I am so excited to have the wonderful Elle Strauss on my blog today for an interview! She's a wonderful writer, blogger and friend, so lets not waste time!!!
Elle Strauss Interview - Elle Strauss I'm the author of CLOCKWISE, a YA chicklit about a teenage time traveler who accidentally takes the cutest boy in the school back in time, and of PLAYING WITH MATCHES, a YA historical about a boy who grows up in Hitler Youth. I am represented by the fabulous Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Find me on Facebook, Twitter and on my blog.
1. What made you think of the idea of Clockwise? Playing with Matches?
I started Playing with Matches in 2005 after a friend of mine brought his father over for supper. He started telling us his story about having to walk 200km from one city to another after the war—no money, no transport, no food and only sixteen. The muse started talking. Clockwise came out of the need for a break from such a serious subject. Writing a book based on history and a very well known even at that, takes loads of research. I just needed a break from the war. I had written a time travel story many years ago and decided I like to do a better job of that, and started a new one.
2. Are these currently out on submissions are is there a publishing date in sight?
I’m fortunate to have both of these books out on submission. Clockwise went first, then Playing with Matches. Interestingly enough, it was Clockwise, my take a break book, that got me my agent.
3. How did it feel when an agent emailed/called you to let you know they were interested? Laugh, scream, cry, dance with a bear?
Actually, the first thing I felt was relief. After spending years looking and enduring a ton of rejections, I was just relieved to finally have climbed over that hurdle. That was quickly followed by joy and a happy dance.
4. How does you writing process work? Are you a panster or an outliner? Does the first draft or the revisions take longer? How long did it take you to write both YA novels?
I’m a blend. I usually have a general idea where I want to go, a beginning, middle, end, but then all bets are off and usually all those point turn out completely different than what I first imagined. The first draft takes longer, but revisions can happen over and over again, and ultimately take more time. Playing with Matches took five years to get agent ready and Clockwise took a year and a half.
5. How long have you wanted to be a writer? Do you work as a writer or do you have another profession on the side?
I’m a late bloomer and didn’t discover my passion to write until I was in my early thirties. Right now I’m working in administration part-time, but my plan is to write full-time in the future. (Hoping!)
6. What was it like during the querying process? How did you properly decide who to send your queries too? How many did you send out?
Anyone who has entered the query process knows it’s agonizing. I researched all the agents I submitted to, making sure they were looking for the type of book I was pitching to them, and followed their submission guidelines. I don’t have my records, they died with my laptop, but I would say thirty plus agent submission for each of them is not far off.
7. Do you have a critique group you are a part of?
I have a couple on-line crit partners and a couple writer friends who read for me.
8. What does a day in the life of Elle look like?
This is a really hard question to answer. Every day is different.
9. Do you have any other projects currently in the works?
I just completed another chik-lit project called SEAWEED about a teen swim athlete who falls for a merboy, only to find out they have more in common and more to fear, than they thought.
Fun and Random Questions
Favorite burger joint? I don’t eat fast food, but if pressed I’d say A & W (teen burger).
Favorite bookshop? We only have two in our city and I like them both.
Favorite book? Pride and Prejudice
Favorite author? Too many great ones to choose.
Favorite series? They’re only two books and more companion than series, but I liked Ballad and Lament by Maggie Stiefvater.
Rain or snow? Rain
Bear or Lion? Bear
Writing snack of choice? I don’t eat an write but afterwards I’m all about dark chocolate
Sweet or Salty? Sweet
Book you are currently reading? Just finished Not Suitable for Family Viewing by Vicki Grant — loved it.
Thank you so much Elle for stopping by my blog!! Be sure to check out her blog and join her on the journey to publication! I wish her the best of luck and know that with these books we will be seeing her in stores soon enough!!!
Ahhh, the blogosphere is teeming with great interviews today! Thanks for the introduction to another writer/blogger!
Great job Jen. Thanks for the amazing interview. Thanks Elle for sharing your process. It's a long road and I'm glad you didn't give up.
Great interview! Thanks Jen and Elle.
Excellent! I actually love stories of authors waiting to start writing. I don't know why but it makes me feel better. She's awesome.
Great interview and the books sound fantastic!
hi miss jen! it was neat how miss elle could share stuff with us. i could see how writing takes a lot of time from your life but if you could believe in yourself you just gotta keep trying. some day real soon when i see her stuff at the bookstore i could say i met her at your blog.
...hugs from lenny
Thanks for the inside look at a writer's life, and best wishes to Elle with her books!
Wonderful interview! I love how easy it is to connect with some of out favorite writers with the internet nowadays!
Thanks for having me, Jen! I was great fun.
I adore this interview and I cant wait to check her blog..She sounds lovely:) Kisses darling and enjoy your day:)
Such a great interview as always (still not sure how you get them, sneaky) I love that the inbetween book was the one to land an agent. You just really never know and thats both frightening and exciting. Thank you so much for sharing.
My brother burned up an entire field with the strike of one match when he was four eeek! It made me think of that, sorry you know I derail lol.
Great interview! Loved this! Elle sounds awesome. Thanks to both of you! I can totally imagine the relief after getting an agent. I imagine my first reaction would be relief too!
Oh yeah, check your junk mail...occasionally that's where I land. SIGH
Great interview! So fun to learn more about Elle. And only 2 bookstores in town? Wow.
Another great interview, Jen! Elle's books sound terrific!
what a great interview! Loved your questions Jen and thanks Elle for sharing your story and insights with us!
Awesome interview Jen and Elle! Your books sound amazing! Thanks for talking aobut the query process--gives hope!
Great interview and great books to read!
Yay, Elle! Both of your books sound interesting to me, even though they are so different. Great interview, ladies! :-)
I love reading about other authors' paths - so thanks, Elle and Jen! And dark chocolate - a woman after my own heart! It's the best.
Great interview from two of my favorite bloggers/writers. :) Thanks to both of you.
Thank you for a great interview! CLOCKWISE sounds so, so awesome. :)
I love your interviews, Jen. I follow Elle's blog but I still really enjoyed hearing more about her journey.
(and her mention of dark choclate caused me to remember I have a fun-sized Special Dark in my purse! now i'm nom-nom-nomming.) :)
Psh, a bear. I'll take a salty lion anyday over a bear. ;) What a funny quirk to learn...
Great interview Jen! How fun to hear about her process, and that she didn't give up!
Wow -- she does not snack while she writes, but waits for her chocolate reward! She is my new hero. I think if I were a serious writer, I'd gain 5lbs a day on snacks.
I tell ya -- I found this very inspiring, how she did not give up. Awesome!!
The story about the 16-year-old boy walking during the war sounds very very intriguing.
And even tho I'd take snow over rain any day, I still love you both! :)
Natalie: in my defense, Black Bears visit our yard annually thanks to our Walnut tree. We're friends now, I couldn't betray that by choosing Lion (although I am a huge cat lover!) :)
Jannie: I know it sounds noble, that I wait to eat chocolate, but it's actually due to a growing germ phobia--I can't touch my keyboard and then use those same fingers to put food in my mouth--ew!
Great interview, girls! :)
Another great interview!
Jen, I love your descriptions for your WIPs (and the pictures too- good job!). I know how burnt out we can get sometimes, but just hang in there and it'll all work itself out!
Great interview! Thanks, Elle, for sharing your journey. It's really inspiring to hear from someone who's worked hard, gone through the rejection process, and is now starting to come out on the other side... can't wait to see your books in stores!
That was great, Elle! Like you, I discovered writing in my thirties too. :)
Great interview you two! It was nice to get to know Elle better!
I was so psyched by the tantalising tidbit of a boy in the hitler youth and the story that sparked it that I zoomed over to amazon to look for the book before I remembered it hadn't been published yet! The historian in me geeked out at the themes you could play with doing 'Nazi from the inside' with a child's innocence and facing coming of age in a warzone that you may or may not fully understand/back and and and.. I swear my fingers are itching to write, inspiring interview!
I like your blog !!Thank you. They are really great .
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