Interview and Giveaway with Ella James!!!!!

| Monday, July 16, 2012
I would like to welcome Ella James to the blog today!
Ella James is the author of Stained and Stolen, books one and two in the Stained Series; HERE, book one in a sci-fi romance trilogy; and Before You Go, 

a romance YA beach read that tells the first meeting of Logan and Margo, who will be featured in her upcoming adult release, Over The Moon. She has a YA paranormal romance release scheduled for every month of 2012, including Chosen (Stained Book Three) in June and the second HERE book in July.

Ella is inviting readers to help her write a shapeshifter romance, which is plotted via polls and questions on her blog and her Facebook page.

Ella lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her wonderful husband, opinionated baby, and mopey dog. You can visit her blog at, or friend her on Facebook For a list of her award-winning YA romances, visit her Amazon page at

Please welcome Ella to my page!

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
My dad was state president of his professional organization when I was in second grade. He had a big briefcase filled with papers, and I remember I took it under my parents' bed to go snooping. I was reading one of his "papers" - I guess some kind of letter or report. My dad is Southern - I am from the South - and although he does speak professionally, he doesn't speak the way he writes. I remember being totally smitten with his writing, and I felt this powerful urge to imitate the pretty words.

  2. How long does it take you to write a book?
Now THAT is a million dollar question. It really varies! Back in my single, pre-mama days I could write a book that had been loosely plotted in maybe a week or two if I was putting in long days. Basically, if the book isn't giving me trouble (those darned books!) and there are no major distractions, I can write a book of about 55k words in something like 50-60 hours. Give or take. Add another 30 or so for me to edit it. And that's before I give it over to my editor.

 3. What do you think makes a great story?
Great characters with something to do (some kind of mission) and something at stake. The mission and the stakes can be lots of things... (one of my favorite books is Evening, by Susan Minot - and she artfully fills the mission and stakes blanks in her own way, even though the book is very literary). I also think the plot needs to be believable and feel authentic. And, of course, there's the writing. I know this is the most artsy fartsy meaningless-seeming language, but if I can't FEEL each scene, it's probably not a good book.

  4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I like to work in blocks... so in an ideal world, which is probably not ideal because my family probably doesn't exist, I would write 9 or 10 hours one day, 7 or 8 the next, almost none the next... and repeat. That's how I used to do it. Now if I can write five or six hours on a Saturday and two or three most weeknights, I'm doing well.

 5. How do you balance family and writing?
Haha. Add PR, spending time with my husband, and the editing my alterego does for a publishing house... I don't sleep that much, never do anything social, and am constantly behind in all areas of life. I try to do PR in the day when I'm home with my son and write at night and on weekends. I also edit on weekends. It's not easy... which I'm sure is what everyone says.

  6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I usually start out with one visual image, like, for HERE, a girl finding a lost guy in the field behind her house. Then I let my imagination go wild and I see where it goes. I could start out at a fruit stand and end up on another planet. Or start out in a principal's office and end up in a vampire's dungeon. I'm just drawn to paranormal. One of my books, though, the TBR YA sci-fi romance Azalea & The Makers of Zen, came to me in a dream, Stephenie Meyer style.

7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
To me it's almost all surprising. I guess the biggest surprise is that I can do it and do it pretty easily. For most of my early life I was only a reader... worshiping my favorite authors.

  8. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I've written Stained and Stolen, books one and two in the Stained Series. Book three is almost finished - it's called Chosen. I've written 80 percent of Azalea & The Makers of Zen. Before You Go and HERE are the other books out right now, so that brings the total to four plus 75 % of Chosen and 80% of Azalea. Then Over The Moon is a super long adult romantic suspense... and it's completely finished. I've written some of the second in the Princeps (Princes, in Latin) series that OTM kicks off, and some of HERE's book two...

9. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Sometimes they start out that way, but they usually never end like that. I have just started plotting a Christian romance, a contemporary Christian romance for adults, and right now the hero has the name of someone I know and the heroine is kind of a mix of me and my childhood best friend. My characters' parents are for some reason never mine... they're me or my siblings or friends. Most of my characters aren't me, either. There is one character I consider almost 100 percent me... and actually he's a HE - and I'm not going to say who it is until that book is out. For some reason it seems like really personal information to give up. Probably because of what kind of character he is.

  10. Do you have a favorite place you love to write?
Anywhere where the door is closed and I know I have a chunk of time that's just for writing...

 11. How hard is is to get published?
I guess it depends on what kind of published. Traditionally published - in my experience it was really hard. I have all the same tales everyone else does about that - only it was really frustrating because the last two times I'd submitted stuff to agents I had gotten super close to representation. I was actually offered representation only to have the person have to un-offer because they were taking a leave of absence due to family issues. Not. Fun. My current publisher is a small Southern publisher - very new - and so that was easier. Being published by someone small, or self-published, has its own challenges... mainly the time it takes to do PR.

  12. What do your family and friends think about your books?
Most people are really supportive or show at least a little bit of interest. My sister, my grandmother, my parents... they're all awesome. To be honest, though, I don't think a lot of people understand what it's like on the road to publication... or being an ebook author. Most people assume it's not nearly as big a part of my life as it actually is. Really it's almost all I do.

 13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I'm kind of a movie/TV snob, but I enjoy "good" movies and TV (good according to me, anyway!) I read a ton... almost all on my Kindle. I'm really into running and hiking, so I like going on trails and that kind of thing. I have a 9-month-old son who's so fun to play with, and I'm married to a great man who shares almost all my interests, so we have fun. I also really love to travel. I guess I should mention that I'm also a huge nerd, so I spend a good bit of time reading scholarly or psuedo-scholarly stuff. I have a few dorky interests like space and certain medical things... Haha. It would bore everyone to tears, but let's just say I also read a lot of nonfiction.

 14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?
Write a book. A whole one. You don't know if you can write a book unless you write a book, and if you're naturally inclined toward writing, the hardest part is probably going to be figuring out how to plot and execute your plot (by WRITING THE BOOK). Do that enough times and you will become good at it.

 15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Funnily, I always considered myself a writer, so I didn't really feel the need to say that's what I would be. I just assumed I would always be writing books... and I have a lot of interests, so I usually listed something like if someone asked. I wanted to be an astronaut, a veterinarian, a doctor, a journalist, a school counselor, and a priest. At one point I think I wanted to be a librarian. As it turns out, I'm horrible at almost everything but writing, so I've wisely settled on that. (And medicine. I would like to go to medical school at some point).

16. What are your favourite books and which authors inspire you?
Mmm... I tend to crush on books. My crushes at the moment are Fifty Shades, Set in Stone, whatever Anne Eliot is putting out next, DM McDaniel's sequel to Broken... and I guess my own books. The U-PLOT-IT project, a shifter book, is on my mind a lot, as is a YA futuristic romance called Azalea & The Makers of Zen. All-time favorites include Chronicles of Narnia, Time Traveler's Wife, Evening, Harry Potter, Wuthering Heights, J.R. Ward's BDB, and some of Lisa Kleypas' stuff. I'm sure I'm forgetting something - I have a horrible memory.

 17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?
Yeah, definitely. And guess what?! A lot of the "dos" are really nebulous, so you've gotta feel around in the dark some and basically just focus on perfecting your work as best you can. Professional presentation is really important - like no typos, proper formatting, etc. Good, solid web page. Characters HAVE to be relatable and sympathetic. Plot needs to move and have purpose and be exciting. I can get into teacher mode if you let me, so I'll spare y'all that. The main thing I would say is make sure your characters and plots are awesome and if you don't get it right the first, second, or third time, keep trying. In the meantime, put your stuff on Amazon and make a little money.

18. What are you working on now?Ahh! What am I not working on now? SIGH. That's a good sigh. I think... Chosen, the sequel to Stolen, third in the Stained Series. The next thing I will write is the fourth Stained book... the final one. Followed by book two in the HERE series. Followed by either Azalea & The Makers of Zen, my futuristic YA romance, or the U-PLOT-IT shifter book. I'm putting out Over The Moon, an adult book set in the Before You Go universe, soon, but I'm not working on it technically. My editor/husband has it... and it's almost ready for publication!

Thanks so much, Ella!!! I really enjoying reading all your answers to my questions! Ella will be featured again on my blog with review of her books Stained and Here in on the look out!

And now, Ella has been generous enough to offer an copy of her book Stained! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Brooke,
    Is this giveaway international?

    1. Yes, it's an ebook, so no worries :) Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Great, thank you! :)

      I love the advice given to aspiring authors! I think it's important for authors to share their experiences etc. Not only do they inspire readers but also fellow authors! And if advice given can motivate and inspire even one aspiring writer, then that's amazing and something to be proud about :)

      Thank you for the awesome interview!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway chance!

  3. Great interview. I love all things YA, and Ms. James' books sound awesome. Thanks for getting the word out, Contessa! :)

    1. Thanks so much for your support, Julie!!!

  4. Totally agree with your answer to #12. Family and friends are supportive, but don't truly get the amount of time the whole writing process takes from the beginning. Note I didn't state "from start to finish" because, let's face it, it's never finished! :)

  5. Great interview. It seems like at a very young age she's already made up her mind in being a writer, that's cool! :)

  6. Great interview, the books sound interesting. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Great interview! Books seem interesting. I def wanna read them.

  8. Enjoyed the interview! fun giveaway! :)

  9. I really enjoyed the interview. I think it is cute that you would look through your dads papers and that inspired you.

  10. Great interview. I love hearing about where authors get their ideas

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I loved the part about the author's work schedule! It was super interesting!

  12. I read Stained recently, and look forward to reading Stolen next!

  13. I like number 3 the best because I like the story to move otherwise I get bored. It is the same for me in films.

  14. Great interview! it's alkways good to see how a writer writes and how they get what we read published!

  15. What a great interview - thanks so much for sharing :)

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  17. Great interview!

    I love finding new authors. I loved Ella's advice for aspiring writers.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Great Interview, and wonderful advice as well. :)

  19. I didn't know this author, and I LOVE the cover of the book, is sooooo beautiful!

    1. They are beautiful, aren't they? Thanks for stopping by!

  20. I loved how she read her dad's words and found out that she wanted starting was sweeet!


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