In the fall of my seventeen year I was having what felt like a nervous breakdown. My family had been torn apart, I was on the run from State’s custody, and I found myself going stir-crazy in the tiny apartment I was hiding out in. The only real enjoyment I had was my Sunday drive. Every Sunday me and a friend would drive over the top of Mount Green, the views were breath taking, awe inspiring, and had a way of making me forget who I was. On one such Sunday we nearly crashed and in that moment I couldn’t help but wonder, in lieu of all my family’s lies, if in death I would be privy to all the secrets they kept from me.
Thus Castigate My Sins was born. Five teenagers, symbolizing five different problems I was facing, were created and slowly a story was formed. Unfortunately, as time can often be vicious in nature, I lost the original script and stopped writing for more than fifteen years. Then, while looking through my old things, I found my diary which mentioned the story, (the original title was Stairway In-between Heaven and Hell), and all at once the vision of the characters came back and I knew I had to rewrite the novel.
How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
When I was sixteen I had a teacher who made me read WORKING by Studs Terkel in order to see how dynamically different people are. After that anytime I wanted to write a story, be it short or long, I would first create a profile on each person. I not only put down their physical appearance and age, I put down their hopes, dreams, wishes, past, present, and future. In this I can give my characters a heart, which in turn makes them real to me and translates into unique characters for the reader.
I always hide a small message in my writing. In this book I wanted to show how blurry the line between right and wrong can really be. Parents often think they are protecting their children by keeping secrets, and yet, in the case of this book, the fact that there is a secret is what destroys the heart and souls of these teenagers.
How has your background influenced your writing?
Write what you know. I live by these words. I keep track of feelings, situations, and what I should have and could have done differently. I think a diary, journal, or at least a notebook is an absolute need for a writer.
What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
I have a horribly hectic schedule, but who doesn’t nowadays. I strive to write every day, even if it is only a page.
What are you working on right now?
I am writing a horror slash suspense novel called Soul Distortion; I have a small excerpt on my website and hope to have the book completed before the end of the year. (www.eliciaclegg.com)
What was the first story you remember writing?
When I was in second grade I wrote a story about a skinny turkey that fell in love with a plump turkey. It was coming up on Thanksgiving and because the skinny turkey loved the plump turkey so much, and knew the farmer was going to eat her for Thanksgiving, he ate and ate and ate until he was the biggest turkey in the entire town. In the end he died, but died happy because he had saved the love of his life.
What’s been the most surprising part of being a writer?
The most surprising, and hardest part of being a writer is grammar/spelling and all the criticism you will get. If I post on a social website, even a short twitter, and spell or make a grammar mistake, I don’t hear the end of it. People can be very nasty, so one must learn how to never make a mistake, or take critics in stride.
What do you like to read?
I try to read every genre (with a few exceptions) and explore a diverse population of Authors. I believe if the story came from the heart, it is worth a read. Though I will admit my absolute favorites are thrillers. I love when I start furiously reading pages in order to find out what is going to happen next. Nothing beats the feeling of not being able to put a book down because you are lost in the story.
What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker; it is a beautiful work of art.
How have you marketed and promoted your work?
I have a degree in business administration, so I made up a Marketing Plan, and then broke it down into a more manageable list. Here is an example of a list of things to do:
Write letter to send to reviewers
Compile list of reviewers
Write Press release
Compile Media list
If your readers would like an example of a full Marketing Plan, I would be more than happy to send them a copy via email or post an example.
Have you written any other books?
I have two other titles: Vexation, released on March 2010, and Running with Chaos, to be released in December 2011.
Where can people learn more about your books?
Please visit my website www.eliciaclegg.com