Monday, January 26, 2015

Guestopia! Interview with NA author E.L. Wicker

This month, I invited a very special author I've had the pleasure of working with, the beautiful and talented NA writer E.L. Wicker, to join us on YAtopia and tell us about her debut book, Fractured Immortal.

Hi Emma! Thanks so much for letting me interview you. Let's get to it!

Are you self published or traditional?
I self-published.

Is this your first published book?

What’s it called?
Fractured Immortal

Which genre?
Paranormal Romance

Which age group?
New Adult

Is it a series or standalone?

Do you have another job?
Paid job – No. But I do a vast range of things for other writers from Beta reading (which I suck at because, before you know it, I’ve got the red pen in my hand and I’m into full blown critique mode), free promotion, free formatting, free blog tour design and I have some really great critique partners.

Did you receive many, if any, rejections prior to publication?
I only queried one agent and it was a very early draft. My cheeks go pink thinking about it. The manuscript was in terrible shape and I had no business querying. Lesson learned. It takes many, many drafts to make a book!

What were you doing or watching when the first idea for this book sneaked up on you?
I was listening to ‘Let Her Go’ by Passenger and all these images started popping into my head. One image or ‘scene’ in particular and actually the only scene that made it into the book – the moment where Ilia meets Nathaniel for the first time. I felt that I needed to write the story around that scene. A few months later, Fractured Immortal was born.

How long did you plot/plan until you started writing it?
As I mentioned above, I pictured that scene and it took me a while before I realized that it wasn’t going to go away. It intrigued me and I started thinking – where can I go from here? About two months later, I began creating the characters. From there it became a case of write, write, write. There are many scenes that didn’t make it into the book. I think if I put the complete book with the outtakes, the book would double in size. I am a true pantser so if something didn’t work when I’d written it, it got chopped.

When you started, did the story flow naturally or did you have to step in and wrestle it into submission?
I am a linear writer. From chapter one all the way to the end, I keep it going. Sometimes I have to stop and cut a chapter here or there because it wasn’t right or the chapter was really just a scene that needed no more than a couple of paragraphs. I battled furiously with a particular character throughout the process, but in the end, he shaped up better than I imagined him.

How long did the first draft take to write?
From October 2013 to April 2014. From there I spent nearly every waking hour rewriting, cutting, adding and polishing. In late May / early June, I thought it was complete. I thought wrong! In August 2014 my critique partners ripped their way through it and more chapters got deleted. From there another Beta reader (who is a lot like me and goes all CP on it) went through it for the first time. She did the same again prior to release to make sure it was perfect. When it was finally ready, it went to an editor and more changes were made, though they were small and involved tightening some of my language and weeding out repetitive phrases.

How many drafts did you write before you let someone read it? Who was that someone?
Honestly, I don’t know how many drafts but I can tell you with certainty that when I did unleash it, it wasn’t ready. My first Beta reader was Nori, aka ReadWriteLove28. She provided great feedback, all of which I actioned. I feel sorry for her that she had to read such an early version. Writing is a learning process, I learned a lot!

Did you employ an editor/proofreader or did you have critique partners/beta readers?
I used all of the above. I have a beta reader list the length of my arm and my critique partners, Kathleen Palm and Natasha Raulerson were excellent. Then, off it went to my editor, Kate Foster (me!) who did a terrific job honing and polishing it. Then it went back to Nancy Griffis, the most in depth Beta reader I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Roughly how many drafts did it take before you felt ready to publish?
Far too many to count. I think my laptop is close to exploding with the amount of files I have. I have this habit of never deleting a draft, just in case.

Has the book changed dramatically since the first draft?
Yes. The first draft contained multiple POV’s. A total nightmarish mess. Lucas, Kyle, Nathaniel and Ilia all had their own chapters as well as 3rd Omniscient flashbacks to 1810, a prologue with the antagonists POV and some other rubbish stuff!

Are there any parts you’d like to change even now?
I could have messed with Fractured Immortal for eternity but there comes a time where you have to say, that’s it – that’s the story, if you meddle anymore, you’re going to break something.

What part of writing do you find the easiest?
The dialogue between Kyle and Ilia, it flowed quite naturally and the battle scenes, which I thought would be the hardest. They weren’t easy, as such, but they were very enjoyable to write.

What part do you find hardest?
Nailing the backstory was so difficult. I knew what happened, but trying to express it without dumping it on the reader, I found that really tough.

Do you push through writing barriers or walk away?
I have a mini-fit, tell myself I can’t possibly do it, I’m totally rubbish and what on Earth was I thinking when I decided to write a book. Then I spend a while ignoring the book, maybe write a blog post or listen to music, then I get back at it. I push through the barriers eventually, but that sometimes requires walking away for a brief period.

How many projects do you have on the go at the same time?
I prefer to have only one project on the go at a time but right now, I have two, which is driving me batty.

Do you think you’re born with the talent to write or do you think it can be learned?
That’s a tough one to answer. My family are mostly artists, my sisters and my daughters can literally bring things to life on canvas, but me, I fail at drawing even the simplest of things. It became evident early in my life that I was a bookworm and writing began as soon as I could put pen to paper and structure, albeit very badly, my own scenes. The brain is a wonderful thing and a scientific study showed how, in seasoned writers, a part of the brain called the caudate nucleus becomes very active when writing. The study compared novice writers against experienced ones, that part of the novices' brains remained pretty much dormant. But can you teach that part of your brain to become active? I’m afraid I lack the qualifications to say.

How many future novels do you have planned?
I have three planned but I have another idea floating around inside my head, developing itself. I know I’m going to end up writing it because its got that same persistence about it that Fractured Immortal had.

Do you write other things, such as short stories, articles, blogs, etc?
I write blogs, I also like writing lyrics.

What’s the highlight of being published so far?
The biggest highlight so far is logging onto Twitter and one of my friends had retweeted a tweet she’d seen about my book. I was over the moon, serious happy tears.

Give YAtopia five writing tips that work for you.
When you can’t seem to form the words, listen to music to get the creative juices flowing. This works for me.
Listen. If the same thing is being flagged by different people over and over, then you have a problem so listen to what your beta readers / critique partners / editors are saying and revise.
Another listen. If your brain is nagging at you that something isn’t quite right, try to work through it before pressing on. I recently ended up ditching 40-50k words because my brain kept telling me something was off. When I found what it was, I had to rewrite because it was something that took my story in the wrong direction. I could’ve saved myself a lot of work and time had I listened.
First drafts are just that, first drafts. Don’t think your first draft of your MS is the final draft, it rarely – if ever – is. Keep at that first draft until you have a shiny manuscript.
Lastly, when you’re feeling a bit rubbish and you think you can’t do it, know this – yes you can. You just have to take a breath, regroup your thoughts and then get back at it. You CAN do it.

And one that doesn’t.
Write what you know. Poppycock. If I wrote what I knew, I’d have a story about a dog that puffs heinous smelling air from his butt and an evil cat that pasted part of my manuscript on Facebook –  as my status. And while that might sound mildly amusing, I can’t write a book about smelly farts and a cat that walks across the keyboard. Well, maybe I can, but I would have to build a plot around it and they would be minor parts of the story. I don’t know how to write a mystery or a thriller, I don’t know how to write for middle grade but I also didn’t know how to write New Adult. In one of the manuscripts I’m working on now, I had to thoroughly research DNA. I knew nothing of DNA before I started writing and now I do. Write what you know, pfff. If you don’t know it – learn it. James Patterson was not a policeman, Andrew Gross was not a policeman, either, or a hedgefund manager and Enid Blyton didn’t have a magic tree in her backyard or was J.K. Rowling a pupil at Hogwarts. If it’s not real, imagine it, if it is real, research it.

Can you give us a clue or secret about the next book?
A regular character will die and it breaks my heart, but it’s key to the development of another character.

What question have you always wanted to be asked but never have? What would the answer be?
Why a book about vampires? Because I wanted to. I had neither read nor watched Twilight when I began Fractured Immortal and it’s gets on my nerves when I see people tweeting rubbish things like ‘tired of seeing vampire books – read mine, guaranteed no vampires’ – (actual tweet or close enough) –oh, get a grip. Don’t bash one genre to try and sell another. It’s not cool and I will send my dog to expel air in close proximity to your nasal passages.

Thank you so much for joining us, Emma, we wish you so much luck with Fractured Immortal. 

If you haven't read Emma's awesome book, then here are the links to purchase! Trust me, it's worth it and this is truly an author to look out for.



  1. Thank you for a wonderful interview, Kate! :)

  2. Most welcome, Emma. Thank you for joining us! :)