back in several sweeps to add layers and depth to the story. Generally, I can complete a fast draft in a couple of weeks and have a polished manuscript in about eight weeks.

What's next for you?

I’m currently working on a novella that my agent and I plan to put on submission soon. I’m also working on story lines for a three-book contemporary romance with paranormal elements, and hope to have the first one ready for submission this fall. I plan on being a career author, so I’m sure I’ll always have something in the works.

Elizabeth's links:

Pick up BLOOD OF ISIS today!

Passion isn’t the only thing that burns…

When a designer drug rocks the small town of New Brighton and makes junkies spontaneously combust, Paramedic Jayda Swenson suspects the worst. The super-methamphetamine her husband created before his death has resurfaced. She’s worked hard to create a safe, tidy life and put her meth-ravaged past—and her secrets—behind her. But when tourists start disappearing and charred body remains crop up, Jayda learns the hard way that this drug doesn’t just fry people’s minds—it also fuels demons.

Sexy new medic Ben Tierney is a demon-hunter in disguise, but his demon-busting powers don’t work so well anymore…until he realizes Jayda’s touch can refuel the energy he’s lost—a touch she’s not so willing to dish out. Now Jayda finds herself wedged between an ancient demon that knows her past and her secret, and Ben, who has plenty of secrets of his own. He’s willing to help—for a price—but Jayda’s not sure if it’s a price she’s willing to pay…

2 secret replies:

  1. LOVE that cover. It's gorgeous! And the title is equally as awesome. ^_^

    Congratulations, Elizabeth! It's my life's dream to stop worrying long enough to get a story written that fast. Thanks for letting me know that it is indeed possible...I'm not crazy.