Our May author Q&A is here and we are teaming up with Elexis Bell. I first met Elexis on Instagram and I’ve gotten to know her much better through World Indie Warriors.
A self confessed introvert, she is able to create worlds and lives in such a way, it will leave you with a massive book hangover when you reach the conclusion. Annabelle was my first foray into her growing list of novels, I have all the rest on my shelf waiting to be read, and what’s more, I know I’m going to love every minute of them. Which one will be your first read?
Elexis Bell is a quiet nerd with too many hobbies, including everything from gaming to shower-singing and even archery, weather permitting. She specializes in sarcasm and writing stories that make people feel. She’s made a home for herself with her husband, their dog, and a small army of cats.
She writes dark, gritty stories, sprinkling gut-wrenching emotions over high fantasy romance, thrillers, post-apocalyptic romance, and science fiction.
For further information, follow her on Instagram or Facebook, or check out her blog on her website.
Getting to Know You
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Stories are just… what I do. They always have been. When I can’t sleep, I tell myself stories. When I’m bored, I come up with stories and worlds and characters. It gives my anxious, obsessive compulsive disorder-riddled mind something more productive to do than just overthinking my life, and it’s fun at the same time.
Deciding to go indie was quite a decision. Creative control and controlling my timeline played heavily in the decision, as did the breakdown of how royalties and advances work in traditional publishing and the amount of marketing that still falls on author.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading is the obvious answer, and I do plenty of that. I play video games and D & D. I play with my army of cats and drink way too much soda. But I also dabble in a variety of hobbies including: hiking, archery, and graphic design.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I’m a pantser. I don’t plan anything, at all. I just write and see where the story and the characters take me. And that’s my favorite part. I love learning about the characters as they go through the story, love seeing how they turn out.
Writing my books is every bit as much of a rollercoaster for me as it is for people to read them. All the emotions the characters go through, all the ways they grow and change for better or worse, all the loss and success…
It’s all fresh and real in the moment that I write it because I haven’t spent a year analyzing and planning and figuring out where all the pieces are supposed to fit. That’s something I figure out as I go, as the character becomes clearer in my mind. And I absolutely love it.
What is your writing process?
I don’t really have one. I just write. The only real staple is that it’s easier for me to write late at night. I usually start writing somewhere between 11pm and 2am, and I don’t stop until about 5 or 6 am. I can edit during the day, but I write better in the middle of the night. Other than that… It doesn’t really matter where I am or what I’m snacking on. It doesn’t matter if I’m in pajamas or still wearing my normal clothes. And as I said before, I don’t plan. I just write.
How do you get inspired to write?
It really just depends on the story. Some ideas come from random items, others from conversations. But once an idea takes hold, it consumes me, and all I want to do is write it.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
First, don’t get hung up on any specific writing technique. If someone tells you to write a 150 page outline before you ever start writing the book (I’ve actually seen that advice given) but the idea of an outline makes you feel boxed in… don’t do it. If the idea of jumping in blind terrifies you, plan your book out first. Do what works for you. No two writers are exactly the same, and assuming that one technique would work for everyone is just silly. Second, study psychology. It helps a lot with realistic character development.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1. The Host by Stephenie Meyer- It has conflict and emotion and the apocalypse and survival and aliens and romance and races I’d never heard of… All of which are fantastic things to find in a book.
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- It’s a classic for a reason. The romance in this book is just amazing. I hate insta-love, and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are the freaking King and Queen of slow burn romance.
3. 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz- So much suspense, so much of the supernatural. And it was absolutely terrifying, in a good way. Which is saying something, because I don’t typically seek out scary stuff. All it needed was romance.
4. The Destined Queen series by Deborah Hale- Super swoon-worthy outlaw, magic-wielding girl, ancient prophecies, war, and again, masterful slow-burn romance. It checks all the boxes.
5. This one was harder to choose. I was torn between the Partials series by Dan Wells (fantastic, imaginative, compelling post-apocalyptic romance) or Highland Fire by Elizabeth Thornton (old Scottish romance, the slowest of burns, and genuinely interesting tidbits of history). But I’ve reread Highland Fire a number of times, so I’d probably have to give the number 5 spot to that one.
How do you discover the books you read?
That really just depends. Sometimes I just peruse the bookstore, sometimes I buy books recommended by or written by friends.
What books are on your reading list this year?
Sooooooo many. I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to my TBR, with several milk crates full of unread books, too.
World for the Broken
Fading into unconsciousness, Christian watches psychotic thugs drag his sister-in-law and nephew away to suffer in the city they just escaped. Left for dead near his brother’s corpse, he has but one hope for survival, rely on the pretty stranger who stumbled across him. Not exactly smart after the apocalypse.
Encumbered by the lingering effects of her own violent past, Chloe struggles against her need for independence. Trusting a stranger found lying in the snow is risky, to say the least. Yet, she patches him up.
As they strive to rebuild their hearts, the harsh world they’ve been thrust into promises to tear them apart. Because Christian’s rescue attempt can’t wait. Every second in Chloe’s idyllic hometown means another second of pain for Christian’s family, leaving Chloe with a choice. Risk her life to help Christian save his family? Or condemn them all to a slow death?
To read the first chapter, click here!
What inspired you to write World for the Broken?
Oddly enough, given that an actual sex scene is one of the only triggers not in the book, the inspiration came from the trailer for an erotic film set in medieval times. It was a high end, story driven one, and the trailer consisted of a girl wearing heavy furs and old timey clothes tromping through the snow on a mountain side until she passed out. Then, some guy, also wearing furs and medieval clothes, found her and carried her to safety. And for some reason, the idea of someone finding someone near-dead in the snow just stuck with me.
I’d been in a post-apocalyptic headspace for a while, so I shifted it to that rather than a fantasy setting. Of course, I didn’t want the baggage of “Is he going to kill me or worse?” hanging over the love interest, what with the potential hostage situation, so I flipped the genders. I don’t particularly enjoy writing women who fall in love with men after thinking they might kill or rape them. So, Chloe found Christian bleeding in the snow. Then, I just needed a reason for him to be there. I built the world around them, unintentionally throwing nearly every potential trigger into the book. I never even ended up watching the erotic film that inspired the story.
Is there going to be a follow up to World for the Broken?
The short answer is no. This book is meant as a standalone. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing another book in the same world, but it wouldn’t be a continuation of the same storyline. If I write another in that world, it will also be a standalone.