Sunday, August 26, 2012

EXALTED BLOG TOUR: “Stained” Series by ELLA JAMES: Author Interview + Giveaway



“STAINED” SERIES: (Books 1 to 4)

STAINED
(YA paranormal romance):

After a fire destroys seventeen-year-old Julia's home and kills her foster parents, she chases the half-demon responsible across the country and back, determined to avenge her family and discover why a host of celestial baddies want her dead. With Julia is enigmatic hottie Cayne, who has his own score to settle with the half-demon, and who might be just as dangerous as the creature he and Julia hunt.
*Nominated best debut novel at UtopYAcon 2012.*


STOLEN
(Stained Series Book Two):

With Cayne's fate in the hands of his enemies and Julia spirited away to the covert Stained compound, the two are separated by impenetrable walls and a gulf of unanswered questions. Soon Julia learns the truth about the Stained and the plans they have for her, the compound is attacked, and a new group is running from an unwanted destiny, searching the globe in pursuit of the knowledge that just might save them all.


CHOSEN
(Stained Series Book Three):

Julia has been chosen. While at the Stained compound, she was tapped as The One to win the war against the Nephilim and leashed with an illness that worsens each day she is away from The Three. Determined not to return to the frightening Chosen leaders and desperate to escape her fate, Julia and her friends journey to the Swiss Alps, home of a rogue Chosen clan. In this snowy haven, all hell breaks loose. Someone is traitor. Someone changes sides. Someone is dragged to Hades. A new romance blossoms. An old romance is damned. And The Three will stop at nothing to recover the weapon that will help them regain power.



EXALTED
(Stained Series Book Four):

Ripped apart by the betrayals of two friends and ensnared by their respective celestial captors, Julia and Cayne are poised to fulfill their fatal role in The Three’s return to power. Their Chosen friends will move Hell and Earth to win their freedom, but how will they fight fate when more sinister forces take control? The net will come down. Someone will be sacrificed. A dear friend will die. And a mighty celestial battle will play out on Earth, with everything—and everyone—at stake.

RELEASE DATE: September 14, 2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW with ELLA JAMES

1. What is your choice of music while writing?

A: None. Isn’t that boring? My brain just focuses on one thing, and if it’s writing, it’s writing. If it’s listening to music, it’s listening to music. I can’t do both at the same time. It amazes me how everyone else can. ;)

2. How much input do you have on the design of your book covers?

A: A lot. My husband is my cover designer. He’s a designer by trade, so we kind of work together. That’s something I really like about being an indie author.

3. Which of your books took the longest to write?

A: I have an adult romantic suspense novel called Over The Moon, the first book in a series about an Illuminati-like secret society. I wrote it over about three years, during which I went back to college to get the degree I didn’t get the first time around, got married, and managed a shoe store. I really taught myself how to plot via OTM, because I rewrote it from scratch (new characters, totally new setting, totally new plot) four different times. It’s 140,000 words with seven or eight points of view (though only two main ones), and it was a beast to get right. Funnily, I’m planning to rewrite a good bit of the beginning before I release it as an ebook. Fun fact: The original part one is now Before You Go (only with a slightly altered {happy} ending). ;)

4. How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

A: I think it has a lot of impact. Every writer has repeat themes, and I think those themes are definitely determined by life experience – which starts in childhood. Writing is a great way to replay and rewrite bad experiences. I think we tend to base our characters on family and play out our own issues through our characters. I have a theory that a certain number of romance writers kind of need the happy ending, maybe because of something personal that didn’t end happily, but that’s only a theory. I’ve also seen a good number of romance novel dedications to mom and dad, who modeled a great marriage – that kind of thing. ;)

5. Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?

A: You mean is there any character that really seems like me? Hmm. I really love the character Ginny from The Only Alien on the Planet. As a teenager I thought she was kind of like me.

6. Except as yourself, which character would you want to play in a movie about your life, and why?

A: So I could play someone else who appears in my life story? Hmm. Probably my dog. I think I would be a terrible actress, and she doesn’t have any lines. ;)

7. What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

A: You have to be determined. Determined has to be your default setting. If you don’t make writing and hard work a way of life—a given; “just how things are for me”—it will seem like a chore, and if you’re bitter that you’re working without pay, you’ll go insane. You can’t keep wondering when you’re going to get published or when you’re going to be successful. You just have to make a vow to write ALL THE TIME regardless, because you are a writer. Tell yourself you may be doing this for a long time without any reasonable payoff. These sorts of low (or reasonable) expectations served me really well. Everyone has their frustrated moments, but overall I accepted that if I wanted to be a writer, I might be doing it for a long time without pay or recognition. I’ve been writing fiction for four hours a day since 2005, with a lot of 11- or 12-hour Saturdays and Sundays, and I just started getting paid decently for it in the last six months. (BUT with ebooks, I think people could get gratification a lot faster). The other thing I would say is remind yourself all the time that every single book you write is going to get 1- or 2-star reviews. Even if it’s an excellent book. You can’t please everyone.

8. Would you say there are any occupational hazards to being an author?

A: Writers are always joking about their internet browsing history, and that’s definitely one. If the government wanted to look into mine, I’m sure they’d be a little afraid of Ella James. ;) For me working too much is a hazard. As an ebook author my day is never done (PR, writing, formatting, covers, blog tours, etc) and if I’m not careful I find myself at the computer ALL the time. Getting disconnected from the rest of the world can also be an issue. I went to the dentist the other day knowing my appointment was on a Wednesday, but I had no idea what the date was or even what month we were in. I feel like it’s September because Exalted is coming out then. Lol.

9. Has the dog ever eaten your manuscript?

A: No, but I did have three laptops crash in a six-week time period during the writing of Chosen. I’m surprised I made it out of that with a manuscript.

10. What are you like first thing in the mornings before you’ve had your first cup of coffee?

A: If I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep, I can be grumpy. I usually just want to curl up on the couch and mime a sleeping person for another 30 minutes or so.

11. What's the most blatant lie you've ever told?

A: Oh, wow, that’s hard to answer. I’m sure I’ve made up a few whoppers – most of them probably in high school. Probably about where I was. I think I remember telling my parents a time or two that I was at a friend’s house while I was actually somewhere else… that kind of thing. I threw a huge party at my house when I was 16 and my parents were on a cruise. I cleaned up so well and aired the house out for so long, the first my parents heard of the party was last year at Christmas. I did carry around the guilt for years, though. That’s why I told my parents, I think. I wanted to feel absolved. ;)

12. What is the worst “crime” you committed as a teenager, which your parents had to punish you for?

A: I didn’t do that many ‘bad’ things, and I didn’t get caught very often when I did. Probably because of the lying! LOL! But as a teenager I had three friends, all named Kacey. The Kaceys liked to party, and one of the Kaceys took guitar lessons from a cute older guy. The guitar-playing Kacey got her guitar teacher to buy us two cases of beer. We sneaked the beer to my backyard and hid it under a very obvious pile of leaves and branches. We told my parents we were camping out, but that we needed a REALLY big cooler for all our Diet Cokes… The one they used to cool big fish they’d caught in the ocean. ;) #notobviousatall  We invited some other people over – they were supposed to come at 1 or 2 a.m. We had a big backyard, so I thought my parents would never notice. And they probably wouldn’t have. BUTTT my stepdad cooked amazing tenderloin for dinner, and we all got too full to drink our beer. We just stayed up and smoked cigarettes. (Yuck). So the next day, we felt icky and went inside to sleep. My stepdad cleaned up our campsite and found the super obvious pile of leaves, and then the beer. I got grounded, and I added a week onto my punishment in exchange for them not calling any of the Kaceys’ parents. I’m kinda proud of that now. ;)

13. What is your worst/best memory of high school, and why?

A: Oh, no. I’m going to start sounding like a criminal, because my favorite high school memory involves the cops! It was homecoming week, the very best time in high school, and my friends and I were going around rolling (toilet-papering) other friends’ yards. There was this one subdivision where a lot of our friends lived, so we had an elaborate plan to roll three or four houses in one escapade. Of course, the parents hated this, and the elderly people hated it even more. We made it at the first two houses without attracting notice, but our third friend had arranged a booby trap. He caught us, and in the ruckus, another neighbor noticed and called the police. We were rolling the fourth house when they showed up, and we all scattered. A group of us ran all around the neighborhood trying to evade the police; at one point, I ended up in a ditch with one of my school’s biggest hotties. ;) It was so exciting, it’s always been a favorite memory. Of course, the ones of us who did get caught only got scolded. We weren’t breaking laws or anything…

14. Are you fun to go on holiday with?

A: I think so. I’m not very Type A when I travel, which I think is a good thing. During utopYAcon, I roamed downtown Nashville with Jessica Sorensen and Delphina of Delphina Reads Too Much, as well as another YA writer named Amy, and we had a great time.

15. What makes you laugh?

A: Ridiculous things. Inappropriate things. When I was little, I used to dress my orange cat in a cat-sized tutu and put makeup on her. I would take her to the mirror and laugh my head off as she looked at herself, totally puzzled and probably totally miserable. (For my fellow animal lovers, keep in mind I was only 5). I don’t like humor where someone gets hurt, though. And I hate the Southpark episodes where they make fun of Jesus. I’m not okay with making fun of Jesus.

16. Any advice for aspiring writers?

A: Yes. J The first three are for true beginners… so skip ’em if you’ve been writing for a while.
1). Expect to work hard for success. Most people are not Stephenie Meyer. (Not saying she didn’t work hard, but she did get successful fast, and that’s not really typical). For most writers, it’s not a day job, and if it is your day job, you’re probably not making Amanda Hocking money. I’m not saying you can’t, but don’t have unreasonable expectations; you probably won’t at first.
2). Revise and re-write a lot before you put your first book out there. Maybe even wait until your second book. It takes a while to learn. Expect for it to take a while. (Again, maybe you’re the exception, but most people aren’t).
3). Make sure there’s always action and movement in the book. Read a few good plotting books. Writing might be your gift, but plotting will probably be an acquired skill, and even the best writing is useless without a strong plot.
4). If you’re self-publishing, hire more than one editor. Don’t expect one editor to get your book as clean as a book you buy from Books-A-Million, which was published by a pub house and had three or four editors. Make sure your covers are top-notch. And remember, Amazon ranking is proportional to PR time, at least in the very beginning.  
5). If you’re trying to get traditionally published, query widely. Like, at least 100 agents. And don’t be afraid of small pub houses. Sometimes they can help you get your foot in the door. Also… don’t doubt your worth as a writer if you don’t get an agent. It’s a statistical improbability if you consider the number of agents in NY and the number of new clients they take on per year. Keep at it if it’s what you really want, but consider self-pub, too. ;)

ABOUT ELLA:


Ella James lives in Alabama with her amazing husband, energetic baby, and mopey dog. Her books have been nominated best debut novel and best sci-fi/fantasy at utopYA Convention 2012, received a Flamingnet Top Choice Award, and been featured on numerous Amazon bestseller lists. She is the author of the popular Stained Series, the Here Trilogy, and BeforeYou Go—all YA romance—and has four more titles forthcoming in 2012.

GET IN TOUCH:

To find out more about Ella’s projects and get exact dates on her upcoming releases, friend her on Facebook
 and follow her blog. Questions or comments? Tweet her or e-mail her at ella_f_james@ymail.com.

NEXT BLOG STOP:


***GIVEAWAY***

To win an e-copy of “Chosen” by Ella James, leave a blog comment with your email address.
Winner will be selected using random.org.
Gifting the prize to the winner remains the sole responsibility of the author.
Giveaway ends Wednesday 29 August 2012.
Winner will be notified by email. 

12 comments:

wendy said...

Joyhappywendy@gmail.com

Cassie Chapman said...

cassie_chvz@yahoo.com

Between the Bind said...

I haven't read this series but certainly hope to read/review on BtB. :)

I love that you don't listen to music while writing - if I'm in a serious moment, I just can't. However, I am a fan of classical while I'm writing...or Irish. Anything with no lyrics really because if I know the song I'll start to sing. Yeah...I'm that girl. :)

Great interview!

jennalynneellis@gmail.com

Cassie Hoffman said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

mrscassiehoffman@ymail.com

Colleen Reilly said...

colreillyuk@yahoo.co.uk

great giveaway!

Colleen Reilly

Ramsha15 said...

An amazing giveaway!

ramsha_rehan123@yahoo.com

Brriske Free-Zone said...

brriske@yahoo.com

ann wilson said...

Thanks! mamawilson12@hotmail.com

Katy Austin said...

Lilmama2brynn318@yahoo.com Thanks! <3 Ella

Anonymous said...

tamara_beard@yahoo.com

Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Claire Taylor said...

Great series.

Thanks for the giveaway

darkmotive@hotmail.com

NatashaMay said...

Fascinating interview and awesome giveaway. :)
natasa.zugecic@gmail.com