This week’s #SPFBO Author Interview is with E.M. (Elisabeth) Hamill. She writes adult science fiction and fantasy somewhere in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas. A nurse by day, wordsmith by night, she is happy to give her geeky imagination free reign and has sworn never to grow up and get boring. Her critically acclaimed science fiction novel DALÍ was released in 2017.
Frequently under the influence of caffeinated beverages, she also writes as Elisabeth Hamill for young adult readers in fantasy with the award-winning Songmaker series.
She lives in eastern Kansas with her family, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.
Why did you enter #spfbo?
It was a leap of faith, really. A.Z. Anthony threw a Twitter gauntlet, and I picked it up, agonized over it for about thirty seconds and decided to do it. Any contests I have entered provided me an opportunity to get in touch with like-minded writers I might never have met otherwise, and some have become friends and valuable critique partners. This kind of interaction can only benefit me as a writer no matter how far my book goes.
What is your least favorite thing about self-publishing?
The burden of expense! Holy moly…when I found out how much ISBN numbers cost, I had a small nervous breakdown. It isn't cheap to self-publish, but the added expenses mean I control my cover art, marketing, when my book comes out, the editor of my choice—I think it was a great opportunity, and I will do it again.
Your Main Character walks into a bar, what kind of bar and what happens?
HAHAHAHAHA. No, really. That is the first six pages of Nectar and Ambrosia. My main character, Callie, stumbles into a pub that straddles dimensions, and the entire book takes place inside that bar. What happens is an ex-god with an olive habit, a fairy with a vendetta, a treaty-breaking reality show, and an oncoming apocalypse.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I like each book to stand on its own without a cliffhanger. There may be a thread binding a series together, but each story is told in full.
How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Unfortunately, I am still a part-time writer. I'm a full-time oncology nurse and going to college to finish a degree. I write whenever I can steal a minute. My dream is to be able to live on my writing some day, but at this speed, it might not be until after I retire!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Six months to a year for the first decent draft, and then at least another six months before it's ready to publish. Since I got serious about it, I've averaged about a book a year and several short stories.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not really. If I keep writing through it, even if what comes out is crap, I can usually find my way again. It's really difficult to write when I'm tired or stressed, though, so there are times when I desperately want to write but might only get a couple of hundred words out. If that's all I get, it's still a page that wasn't there before.
For more information about Elisabeth Hamill and her books, check out these links: