Monday, October 17, 2011

Special Guest Elliot Grace

Today, I'm spotlighting a wonderful and talented writer, Elliot Grace. His book, SOUTH OF CHARM, was released a few months ago. Elliot's writing is beautiful. I would advise you to check out his blog and his book.

1. When did you start writing journey?

          -Back in the days when a "compact" computer was roughly the size of a small dump truck, and when one considered him/herself lucky to have all three channels available on the family Zenith...okay, perhaps not that long ago, but it feels as such.  When I was in the third grade, I entered a short story into a school writing contest during Right to Read Week.  "Terror Castle," took home first place, and was later read aloud to the entire student body by an actual published children's author who paid us a visit at week's end.  There are moments during everyone's life that one can look back upon and say, "That's when everything changed."  For me it was that day, listening to my words being read aloud by an actual writer.  And I knew...  
        2. What inspires your writing?

          -As writers, it's a necessity to be sensitive to the smallest of life's daily occurrences.  To be mentally prepared for an idea to spring from the mundane, for there's no warning before lightning strikes.  During my son's track meet last spring, under dreary skies and a steady drizzle that made for an otherwise forgettable afternoon, I watched a teenage girl run the two hundred meter dash with the grace of a gazelle, and thought to myself that if the challenge were to arise, she'd give the boys a run for their money.  She reminded me of a thoroughbred at the derby, with her measured strides, frigid air billowing through a set of clenched teeth.  And I thought, "A girl named Derby, with the talent for speed..."  And while those around me grumbled for something dry to ward off the cold, I was busy piecing together a story.  In a nutshell, that's how it most often works for me.

3.     3. Who is your favorite author?     

          -As a youngster, it was Terry Brooks, Robert Cormier, and C.S. Lewis.  I read every piece of their work that I could get my hands on.  Nowadays, I'm a fan of John Sandford, Cormac McCarthy, Neil Gaiman, and whatever bestsellers the King Family manages to churn out, (Stephen and his son, Joe Hill :)   

4.       4. What sparked the idea for South of Charm?

          -"South of Charm" is loosely based on events that shaped my childhood.  Back in the days of small town magic, when family's dealt with dysfunction together, rather than turning to a judge for direction.  My goal was to capture how it felt to be a ten year old boy once again.  A youngster forced into dealing with some very mature situations, and how his actions, the choices he makes, change the very foundation of the only type of lifestyle he's ever known. 
5.       5. Could you tell us a little bit about the journey of South of Charm? When you started it to release day.

          -Sometimes it feels as though "South of Charm" has been a part of me since childhood, waiting around until the time was right to jot it down.  In between the raising of two ornery boys, it took me three years to finish a manuscript worthy of sending out.  Following the usual list of rejections, I met David Wiesenberg by chance, at a local book fair while speaking to one of the featured writers on hand, not realizing that he was an editor for Wooster Books.  I pitched him my story, just a quick summary off the top of my head.  A few days later he emailed me, requesting a full read.  I was signed by the end of the month, and after nearly two years of editing and rewrites, "South of Charm" rests on many shelves in and around my home state of Ohio.

6.       6. Any advice for a beginner?

          -Stephenie Meyer's fast track to success should not frustrate those who are passionate about one day seeing their work on Wal-Mart shelves.  For some it takes years, for others, decades.  And everyone's story to publication is unique in its very own measure of success.  For all of us though, whether still collecting those rejection letters, or on the brink of signing that first contract, patience is a necessary evil for scaling the publication summit.  I liken the process to raising kids...if done in haste, and with little nurturing along the way, the end result will most likely never leave your doorstep ;)

      Thanks so much, Christine.  That was fun!    

      Thank you Elliot! You can purchase SOUTH OF CHARM here and check out Elliot's blog So Close, but... 
      So go check it out.
     Have a great day!!


  1. I'm a big fan of Terry Brooks as well. And remember when a set of needlenose pliers doubled as a channel changer on those old Zenith TVs?

  2. OMGosh, Elliot. A Compact? That made me laugh and picture my Dad's old Tandy Computer. Talk about archaic. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Best of luck to you.

  3. Thanks for the interview Christine. Elliot, I love how you've managed to say something different in each interview I've read.

  4. I love Neil Gaiman's writing!

    Enjoyed reading this interview. :)

  5. I was surprised this morning when I read on Elliot's blog that you're an interior designer. I didn't know that.

  6. "As writers, it's a necessity to be sensitive to the smallest of life's daily occurrences."

    From this line alone, I can tell he is a beautiful writer.

    Great interview!

  7. Hey Alex, needlenose pliers clasped to the channel changer! Oh the memories!

    Hey Salarsen, I can still remember the old Tandy sitting like a beached whale in my buddy's basement...taking up the entire desk. Thanks for stopping by ;)

    Hey Sarah, thanks so much for your kind words, it's been a fun ride!

    Hey Eagle, Gaiman is indeed a master of the trade. Thanks for your thoughts ;)

    Hey Stina, from what I understand, Miss Christine can make magic from the mundane.

    Hey Alleged, Thanks so much for the compliment. Very kind of you ;)

    Hey Christine, the interview was a blast, thanks so much!


  8. Excellent interview, Christine and Elliot. Neil Gaiman is also one of my favorite authors. HBO is making a series out of his AMERICAN GODS. I hope they do it justice.

    Your writing is soul-touching and evocative. I am enjoying SOUTH OF CHARM. Roland

  9. I've owned a few Zenith's - not all of them remote control :)

    I still love Terry Brooks novels. I haven't read Neil Gaiman yet (and I have at least two of his novels sitting on my shelf).