So I got an amazing opportunity to get and interview from Ellen Allen the author of The Sham more information about the book will be coming soon. I’m lucky to being hosting my first giveaway ever of 5 copies of The Sham. There will be a link to that as well. Here is the interview even though I haven’t meant her in person most of the authors I talk to seem super nice and Ellen does to.
As I read up on her profile on goodreads and check out her website before I asked the questions. I think this is very important because you don’t want to ask something that has been already ‘answered’. There is a tip for people who do interviews do research if you can.
Question 1: How is South France? Is it nice there.
Answer: It’s always nice here! I can’t think of anything that I don’t love about living here:the language; the people; the wine; the food; the sea. It’s perfect!
Question 2: Did the settings and the places you have been affect the story of Sham?
Answer: The Sham is set in the fictional town of Clevesham in the Midlands, England. It’s based on many of the towns I know very well in that region along the river Avon, which floods quite a bit (a dead body is washed downriver in the local floods) and is close to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, where I spent a lot of time growing up. A pivotal scene in the book occurs at Shakespeare’s grave.
Question 3: What Inspired you to be a writer?
Answer: I never set out to be an author but I’ve always been writing: at school, it was often some sort of trilogy involving magic kingdoms and dwarfs (I loved Tolkien); throughout my teens, I religiously recorded monumental events in my diary but mostly filled it with inconsequential lists of things I had to do each day (have abath, feed the cat…); when I was pregnant with my daughter, I finally finished something serious. I wrote a play for the BBC. The play was rejected but it wasthe first time that I actually considered that I might be able to write because I received a really encouraging critique. Since then, I’ve written a few more plays as well as my first book, The Sham. It sounds a bit silly but I believe I do it because I simply can’t not write. I love the process and the sense of completion.
Question 4: Did your childhood affect you as an author?
Answer: There’s a well known saying that every book is autobiographical and of coursethat’s true; everything you write is a summation of things you’ve experienced and each one contains a little bit of you and your life. Conversely, it’s also true that whilst “all fiction may be autobiography, all autobiography is of course fiction” We bend the truth all the time and nowhere more so than in our writing. It’s all a composite; a jigsaw that we build in our heads.
Question 5: What was your favorite childhood memory?
Answer: My sixth birthday party. I’m in a buttercup yellow summer dress, eating chocolate cake and playing in the garden.
Question 6: Are you currently working on anything write now?
Answer: I don’t like to talk about the books that I’m currently writing in too much detail, partly because I feel silly talking about stories before they’re solidified in my head. It is YA, it is a thriller, but it involves a wider group of people who are brought together for a certain purpose. I’m really enjoying how it’s coming, partly because I’m at the point where I’m working out if all the twists and turns work and who’s who. I hope it will be out sometime next year.
Question 7: What made you decide to publish this nightmare that you wrote down?
Answer: I was looking for a story but all the ideas I had didn’t seem to have enough “legs” to last a whole book. As soon as I’d calmed down after my nightmare, I started to write it down. It scared me so much that I knew it was an idea that I couldn’t let go.
Question 8: What is the hardest thing about being a self-published author?
Answer: Well, you go through months of editing, formatting, proofing, designing the bookcover, etc. and then it’s released and you realise that you haven’t even started the hard work yet! There are over a million books on amazon and it’s hard work to get people to read mine. That said, I find it really rewarding because you know that you’ve done everything yourself. So you can really celebrate when you manage to link people to the book. Then they just have to like it…
Question 9: What was the best advice you got when you were a kid? The
Answer:The best – “Enjoy your childhood. You’ll never have it so good.” It’s true. You don’t have any responsibilities and you can just play and play.
The worst – “Enjoy your childhood. You’ll never have it so good.” It’s great while you’re young but life just gets better and better as you get older. You have more control over it and it’s much more rewarding and fun.
10) What are your plans for the future in writing?
Answer: The Sham is my first book so long-term, I just hope to keep writing, find the readers and get better.
11) What would you say to aspiring authors?
Answer: I’m new to this so I don’t really feel qualified to offer advice to anyone. Instead, I’ll offer up the advice from others that I’m following religiously:
a) As Stephen King most famously says, “reading is writing”. You need to be reading widely and voraciously to write well. I have a non-writing job, so I find it hard to find the time to read as much as I should. The 2014 reading challenge on Goodreads has been great for helping me keep track of how many books I’m getting through and what’s next on my list.
b) Lionel Shriver – one of my favourite authors – was asked what the best advice was for new authors and she put it well: “Don’t turn it into a mystical process. Just get on with it!” You have to be disciplined, dogmatic, stubborn and organised to be a jobbing writer. I try not to think about the rest – the doubts about talent, whether anyone will read it – and I just get on with it. I want it to be my career, so I treat it as if it is.
c) There is tons of writing advice out there that isn’t very good – the irony in reading writing advice that isn’t well written! You can spend hours trawling through it, but it’s distracting and time wasting. Find a few blogs that you rate, a few sites that you trust, follow a few similar writers, watch how they progress and then – you guessed it – get on with it.
12) Who is your favorite author? And why?
Answer: I have lots of favourites: for dark teen issues, you can’t go wrong with anything by Laurie Halse Anderson; for literary fiction, my favourite is The Secret History by Donna Tartt – she writes characters that stay with you long after you finish her books; if I want comfort reading, I’ll read To Kill A Mockingbird or any Jane Austen; and no one can scare me as much as Stephen King.
13) What is your favorite series? And why?
Answer: I don’t have one. I tend to prefer standalone books, partly as I’ve yet to find a series where the quality and ideas are constant across all the books. I’m keen to find one though, so let me have your recommendations please…
14) If you had to do one thing over again in your life what would that be?
Answer: I don’t think you should regret anything (unless, of course, you’ve done something truly awful…) although there are definitely moments when I was younger that I think could have played better. I’m going to keep these to myself!
15) Did you always live in South France? If yes, then what is your favorite part? If no, then where did you live before that and did that affect you as a person?
Answer: I lived in London before I moved to France. They say that if “you’re tired of London, then you’re tired of life” and it really does have everything that you need or want… except the weather and the local wine! Living in a big city, you have to move at the city’s pace and life is so hectic. We’re definitely on a different speed now – much more relaxed and slow. I think this obviously affects me as a person.
16) What made you decide to be a self-published author? And why?
Answer: I like the idea that I can make all the decisions myself (even though it’s hardwork) and when I get something right, it’s very rewarding.
17) How do you deal with writers block?
Answer: If I can’t write anything, it’s usually because I haven’t thought through my ideas enough. Sometimes the best thing can just be to do everything other than writing… letting ideas just sit in your brain or reading, reading, reading. Sometimes a good book can spark other ideas in your head and set me off…
18) Is hard to write with a small child in the house?
Answer: It used to be hard to find the time but not as much anymore. My daughter is 7 now and so she’s at school a lot of the time. I try not to be working in the afternoons (when we hang out together); I start back on the computer or get into a book when she’s in bed.
Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as “The Sham”, with her boyfriend, Jack, but he’s very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He’s also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months’ ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily’s classmates washed up in the local floods.
Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they’re pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.
WARNING: this book is unsuitable for younger teenage readers. It depicts adult situations, murder scenes, conversations about sex and profanity.
For more information about Ellen and where to find her out here are the following websites.
Amazon author page:
The Sham on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22879003-the-sham
Ellen Allen Twitter: https://twitter.com/EllenWritesAll
Ellen Allen Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllenWritesAll
Ellen Allen’s writing blog: www.writingright.net
Click the following link to enter the giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway