Elizabeth Donald's Nocturne Infernum Blog Tour
About the author: Elizabeth Donald is a writer fond of things that go chomp in the night. She is a three-time winner of the Darrell Award for speculative fiction and author of the Nocturnal Urges vampire mystery series and Blackfire zombie series, as well as other novels and short stories in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres. She is the founder of the Literary Underworld author cooperative; an award-winning newspaper reporter and lecturer on journalism ethics; a nature and art photographer; freelance editor and writing coach. In her spare time, she… has no spare time. Find out more about her at elizabethdonald.com.
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been a writer since I could first pick up a pencil. It was seeking publication that required a long journey. I thought you needed Dumbo’s magic feather or at least a top-notch agent in order to get published as a fiction writer. It was a hobby throughout high school and college, an indulgence in the early years of my journalism career, until I found myself divorced with a young child and I stumbled into my first book contract. I’ve never looked back.
- How long does it take you to write a book?
I have a more-than-full-time job as a newspaper reporter, am on about six boards and have a family. That means it takes a good long time. My process takes even longer: I have to write every book twice. The first pass tends to be light on description and characterization, heavy on action and snark. It’s the draft that’s like pulling teeth. The second pass is the one that really forms and shapes the book into something worthy of being read by humans. That’s the one where I really get to play.
- What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I am not a morning person. I can’t even form sentences until my second cup of coffee. I work as a reporter on a normal shift, about nine to six, and I am fortunate enough to work out of my home office unless I have an assignment. But fiction requires a very different mindset than news, and I need a break between my jobs in order to reset my mind for a different kind of writing. I make dinner, talk with my son, clean something. It’s later in the evening, preferably with a beverage, that I settle in to working on fiction.
Oddly enough, my most creative time seems to be midafternoon. That’s when the best ideas start flowing, probably when I’ve reached my maximum caffeine level. Of course, I’m still on duty for the newspaper at that time. So I jot down the ideas on the iPad and get back to work.
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It’s probably my habit of writing every book twice. When I say I’m rewriting, I mean I’m literally retyping the book, word by word. I’ve tried simply editing it on the page or the screen, and it doesn’t work. I have to retype the entire thing, editing and expanding as I go. Someday I’d like to be good enough to get the whole thing done in one pass, ready to go to the editor. Then I’d have my books done a lot faster!
- How do your books get published?
Nearly all of my titles are traditionally published with small or medium-sized presses. I have put out the occasional novella on my own, usually as a fundraiser or charity item. Like many authors, I’ve paid close attention to the trend of “hybrid” authors who begin in traditional publishing and step into self-publishing once they have a solid fan base. But I haven’t done more than dip my toes in that ocean.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Schenectady. There’s an idea service there that sends you a six-pack of ideas every week. That smartass answer is to be attributed to Harlan Ellison, who uses that answer every time he’s asked where his ideas come from. As he says, “Aristotle can’t answer that question.” They come from the ether, from Neverland, from the place between awake and asleep. I believe just about everyone gets ideas – random creative thought-balloons that float through their minds. The trick isn’t “getting ideas.” The trick is grabbing hold of them when they come, winding the ribbons around your hand and letting them carry you off to Neverland. When you learn how to harness ideas and turn them into stories you can share with others, you’ve become a writer.
- When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first novella when I was 17 years old as an English project. It was terrible. I rewrote it in college, lengthened it by a third and gave it to my friends as the world’s cheapest Christmas present. Some of those bastards still have their copies and refuse to burn them.
- What do you like to do when you're not writing?
It’s trite to say, “Spend time with my family.” But it’s true. My husband and I found each other late in life; technically we’re newlyweds, having gotten married in November. He works the night shift; I work the day shift. My son catches the bus to high school at 5:30 a.m. and has to be in bed by 10 if he wants to be conscious the next day. That means the little amount of time we have together is precious to me. Since my husband works Sundays, we guard our Saturdays jealously. That is family time. I have a lot of volunteer work, and a number of hobbies; my photography habit actually turned into a side business a couple of years ago. But my top priority is always spending time with my husband and my son.
- What does your family think of your writing?
They’ve been long resigned to the fact that I’m crazy. My husband is a writer as well; we briefly met through a friend twelve years ago, but only re-met when he published his first book and we bumped into each other on the tour circuit. It is wonderful to share your life with someone who also shares your passion and your insanity. My son has been carrying boxes of books and loitering at my book signings all his life, so for him, it’s just part of our routine.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I was surprised at the amount of time I would spend promoting my work and handling the business end: selling books and touring. There are times when I think I spend more time on the business than I do on writing! A small-press writer always has to work hard at marketing, and finding that balance between that and writing is important.
- How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have lost count! I think it’s 13 books, including novellas and collections, but it depends how you count the ebook editions. As to which is my favorite, you might as well ask me to pick my favorite child! But I will say that the best book I have ever written has never been published, and I am committed to getting that book out someday.
- Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
First: Read. Read everything you can. If you don’t have the time or interest to read, you don’t have the time and interest to write. Every word you read makes you a better writer. Second: Write. Write every day. Even if you only add a few paragraphs to your story, it’s more than you’d get watching Dancing With the Stars. Getting into that habit of writing every day is the best discipline you can develop to improve your writing. They say you have to write a million words of crap before you start to write the good stuff, so get to it as quickly as you can. Third: Develop a thick skin. You will face rejection, insecurity, writer’s block, self-doubt and if you get past all that, you have the delight of reviews. Believe in yourself.
- Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have wonderful readers. Many people who have been fans for a long time have become friends, both online and in real life. They have been relentlessly supportive, and just as relentless in their yelling when I kill off a character they like.
- What do you think makes a good story?
It’s subjective. What makes a good story for me is a lot of action and dialogue, with characters I enjoy reading. What makes a good story for others might be rich description, or an emotional quotient that brings them to tears.
- As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I planned to work in the theater, writing and producing plays in an experimental theater company that would donate all its profits to charity, saving the world through art. Three years into my theater studies, I switched to journalism. I was still using my talent for words and my passion for public service, but telling true stories instead of making them up. Years later, I get to do both.
What are your songs? What are the stories you have to tell? Why do you keep them locked inside you where no one can see them? What is keeping you from success, however you might define it, and why do you let it slide one more day?
If you hear the music, then dance. Write it down, sing your song. It’s no good to anybody in your head. Your stories will be unheard and your songs unsung, as long as you let the hard work of putting pen to paper slide for one more day.
Elizabeth Donald is a dark fiction writer fond of things that go chomp in the night. She is a three-time winner of the Darrell Award for speculative fiction and author of the Nocturne vampire mystery series and Blackfire zombie series, as well as other novels and short stories in the horror, science fiction and fantasy genres. She is the founder of the Literary Underworld author cooperative; an award-winning newspaper reporter and lecturer on journalism ethics; a nature and art photographer; freelance editor and writing coach. She lives with her husband and her son in a haunted house in Illinois. In her spare time, she has no spare time. Her latest release is Nocturne Infernum, a trilogy of vampire mysteries set in a dark alternate Memphis.
Book Synopsis for Nocturne Infernum: Nocturne Infernum includes the original three chapters in the Nocturnal Urges series, an alternate version of present-day Memphis in which vampires walk among us, but are not treated as our equals. They work the night shift, the jobs no one else wants, and they're not too happy about it. Meanwhile, humans take advantage of the pleasures vampires can provide, but call them friends? Lovers? The gap between human and vampire stretches wide as death rises in the streets of Memphis. Nocturnal Urges. It's the most popular club in the Memphis nightlife. Part legal bordello, part feeding ground for the city's vampires, Nocturnal Urges offers pleasure and pain in one sweet kiss. It's the ultimate addiction: both drug and sex at once. For the vampires, it's the only way to survive in a world where the creatures of the night are a dark underclass, ignored until the humans need another fix. Into this world comes Isabel Nelson, a young woman seeking only a night's pleasure. But after Isabel's lover takes her to try the bite, she cannot stop thinking about Ryan, the dark vampire with whom she shared her lifeblood - and who is now suspected of murder. Isabel falls into a world where passion and love are miles apart, where life and unlike have little meaning... and someone is hunting in the shadows. A More Perfect Union. Samantha Crews has lived a long time in the shadows of Memphis, working at Nocturnal Urges and hiding from the vampires that darken her past. Det. Anne Freitas is stuck with a new partner, a young woman with a chip on her shoulder. Now they're assigned to investigate a series of threats against congressional candidate Robert Carton, for whom Samantha volunteers. But Samantha is falling for Danny Carton, the candidate's son - an idealist who wants to make life better for humans and vampires alike. But there's a lot Danny doesn't know about Samantha. He doesn't know she's a vampire. He doesn't know she works at Nocturnal Urges. He doesn't know his own father is one of her clients. And he doesn't know what's stalking her... Abaddon. The Lady Zorathenne requests the honor of your presence at a celebration. A toast, if you will. Followed by a feast. Beneath the dark Memphis streets, something is stirring. Filled with ancient fury. Seeking revenge on the ones who live above. A revenge born in fire. The fires are ranging in Memphis and no one is safe. Ryan and Samantha must descend into darkness beyond their imagining to find answers to the mysteries of the past, as Detectives Freitas and Parker seek the truth about the present. And the return of an old foe could make the future a dark place indeed... save for the flames of Abaddon.
Tour Schedule and Activities 9/28/2015 The Den of Debauchery's Garden Gazebo Guest Post 9/28/2015 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post 9/30/2015 Book in the Bag Author Interview 9/30/2015 Shells Interviews Guest Post 10/1/2015 Come Selahway With Me Author Interview 10/1/2015 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post 10/2/2015 Bee's Knees Reviews Review 10/2/2015 Deal Sharing Aunt Author Interview 10/4/2015 I Smell Sheep Review
Amazon Links for Nocturne Infernum
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Nocturne-Infernum-Elizabeth-Donald/dp/194170624X Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Nocturne-Infernum-Elizabeth-Donald-ebook/dp/B00V5652O2
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nocturne-infernum-elizabeth-donald/1121505115?ean=9781941706244