It is time for part two of my involvement in author Jessi Elliott’s blog tour! This tour surrounds the release of her second novel, Twisted Gift, which just came out on the 21st of this month. Today’s post is fun for me as it’s an interview with the author herself. Now in order to accomplish this, as one – we live in different countries, and two – she has a lot of interviews to do. The best option was for me to e-mail her my list of questions and she responded to each of them. So as you continue on to reading the actual interview, I would like to note that I am leaving her words as she wrote them.
For those of you who don’t know who Jessi Elliott is, let me help fill you in a bit. By day she is a law clerk and by night (or really anytime of the day for that matter) she is an Amazon Best-Selling author of New Adult-Romantic fiction. Her debut Twisted series does have some Urban Fantasy elements mixed in, which I personally found quite enjoyable. I first heard about Elliott through her involvement with another Indie Author Kristen Martin. Jessi was a guest in Kristen’s home back in April for an “Author-Tube Retreat” the two of them did with a handful of other Indie Authors.
During that Author-Tube retreat all of the participating Authors did several collaborated videos for their channels. It was after seeing an interview she did on Natalia Leigh’s channel that I found myself intrigued to read Jessi’s debut Twisted Fate. Since I am a reader who loves to check out new authors – and over the past couple of years especially, is finding more enjoyment stepping out of my normal reading comfort zones to check out even more books.
When I read Elliott’s first book Twisted Fate, I was surprised with how much I enjoyed reading anything that fell into the ‘romance’ genre to any degree. So when this opportunity arose to not only get to review her latest book, but to interview her as well I jumped at the opportunity. Plus I’ve never participated in a blog tour before and I thought this would be a really fun and neat experience.
So now without further ado, let’s head into the interview!
JANE RIDGEWOOD: Congratulations on the release of your new book, Twisted Gift. How does it feel to be a published author with two books officially under your belt?
JESSI ELLIOTT: Thank you so much! It still feels surreal. I think publishing two books in the same year is a little crazy as someone just starting out in my writing career essentially, but it’s made me so incredibly happy.
RIDGEWOOD: At what point did you know you were going to be an Indie Author, verses a traditionally published one?
ELLIOTT: I knew when I decided to publish Twisted Fate that at least this series would be self published. New adult is still a tough sell with agents, and I didn’t want to waste time querying and going through that process when I knew I could get it into the hands of people who would enjoy it myself. That’s not to say I won’t pursue traditional publishing in the future, because I would love to journey down both paths, but for now, indie publishing is where I’m happy with my work.
Do you have any plans to pursue traditional publishing in the future, and why?
As I said above, yes, of course. I would love to be able to experience both, that way, I can speak about both. I love sharing my knowledge and experiences with other writers. Helping others in the community brings me so much joy. Personally, I’m also curious of the differences between them.
What was your initial inspiration for the Twisted series?
The idea of a young human woman being kidnapped by the fae was where it all started.
How many books in total are you planning for this series?
It’s a duology. At least, Aurora and Tristan’s story is…
As you feature light and dark Fae, what kind of research did you do before starting the series?
This is probably not going to be a popular answer, but I didn’t. The mythology I use is either fairly common knowledge or purely made up.
Is there a specific character in the Twisted series that you personally relate to?
I think there’s a little bit of me in each of the characters.
Has your writing process changed after publishing your first book, Twisted Fate?
I definitely try to outline more. As much as I dislike that part of the writing process, I understand and can appreciate its importance.
So many people ask for the best, so I’m going to ask… What is the worst piece of writing advice you ever received?
You have to write every day to be successful.
Why didn’t it work for you as a writer?
I don’t believe that for a second. Different people find success in different methods. Use what works for you and forget everything else.
Who are your favorite authors that you admire and look up to the most?
Jennifer L. Armentrout is my literary idol. I’m looking forward to meeting her at Apollycon in 2019! I’m totally going to fangirl, haha.
How have they influenced you as an author?
I definitely pull a lot of inspiration from the tone of her stories. I also love that she’s not afraid to write in a variety of genres, which is what I hope to do eventually.
What has been your best experience as an Author thus far?
Meeting other writers! I started a writing retreat this year called Wander Writers Retreat, which quickly turned into an annual event. Meeting people who truly get this passion is incredible.
At what point did you decide to join the Author-Tube community, and how has that benefited you as an author?
I tried doing the BookTube thing years back when I was also book blogging, and when I really decided to go for it with the author thing, I transitioned my channel into an AuthorTube channel. I love talking about writing and books, so the shift came quite naturally. It also helped me to meet some incredible writers who I have become close with.
You were a part of the AuthorTube retreat back in April hosted by fellow Indie Author Kristen Martin. What were the best and worst parts of your experience?
There were no bad parts. Seriously. It was incredible. It was my first experience traveling both by plane and by myself, so it was definitely nerve wracking, especially because I was going to meet a group of women I admire so much for the first time. I wanted to make a good impression. It was an amazing weekend. I have so much love for the women I met.
You’re now hosting your own writing retreat, how different will this be and what can future attendees expect from participating in them?
Wander Writers Retreat really focuses on writing and getting to know each other. We talk a lot, haha. We really want to focus on making progress with our stories and building our craft, along with gaining insight and knowledge about publishing.
How often will the Wander Writing Retreats occur?
At this point, it will be an annual event. It’s by invite only, but we are looking to open it up in future years and potentially host it conference-style if there’s enough interest.
This is one of those cliché questions perhaps, but what advice can you offer to those in the beginning of their self-publishing journeys?
Never stop trying. The road to publishing is a long one, but if you love what you’re doing, the blood, sweat, and tears will all be worth it. I promise.
Have you ever given advice to other writers that you did not actually apply to your own writing?
Oooh, that’s a fun one. I don’t think so. I’d be hesitant to offer advice to someone without knowing how it worked for me.
Final question, where do you find you get the most productive writing done?
Usually, I’ll leave my house and set up camp at a local coffee shop. I stick in some headphones, order a coffee (or two or three), and really get in the zone.
I would like to give a huge thank you to Jessi Elliott for not only doing this interview, but also allowing me to be a part of her blog tour.
– Jane Ridgewood
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