Monday, March 28, 2011
Behind the Curtain with Rhiannon Ellis
Animal rescuer Jaci Waters has her hands full when a rogue wolf invades her small, backwoods town of Tall Oaks, Alabama. Her goal is to not only protect her neighbors and fellow townsfolk, but to capture and relocate the trouble-making canine who's worn out his welcome. Little does she know, the wolf is more than meets the eye. He's here, in Tall Oaks, for Jaci. But he's not the only one...
Dolton Freye has come to the speck-sized town with one goal in mind: kill the blood-thirsty bastard who's stalking and out to get the woman he's sworn to protect.
BZ: Thanks for stopping by, Rhiannon! Can you tell us what inspired you to write Dark Wolf Protector?
RE: I can’t pin down my inspiration to one thing or another, but after reading dozens of paranormal/shifter stories and loving them all, I wanted to write one of my own. Isn’t that how all of us writers start out? We get sucked into a genre or series and can’t let it go, even after we get to the end. The desire to live in that world never goes away, so we continue it in our words, with new characters, and in fresh locations.
BZ: DWP's heroine, Jaci Waters, is half Cherokee. Did you research shapeshifting in Native American folklore prior to writing DWP, or did you create your own mythology from scratch?
Sure, some research was involved. However, I kept the details of her ancestry simple enough so that her Native American heritage could enrich the story without actually being the story. This wasn’t my initial intention. I’d planned to use a lot of Native American spirituality to enhance the plot but changed my mind after some research.
I learned that Native American “religions” are exclusive to their tribes and dependent on the way of life on each reservation. A person, like you or I, can’t be converted or walk into a church and join. It’s as much about culture as it is about faith. As fascinating as I found the details concerning their spirituality, I quickly realized my character, Jaci, couldn’t be a part of it since she hadn’t been raised on a reservation or deeply immersed in their traditions.
BZ: March marks the release of your debut novel, the contemporary romance Bonded in Brazil, as well as DWP. Two in one month! What advice would you give aspiring authors?
RE: Read. A lot. Write even more. Be honest with yourself and your work. Brace yourself for the long haul. Establish an online presence early. That way, once your book is available, you’ll hopefully have thousands of contacts.
BZ: For DWP you worked with Cobblestone Press, a primarily electronic publisher. How did that process differ from your experience with Camel Press, which published Bonded in Brazil?
RE: Cobblestone’s process was totally different from Camel’s. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with one being primarily electronic or not. From what I hear, each publisher has their own way of doing things, and most authors find themselves adjusting every time they work with a new house. Just look at submission guidelines! Each press has their own, specific set of requirements, and the publishing process is no exception.
I will say the biggest difference is that I worked through an agent with one book and not the other. My agent had worked with Camel Press prior to my signing, so she had a plethora of information on how things worked at that house. This is a great advantage, by the way, because when an author sits around twiddling their thumbs for three or four months before edits begin, they start conjuring up questions and imagining concerns. Having an agent to field those queries prevents said author from pestering their publisher to death and wearing out their welcome. Not that I would know any of this from personal, first-hand experience…
BZ: What are you currently reading?
RE: I’m supposed to be reading this awesome science fiction manuscript for a critique partner, but I’m seriously slacking. Plus, I can’t stop reading stories that promise explicit sex. I have a problem, I think. My husband benefits, though, so he encourages my habit. Enabler!
BZ: What is your next project? Will we see Jaci, Dolton and Ian again?
RE: You’ll definitely be seeing Ian Kingsley again. He’s one of the stars in the next installment of Love on the Wild Side, and I’m really excited about him. I’ll quickly sum up the next book: Heavy metal. Fighting. Rough sex. Okay, I got a little excited and made up that last one. There will be sex but not necessarily the rough kind. This interview is taking a turn for the worse. I’ll try to behave for the last question.
BZ: Okay then, last and most important... what is one thing about you that might surprise your readers?
RE: I was homeschooled and although I technically “graduated” high school and attended college at sixteen, I don’t have a diploma…or a degree. My first job was sweeping trash and cleaning toilets at an amusement park. I wore something that resembled a pastel-striped, skirted clown suit and made about $4.20 an hour. Now that I think about it, that’s awesome because I still do those things, (minus the costume) only for free.