Elle Strauss writes time travel, chic-lit, science fiction and historical fiction for middle grade and lower Young Adults. She also writes mature YA historical and science fiction as Lee Strauss.
She calls herself a late bloomer, who started writing after marrying and having four children. Her first book was published in Germany while she lived there with her family for two years. After returning to Canada she put away her writing for a while, but returned to it and was inspired to write Clockwise, her first time travel novel.
For other aspiring writers, Elle gives tips on writing and self-publishing on her blog. She currently divides her time between Kelowna, in BC’s Okanagan Valley, and Dresden, Germany.
Read on to learn more about Elle, and how you can win one of her books!
Why did you start writing?
I started writing when my kids were little because I needed a creative outlet that they couldn’t get into and mess up!
What inspired your first book?
My first published book (in English) is Clockwise. It’s hard to say where inspiration actually comes, but I’ve always been interested in how time travel creates mind puzzles. And I like puzzles. So maybe that was it.
Where do you write… what kind of surroundings do you like?
I’m not really fussy as to where I write, but I do like quiet and solitude. So I’m not a coffee shop writer.
Are the names of your characters important, and how do you choose them?
Sometimes. I put thought into the character names of Perception, the sci-fi series I’m working on now. It deals with opposing philosophies in science and faith with an emphasis on extending human life. I chose Zoe because it’s the Greek word for life and Noah because the character in the bible had his life shortened to 120 years by God.
I enjoy writing characters who are exploring their world and internal emotional experiences for the first time.”
You write both young adult and mature books, science fiction and historical… is there anything you don’t write?
I don’t think I’ll write straight contemporary. I’m always looking for something ‘otherworldly’ whether it’s a science fiction element or historical. I’ve written one women’s fiction (though it did include a historical element), but I don’t think I’ll do that again. I enjoy writing characters who are exploring their world and internal emotional experiences for the first time.
What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?
This business is tough and constantly changing on a dime. Developing my skills for business, since I view myself as a small business owner, has been my biggest learning curve over the past couple years.
You write tips and give advice to other writers, have you had a mentor yourself?
I’m basically self-taught. I read every book on writing and publishing I could get my hands on and joined a writers group called ‘the Indelibles.’ Both have helped me to develop skills in writing and business.
How do you feel about e-books as opposed to traditional paper books…. as a reader? As a writer?
As a writer/business owner, e-books are the future. In fact, they are the now. Ninety-five percent of my sales are digital books. As a reader, I can go either way, but I enjoy the convenience of my e-reader. I can pack around my whole library (great for someone who travels a lot like I do), can buy any book in minutes without leaving my house, and many e-books are much cheaper than print books, especially those sold by Indie Authors like me.
What books have influenced you the most?
This is a tough question because books influence me in different ways at different times. I’d say Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Sophie’s Journey by Sophie Thurmann, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, The Cay by Theodore Taylor, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson, Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier, and the Bible.
What are you working on now?
Playing With Matches releases in November. It’s about a boy who grew up in Hitler Youth and, along with his friends, had to decide what side they were actually on. This is a fictional account, but I drew on true life experiences from many people who lived through it, some of whom I know personally.
For 2013 I’m focusing on completing the Perception series. The first book and a short story prequel are available now. Books 2 and 3 will be out spring and fall, with an additional short story as part of an anthology in April and the final book due Jan 2015.
Thanks, Elle, and best of success with your books!
….and now for the Giveaway!
Elle has a special contest for readers of Pennello Lane! One lucky winner will receive their choice of one of Elle’s books…. see all the titles here.
Let’s have some fun with this…. in the spirit of Elle’s Clockwise series, if you could travel through time, where and when would you go? Tell me in a comment below, and you’ll be entered in the contest!
The giveaway will end at noon, Pacific Time, on Tuesday, December 18, 2012. Check your inbox on Tuesday!
Update: This giveaway is now closed, and the winner is Laura Emerson. Congratulations, Laura!
This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the United States, except where prohibited by law. One winner, chosen by random draw, will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 24 hours a new winner will be chosen.