Interview with Elyse Salpeter

Elyse Salpeter

Interview Date: 12/19/2012


Elyse Salpeter is the author of six novels and a host of short stories. What she loves doing is mixing "the real with the fantastic" in her books. She loves taking different scenarios and suddenly creating worlds where things just aren't what they appear to be.
Her first published novel, FLYING TO THE LIGHT, is about a young deaf boy who knows what happens to you when you die. It's a fast paced thriller that keeps the reader on their toes, never quite knowing who, and who not, to trust.
Her second novel THE WORLD OF KAROV is a dark fantasy thriller about a set of identical twins, one good... and one very, very bad. She is a co-editor and contributing author of NIGHTS OF BLOOD II, by 23 House Publishing, a wonderful vampire anthology filled with fantastic stories. In addition, she has a young adult science fiction short story called THE SUN AND THE STAR in TIMELESS, a YA anthology about eternal love, published from Cool Well Press in February, 2012.
Elyse is married and lives on Long Island, NY. When she's not writing, she's working as a sales rep for a magazine in NYC, cooking, working out, running after her twins or attempting to garden (though her kids will tell you she’s not very good at it!)

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I started writing when I was in Junior High, but here’s where things get dicey. I had a ninth grade English teacher that was just horrible and completely squashed my literary dreams. One day as she was handing me back an assignment I had worked really hard on and thought was clever (I had to do an extra credit book report and decided to interview the main character in a question and answer setting), she stood in front of me, in front of the class, and told me that this was the worst piece of writing she’d ever seen. Crushed wasn’t the word. Needless to say, I didn’t write a thing until college. And then one day I said, “Enough, I don’t care what this lady thought, I’m going to write a book.” And I did and haven’t looked back since.

Kev's response: Good thing, too, for it helps keep the stalkers off your mind when you don't look back and see them! Sad thing about the teacher, though.

If you could have one superpower, what would it? (Assuming said power would be reasonably powerful.)

Easy. I’d be invisible. I’d go into places where I’d see bad people committing horrible acts and I’d “fix it” right then and there.

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

Does Aloysius Pendergast of the Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child novels count? He’s sort of a superhuman, amazing FBI agent. I obsess about this character.

Kev's response: Imaginary friends? Check. :)

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

I get ideas in my head and just run with it. They can come from anywhere. One was from watching a group of birds pecking at food on the ground, another came from a dream. Sometimes I’ll just have a few moments and I’ll sit down and write one page of the start of a story. Then I’ll print it out and put it away in an envelope that I’ve labled “story starters.” Every so often I’ll go back to that envelope that is brimming with untold stories and I might just pick one up and do a short story or novel from it.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

I have an idea for the beginning and usually the end of a story, but the middle is always very unclear. I never know how I’m getting from point A to Z. Never. And then when I’m done with the book and work with my editor, I might find out that I need to add another layer I never thought of before and it changes everything!

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

I’d love to have a set schedule, but I work full time, so I write when I’m inspired. I find I’m exhausted a lot of the time, so if I’m super tired, I’ll just edit. I find with writing new material, I need to be fresh, to have silence and to have the time to get my thoughts down. Not always easy working, with a busy household and kids. My best time to write is from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, but that is usually when I’m at work, so I try to catch other moments when I can.

Kev's response: Horror! Silence?!!! I generally have thumping music on when I write.

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I tend to write “real world mixed with the fantastic.” My books always seem to have some sort of paranormal or fantasy element to it. The big joke is that if I ever had to write a memoir, I’m sure aliens or alternate dimensions would somehow weave their way in. I just can’t seem to help it!

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I like how it takes me away. I love when I’m in a groove, it’s like there’s no one but me and my characters tucked away in this little bubble and I get to find out all these super cool things about them.

Kev's response: Yup, learning new things about our own characters as they handle situations is great!

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Interruptions. If I’m in the zone, all I want to do is write and get my thoughts down. When the real world intrudes, it’s terribly frustrating because you know those same thoughts, or the one thought you were going to put down will never get on the page because you were interrupted.

Kev's response: That's one of my issues too. I'll get a great desire to write just when I get in the car to head home, but 45 minutes later it's faded...

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

I can wiggle my ears – does that count? I also boast that I’m a great cook, but apparently I’m the only person in the universe who can’t cook a chicken cutlet properly for chicken parmesan – my husband’s favorite dish. I just can’t get it right! I either burn it, or it’s dry. People have tried to teach me and I epically fail each time.

Kev's response: Well ... I don't even know what a chicken cutlet is. I could Google it, I suppose. Hmm.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I have a few books that are in various stages of completion, but I occasionally “play” with them. When I’m committed to one story though, I’ll do that the majority of the time and possibly take “breaks” now and again just to clear my head and do some other works. In those cases, I’ll try a flash fiction piece or do a blog post, just write something that’s not so time committal.

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

I think that ebooks are going to become more and more popular. People will be reading on their phones and any other digital device that is created. I’d love paper books to still exist, but the fact is, they are going to be less and less visible. Let’s hope libraries and book stores continue to exist.

What are your current projects?

My first published novel, FLYING TO THE LIGHT, is a YA thriller with a young deaf boy as the main lead and that came out in Nov, 2011. Its sequel, FLYING TO THE FIRE is scheduled for a release date of March 2013 and the edits are presently with the publisher. My newest book, one I’ve decided to self publish, is THE WORLD OF KAROV and it was released on Amazon December 20, 2012. It’s the first book in a very dark fantasy series.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Just jump in. I was a wee bit terrified to self publish, but I’m made the jump. I’m steadily building up my marketing platform, lists of reviewers, followers on Twitter and FB and all sorts of social media groups in the hopes that it will impact sales. And, the experiences I’m getting, things I’m learning and the people I’ve met are just incredible.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

Sure, please feel free to reach out to me here: @elysesalpeter

Kev's response: Elyse, thank you for joining me! Good fortune on your first solo venture

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