Today, we chat about getting into writing with Rhiannon Ellis, author of the upcoming novel Bonded in Brazil.
How did you get into writing?Rhiannon Ellis is looking forward to her first novel's release in March 2011. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their two children. She is also the proud stepmom of a preteen. When Rhiannon isn't writing, cleaning house or chasing her kids around, she can most often be found curled up with her e-reader, taking pleasure in one of the many genres she loves. She and her husband enjoy visiting casinos, are avid followers of politics, and are devoted fans of Wisconsin's basketball team--the Milwaukee Bucks. You can visit her at her blog, and we look forward to seeing Rhiannon again here as her release date draws nearer!
I remember it clearly. The moment I knew I wanted to write was in the third grade. All students had to write a poem using their full names. No easy task when your name is Rhiannon Virginia Hill. I scribbled something down in about five minutes and forgot about it until I heard my name over the loudspeaker a few weeks later. My poem had won second place! I've wanted to be a writer ever since. At the time, I think it was the recognition and the feeling that I was good at something that sparked my interest. This is one of the reasons I know how important it is that we impact our children early and encourage their passions.
When did you decide to make the move to "published"?
I've always had a knack for bad timing. I decided to get serious about writing and seek publication two years ago--I had a two year old and a six month old at the time! Yikes! Needless to say, laundry was neglected for the two months it took me to pen my first novel. I got an offer from an agent six months later and accepted representation from Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She was new to the literary agent scene and took a chance on little ole me.
How did you find the experience of seeking a publisher?
There have been ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade a single second of it. Even the rejections reminded me that I was a part of something very special. The hardest part for me has been the feedback that comes along with those Rs. They can be all across the board and very confusing! One editor will love the prose but feel disconnected from the characters. Another publisher will love the characters but feel the pacing was slow. One publishing house pushes the manuscript all the way to the acquisitions department, while another will turn their nose up at the first three chapters. I had to keep in mind what a subjective business this is and keep going.
What did it feel like when the acceptance notice came?
My first book was never offered a contract, but my second, Bonded In Brazil, was picked up by Camel Press last month. Virtually all contact nowadays is done via email. So, when my agent emailed me one night around 10pm and asked when would be a good time to call, I KNEW! I couldn't sleep, felt like puking the next morning, paced around like a mad woman until the phone finally rang. I was a mess! Of course that all faded and turned to relief and excitement.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, and it's very simple: Read often, write often. Always be improving. Don't give up.