So we started emailing every author we know (and some we don't know) and we came across the first author we'll be interviewing for the blog: Ms. Caitlin Elyse. Caitlin is the author of the fantastic Heaven Bound, Hell Hunted, which she released earlier this year.
I won a signed copy, and I LOVED it.
Heaven Bound, Hell Hunted is a stunning debut novel! I actually drove to Caitlan's very first event and received my own signed copy of the book. I started reading it on the way home (thank goodness I took someone with me who could drive while I read!) and I ended up finishing the book just a couple of days later. It's a wonderfully complex story filled with action, romance, adventure, intrigue, sarcasm, and... well, you'll just have to check it out for yourself to see what else!
But that's enough of an introduction, I think. Read on to see her answers to our interview questions and then for information about our awesome first giveaway!
Interview with Caitlin Elyse
Author of Heaven Bound, Hell Hunted
Heaven Bound, Hell Hunted is the story about an immortal, Kitty, who isn’t supposed to exist. Her parents’ marriage was unsanctioned, but in a rare instance of mercy, the High Council of Heaven allowed her to live, and therefore, she is indebted to them. She had a traumatic childhood because of this, and as a result has a violent vendetta against vampires. During a Heavenly mission to the human world, she meets another immortal, Storm, whom she ultimately falls in love with. Then she suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a war between Heaven and Hell, with Hell’s warlord, Itzal, calling for her capture.
That’s the short version.
What persuaded you to write this book?
It actually started out as a kind of therapy, back when I was just starting my freshman year of high school. I had a rough time during my entire school career, and I wanted to imagine what it would be like if I was a kick-ass character who didn’t care what anyone thought about her. But once I started writing, the story kind of took on a life of its own, and I started becoming more interested in Kitty’s story than in my own. It’s been an eight year project, but I’ve loved every minute of it.
What can readers expect from the sequel, Heaven Prays, Hell Preys?
I don’t know if I can honestly say. ;) It’s going to be very different from the first book. There are lots of plot twists that (I hope) will literally blindside my readers. I’m hoping to flesh out individual characters a little bit, and you’re going to see how Kitty and Storm act when they’re not constantly together. You’ll get to see more of them individually, as opposed to being a couple. You’re also going to see more in-depth the realms of Heaven and how they operate, instead of just the IIC facilities on earth.
Why did you choose self-publishing over traditional publishing?
Actually, it’s probably because of the review I received from HarperCollins when I made the Top Five on Inkpop last year. They told me my story was too “complicated.” I actually took offense to that, not for myself, but on behalf of my readers. Most publishers, especially right now, are looking for the simple-love-triangle one-plot-no-depth storylines, and I’d like to think my readers are a little more intelligent than that. I didn’t want to put out a novel that was just a flat storyline that went no further than the covers of the book, I wanted to create a whole WORLD. And an entire world provokes more thought than just “wow, that was a great story.” It begs questions like “I wonder how Heaven would react to this scenario” or “I wonder what it would be like to live under a government with these rules.”
How do you know if a story is worth pursuing?
Usually when I actually get excited writing it. If I get bored halfway through, I know my readers will be bored too. And usually if it’s a more original piece of work than what’s out there already. I have a three-inch binder full of plot bunnies that are halfway finished. If I can’t even finish a plot outline, usually it’s only good as a short story or a story that stays in my head. But I keep them all just in case I revisit them one day and all of a sudden BAM! the rest of the plot suddenly comes to me. That’s actually what happened with Heaven Bound, Hell Hunted.
What kinds of things do you like to read?
The same kind of stuff that I write. Modern paranormal/fantasy type stuff. But I’m also a HUGE history buff. I love historical fiction, especially about the Tudor line in England. Totally one of my favorite subjects.
What books inspire you?
I can’t say that certain books inspire me, actually. I guess you could say some books have taught me what NOT to write.
What author has influenced your writing the most?
Probably either Mercedes Lackey or Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Both of them either reinvented the wheel when it came to their stories or didn’t believe in “simple” storylines either (Mercedes reinvents fairytales, and Amelia created a whole new world, sorta like I did).
What is your favorite book?
Surprisingly enough, probably East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which is neither modern paranormal or historical fiction.
Do you listen to music while writing? What music inspires you to write?
Always. Two Steps from Hell is my usual writing music, but I’ve got some other stuff by Taylor Swift and a few other random artists thrown in there too. “Goosebump” music inspires me (aka epic music ). Actually, I have a song that corresponds to just about every scene in Heaven Bound, Hell Hunted, and Heaven Prays, Hell Preys.
What is a usual writing day like for you?
I don’t actually do writing days, I do writing nights. It usually involves a lot of nicotine, caffeine, and the epic music I spoke of. I find that I write best in the middle of the night, usually because it’s like I’m in a trance. I wake up the next morning not really remembering much of what I wrote, and then it’s new and fresh to me as well as my readers. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten up the next day and read over what I wrote the night before and said “Holy crap I can’t believe I actually wrote that. That’s awesome!”
What inspired you to start writing in the first place?
My school years. I was a dreamer in high school, and preferred my own world(s) to reality.
What scares you?
Interesting question. I would have to say probably the downfall of modern society as we know it.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Just because someone (specifically, publishers) tells you that your work isn’t good, or it’s not what they’re looking for, or, in my case, that it’s “too complicated” doesn’t mean that’s necessarily true. My uncle gave me some good advice when I received my critique from HarperCollins, and it was this: “People who can, do. People who can’t, criticize.” My advice would be, like many other authors, don’t give up. And don’t change yourself or your style of writing just because someone tells you it’s not “in style.” Either keep looking elsewhere if you want to do traditional publishing, or just do it on your own.
What, in your opinion, is the hardest part of finishing a book?
Actually writing the ending. I can’t tell you how many times I revised and edited the ending of Heaven Bound, Hell Hunted. For me, it’s because it was “the end.” It’s definitely an emotional thing, I think. When you write, you become emotionally attached to your characters. So writing an ending and saying ‘goodbye,’ even if there’s a sequel, can be incredibly difficult. Some people would say revision is the hardest, I think that actually letting the book end is harder.
What can we expect from you next, writing wise?
Heaven Prays, Hell Preys is coming out (hopefully) in the spring or early summer of 2013, and Between Heaven and Hell and Heavenly Hellion are probably going to be released in 2014 and 2015, respectively. After The Immortal Wars series though, I’m not sure. I have a prequel started, detailing the tragic lives of Kitty’s parents, but I also have another urban paranormal and a high fantasy plot in mind as well. You can find all of the plot summaries for those on my website, www.theimmortalwars.com, under “Future Projects,” as well as summaries for the rest of The Immortal Wars series.
And that's all we have from Ms. Caitlin Elyse! Check out her website and facebook page for more information on the Immortal Wars books.
Now, the giveaway. There is a rafflecopter set up on our Giveaways tab at the top, right-hand side of the screen. For more chances to win a signed copy of Caitlin Elyse's Heaven Bound, Hell Hunted, make sure you do everything on the copter!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS FOR US RESIDENTS ONLY. SORRY, INTERNATIONAL FOLLOWERS. WE HOPE TO DO SOME INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAYS SOON, BUT THIS FIRST ONE IS FOR US ONLY.