Growing up near Glastonbury in England, Elena Bryce was raised on Arthurian legends and Grail stories. Her first job was dressing up as a medieval princess for the tourists at the crystal caves in Cheddar Gorge, until she discovered the local apple brandy and moved to a new home under a bridge – just kidding – though it was a close call… Instead she got a degree in Classical Civilizations, which only qualified her to stack shelves in a bookshop. No one bothered her there, so she indulged her passion for adventure and rugged heroes by reading instead of working. Eventually the management noticed her lack of commitment and cut off her supply of free books, so she began writing them instead.
- Can you tell a bit more about yourself?
I currently live a double life. By day I am a mother to two young hellions, and by night I am an author. I can’t write without peace and quiet, so I have to wait until they are both in bed and then I need to tidy up their chaos. I don’t generally start “work” until ten pm.
- What inspired you to write?
I grew up in the middle of nowhere, next to an ancient ruined castle, surrounded by woods. So I was barely four when I started telling my parents about fairies and goblins and having adventures with the foxes. In truth I think I was just bored and lonely, and making up stories to entertain myself. I started turning them into little books as soon as I could write.
But there’s quite a difference between being a writer and being an author. Writing for the love of it is obviously essential, and I think a lot more people should call themselves writers whether they are published or not.
Being an author is different journey though. A pretty hard one. It took me years to make that leap. You do have to really want it to make it happen and be even moderately successful. But I think that every single person who has ever worked in a bookshop harbors a secret desire to be an author. That was the catalyst.
- What is your latest book about?
It’s a vampire urban fantasy / paranormal romance centred around the Spear of Destiny. It’s the second in a series, the first was on The Holy Grail. I’d start there: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1GBMDG
- Where and how do you write
- Did you plot and how does your plotting process work?
I plot in my head. I think about what the story will be about and how it will end, then I start at Chapter One and keep going until I reach The End. I would call myself a pantser not a plotter, but I think all pantsers have a vague idea of their plot in their mind. (Pantser is the term for a writer who comes up with their story while flying by the seat of their pants, making it up as they go).
- Do you have an editing strategy and what is it?
I re-read what I wrote the day before and tweak as necessary, then write the next bit. When I reach the last chapter I send it off to my editor. I make the changes he suggests and that’s it.
- What does your family think of your writing?
Apparently they are very proud, but none of them has read anything I’ve written in years.
- How hard was it to get your book out there?
Independent publishing has made it very easy. I’ve never tried anything else. The only gate-keepers that count these days are the readers. However you publish a book is irrelevant now, it will sink or swim depending on how it resonates with your audience. That’s exactly how it should be.
- What do you think is the hardest part of writing a novel?
To keep going even when you’re tired of it. For years I had “squirrel” moments, always being distracted by something else. Keeping at it takes discipline. Discipline is hard!
- What do you think makes a great story?
Action, adventure and romance.
- Looking back, what would you have done differently or why wouldn’t you?
I started out writing high school romance novellas. I have almost twenty of them out under a different name. I wish I’d started writing full length novels straight away and that I’d aimed at a slightly older audience from the beginning. Then again, it’s a learning curve that maybe I needed. My books are better now and I understand the reader requirements better too.
- Where do you get your inspiration
Definitely from history. It’s littered with the greatest stories. Just add a dash of fiction and give it new life.
- How do you handle writer’s block?
I’m in the camp that doesn’t believe in writer’s block. I think it just means you’re resisting, either because you don’t know how the scene should go and you need to think it through properly, or because you’ve grown weary of the story. The first reason requires some paper and pen time, and the second is a case of writing through it.
- Your top 3 tips for people who want to start writing.
1) Give up TV
2) Give up gaming
3) Give up your social life
It sucks, but unless you make writing your only hobby then you won’t ever finish that book. Oh, and go to kboards.com, everything you need to know is there.