Today is Wednesday and I’m pleased to have E.A. West join us with her latest release, Different. This novel promises you a story like no other you have ever read before. Take a moment to read the blurb about Different, and then we’ll ask E.A. what inspired the book and what her writing process is like.
Jezebel Smith is different. She can’t talk, she doesn’t look like anyone in her family, and no matter what she does it’s always the wrong thing. God accepts her for who she is, but He’s the only one who does. Then she finds an unconscious man in her favorite cave, and her life is turned up-side down. New people and new rules collide with the old, leaving Jezebel unsure of which set of rules apply to her life. When the strangers in town attempt to help her out of the nightmare she’s grown up in, it promises to change her life forever.
CL: Tell us what sparked the idea for your new release, Different.
E.A.: Honestly, it was a combination of things. I’m on the autism spectrum, so the idea of writing an autistic character appealed to me. I also read several articles about autism being misunderstood by a lot of people, including some who sadly believed that it’s a behavior problem in the child. One article that really stood out to me, however, mentioned an autistic young man whose family believed he was demon possessed. Their pastor attempted to exorcise the demon several times, which was traumatic for this young man and completely unnecessary since autism is a neurological disorder. It was a heartbreaking story and convinced me that spreading the word about what autism is like from the inside, so to speak, is vitally important to helping the general public better understand the disorder.
CL: Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Do you outline before you begin to write or are you a pantster?
E.A. I am a total pantser. Outlines and I have never gotten along well, so I just make it up as I go. It can be a little intimidating or frustrating at times not to know for sure where the story is going, but it’s also a lot of fun. After all, by starting at the beginning of the story and writing as the ideas come, I get to watch the story unfold similar to how readers will.
CL: What was the most difficult part of writing Different?
E.A. Trying to put myself in the main character’s shoes so I could accurately portray her. Jezebel’s childhood is so different from mine, yet I had to call upon my own unique way of experiencing the world to write her. This was one book where I laughed, cried, got angry, etc. during the writing process, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
CL: Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a published author.
E.A. I discovered a love of writing when I took a creative writing class my freshman year of high school. After several years of writing and learning how to write on my own, I joined an online critique group. They quickly taught me just how little I knew about writing. With their guidance and encouragement, however, my writing improved a great deal. In 2009 I received a contract for a short ebook, Dreams Do Come True.
CL: What advice would you offer aspiring writers on the writing business?
E.A. Don’t give up! Publishing is a tough business to break into, and rejections are a way of life. If you always keep learning the craft, keep revising and persevering, eventually you’ll find the place where your book belongs. And don’t be disappointed if your first book never gets published. Many authors don’t receive a contract for their first manuscript. The important thing is to always keep writing, revising, and submitting to agents and/or publishers.
CL: Any special tips for writers who are juggling writing with raising a family, working a day job or just everyday life in general?
E.A. Write however much you can, whenever you can. Life will always interrupt and get in the way, but if you truly want to be a writer, you’ll find ways to get the words down. You might get up a little earlier or go to bed a little later. Write during your lunch break or after the kids are in bed. Don’t worry about a specific word count for each day. If you can meet a goal like that, more power to you. But for some writers, seeing a specific number of words that HAVE to be written each day can be intimidating and actually discourage them from writing. So, write however many words you can, whether it’s a single sentence during your coffee break or five thousand words while your baby takes a long nap. You may not be able to crank out a book a month, but you’ll be making progress and that’s the important thing.
E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.
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