A Hidden Fire- Interview and Giveaway
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Today is the release day of A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter. I have had the distinct pleasure of reading an advance review copy and let me tell you, this book is something you don't want to miss. So with out further ado, here is a little about the author and the amazing book she has written,
Elizabeth Hunter is the author and publisher of the Elemental Mysteries Series.
She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College in the Department of English (Linguistics) and a former English teacher.
A native of Central California, she now lives in Southern California with her husband, son, and an assortment of dogs. She enjoys reading, writing, travel, and bowling (despite the fact that she’s not very good at it.)
Someday, she plans to learn how to scuba-dive.
And maybe hang-glide ... but that looks like a lot of running.
Learn more about her writing at elizabethhunterwrites.com
What was the inspiration for A Hidden Fire?
The inspiration for A Hidden Fire was really the character of Giovanni Vecchio himself. I started thinking one day about what I would do with my time if I could actually live forever. The first thing I came up with was reading! I love books. And I loved the idea of this immortal being that did, too. His character started to develop, and with that came the idea for the novel.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
PLOTTER! I am a big time plotter. Before I ever start taking notes I will let an idea stew in my brain for at least a month or two. Then I start character sketches. Then plotting. Then timelines. I build theme graphs and even plot the tension levels I want in each chapter. After all of that, I start the outlining and actual writing. Does it change as I write? Of course! But I had the basic outline for the Elementals series finished before I was done with the first book.
How did you develop your characters? Is there one that you enjoy writing the most?
I do a lot of sketching, research, and time-lining. All of my main characters and most supporting ones have detailed backstories. Much of the time that information is never included in the book, but it adds layers to how I write them, so I need to know.
There are so many characters that are fun to write. I love writing dialogue between Gio and Beatrice. Caspar is a hoot. I’d say the one character that is pure pleasure to write is Carwyn. He has a lot of my husband’s humor, so he’s pretty fun to spend time with!
How long does it typically take you to finish a novel?
It depends on if you including all the planning and plotting! If you don’t include that, it usually takes me two to three months to write the first draft. I started planning A Hidden Fire about a year ago. I finished the first draft in May or June. I’m working on the final editing for the second book right now, and I’m a little over half done with the first draft for book three. It may seem fast to some writers, but the actual writing part is one of the easiest steps for me. The planning and outlining are far more taxing.
There is a good bit of Hispanic culture in your book. Did you have to do a lot of research to make sure you got that part correct?
Well, I grew up in California and I went to university in Texas, so a lot of that is just mainstream culture in both places! I ate chile peppers when I was a baby, and I was as likely to hear Spanish as English in the market growing up. I’m really lucky to have lived in two places where there are such large and established Mexican-American and Chicano communities. I think so much of that culture is woven through the American Southwest. So I did a little research, but most of it was very familiar.
Speaking of research, history plays a very large roll in the book. Did you spend a great deal of time researching any one thing? Was it difficult to work in all of the details into your book?
I did a lot of research into the Italian Renaissance, which was fascinating, but very challenging. I don’t think I worked even a quarter of the research I did into the book, but I wanted to make sure the bits of it that were included were as accurate as I could make them. I hope I did the subject justice. It’s a fascinating period in history. As far as the research into the more ancient periods of history went, I’m a bit of a classical studies nerd, so that part was really enjoyable!
How did you start writing? Is this your debut novel?
I had been a technical writer for years, and I’ve done some journalism, as well. Obviously, I did a lot in school, but very little for fun. I was more of a reader. I started playing with the idea of a different novel a couple of years ago, and then I discovered fan fiction online! I loved it, and I loved the idea of writing for fun within a fan community. I started doing that and really discovered the pure joy of writing for pleasure and storytelling. It was a great experience and it taught me a lot about plotting and writing for an audience. I also made some incredible friends, a lot of whom are my sharpest pre-readers now.
It was after that time that original ideas started popping around in my brain. A Hidden Fire is my debut novel, but my first written novel (unrelated to the EM series) has been published for free on my writing website. I haven’t decided whether I will edit that one for publication. I might if there is enough interest.
What are you currently working on? How many novels will follow A Hidden Fire?
I am finishing book two right now, the title of which is This Same Earth, and I’m in the middle of writing book three, but I won’t release the title until I’m done with the first draft! The main storyline of the Elemental Mysteries will be finished in four books, but there may be stand-alone stories for some of the characters, and I’m also toying with the idea of writing a novella around Christmas if I have the time.
I have a very persistent idea for a second series working its way through my brain at the moment, but I’m not writing anything down yet. It needs a bit more time to percolate.
Do you have a favorite novel or author? What genre do you typically read the most?
I read a lot of different genres. I love good biographies. One of my favorite authors is Michael Ondaatje; The English Patient was a huge book for me. As a Californian, I love Steinbeck. As far as paranormal romance and mystery goes, I’m a huge fan of Charlaine Harris, Chloe Neill, and Jeaniene Frost. Those ladies and their worlds are amazing.
I love the soundtrack you have set up for A Hidden Fire. Do you have a song that fits the series overall?
I have to pick one? Music is huge for me. All of my stories have soundtracks that I listen to obsessively while I’m writing and editing. If I had to pick one for the series it would probably be Sarah Brightman’s song, “Anytime, Anywhere.” It’s a beautiful blend of modern and classic, which fits the books. I’ll leave readers to find the translation for the lyrics online.
Elizabeth has been kind enough to giveaway a free ecopy of her spectacular novel. All you have to do is leave a comment here on my blog, with your email address and answer this question:
What book will you always have in your personal library?
The contest ends next Tuesday October 25th.
If you can't wait to read this spectacular novel, here are the links where you can purchase a copy. (And really folks, this is one you do NOT want to miss out on.)
Barnes and Noble
**Teaser Tuesday is moving to Thursday this week, but don't worry, it will be back and better than ever. I will also be releasing the cover for Mortal Defiance! And, I'm really in love with the new cover! I can't wait to share it with everyone.**