Welcome A.C. Ellas!! We are thrilled you are here!
Thank you, A.C. for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?
Coffee, most definitely coffee. I brought stevia drops and organic cream for it, too, would you like some? What sort of beans do you use? I like the organic blend from Whole Foods the best, and of course I grind my beans fresh for each pot. I should probably look into roasting the beans, too, but I really don’t have the time.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I can. Well, first of all, I write. I consider myself a science fiction and fantasy author, it’s just that my books have a more adult, kinky flavor to them, and I don’t close the bedroom door behind my characters. I believe in world-building, and as a result, I have a small mountain of files about my created world, Ydron. I’ve considered everything, from system mechanics to geography, from ecology to the cultures of the people who inhabit my world.
In addition to writing, I edit. Even when I was a kid, I’d correct the typos in the books I’d read. Now I get to do it professionally. I edit under a different name, mostly to prevent an appearance of conflict of interest. I always want the books I’ve worked on, either my own or the works of others, to do insanely well.
I’m also the mother of two very active young boys. One is a high functioning autist, the other a genius, and between them, there’s never a dull moment. That’s a soapbox I’ll avoid, except to say that to heal my son, I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about guts, brains, and the connection between them, which brings me to my last hat.
I’m a registered nurse. In fact, I’m a cardiovascular intensive care specialist. I take care of patients directly after open heart surgery during those first, critical hours. I take care of a wide variety of other ICU patients, too, but cardiac nursing is what I do best.
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
“Oh, wow, they want it! They want it! Wait, is this a good idea?”
Of course, I decided that it was good, even though breaking a massive novel into shorter serialized segments is a lot of work. Serialization did give me the opportunity to add back a lot of detail that had been cut for length. So, the first volume, which comprises books 1-10 of the Dark Servant, is a third larger in total than it was when I originally submitted it.
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
My brother is gay. My best friend from high school is gay. I have a lot of gay friends. Somehow, my main characters end up being gay, and that doesn’t bother me in the least. Since I’m not gay, or even male, I had to do a lot of research, and I quickly discovered that most porn is pretty horrible when it comes to plot.
I don’t think I ever consciously decided to make my characters gay. Technically, several of my characters are bisexual, and at least one is a hermaphrodite. I played with biology when I created my world. It’s an alien planet, even if there are humans there. One of my races has four genders. Another hatches from eggs. Even Earth biology is varied, and there’s more than one way to propagate a genome.
Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.
No, thank you, for health reasons, I follow a paleo diet. No grains of any kind. I eat high-quality, non CAFO (confined area feeding operation), organic meat, pastured organic eggs, organic milk (raw if I can find it), a healthy variety of vegetables, conventional if their pesticide load is low, organic otherwise, and no GMO (genetically modified organism) produce or ingredients.
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
Depends on the day. On a day where I have to work with my kids on school and then go work a shift at the hospital, I get about an hour of writing time. On my nights off, and yes, I’m a night-shifter, I can get upwards of six hours of writing in.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I do a little of both. I’ll write through until I’m done for the day, but the next day, I read it and correct it before continuing on to new material.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I’m a planner. I flowchart the plot. I arrange scenes. I have it all mapped out in advance. And then I sit down to write. Once I do that, the characters take on a life of their own and sometimes spin off on a tangent that was never in the plan. I either have to backtrack, or find a way to fit the new ideas into the overall story arc. I usually manage to shoehorn it in, but not always.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
If you have to pin me down on just one, then Scorth, the black dragon, is my favorite. I like him because, firstly, he’s a dragon. I grew up with Anne McCaffrey’s books as my surrogate mom. I adore dragons. This dragon isn’t like Anne’s dragons, though. He’s magical, can shapeshift, and can’t teleport. He’s very intelligent and very sarcastic, and that’s a combo that’s just fun to write.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
I suffer from writer’s block only in revision. I know, that seems strange, right? But I write in a very linear fashion, from beginning to end, and skipping stuff greatly offends my CDO (OCD alphabetized like it should be). So when I’m trying to revise a scene, and something’s not right, I get stuck right there, sometimes for weeks. I muse over that scene at every possible opportunity. Usually, the solution comes to me while I’m driving, occasionally while I’m at the hospital.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)
Not really. I write on my laptop using a lap desk, and I don’t care if I’m in the living room, my bedroom, or a hotel room. Hospital administration, however, frowns on my writing while I’m on duty, and I don’t always get a lunch break. And, strangely, it seems that the nights I take my laptop in with me, I’m so insanely busy that I never have time to even think out breaking it out and working on it. Conversely, on nights where I don’t have my laptop, I’m twiddling my thumbs watching very stable patients sleeping.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
No, there’s no point. My kids would take such a sign as a challenge. Really, I do most of my writing at night, after everyone else is asleep.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
My humor is dry and sarcastic. Things that make me laugh: George Carlin. Monty Python. Most medical humor. SF&F fandom jokes. Things that don’t make me laugh: Sitcoms. Spoofs. Galaxy Quest was the exception to the spoofs category, that movie was brilliant.
What is your most frequently asked question?
The most frequently asked question is where I got the idea for the Dark Servants. It all happened because I live in a desert. One hot summer night, I was reading a rather good fantasy novel, and it was upsetting me. Why, I asked, are the bad guys always Dark? Why is night automatically evil? From the point of view of a nighttime desert dweller, the SUN is the enemy. And that’s when the idea for the Dark Servants came to me.
What are you working on now?
I’m continuing to work on the Dark Servant serialization, I’m also working on several short stories set in the Dark Servant world, plus, I’m working on an entirely new series, a MM science fiction tale.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
I read. I read a lot, actually, but almost exclusively science fiction and fantasy. People-watching is another hobby of mine. It’s like bird-watching, only you don’t want to use binoculars because you might clue your targets in as to the fact that you’re observing them.
Every so often I escape from it all by hiking into the wilderness and pitching a tent. My version of camping is old school—no amenities, only a radio for emergencies. I backpack into wilderness areas where motor vehicles aren’t permitted. Back when I had horses, I would horse-pack in. I miss having horses.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
Science Fiction and Fantasy. I am widely read within those two genres, but not widely read in the MM genre. I grew up with SF&F, and there’s some overlap there with erotica and romance. Or rather, it’s more accurate to say that SF&F can have elements of many different genres. After all, people don’t stop falling in love because they’re in space, and there can be murder mysteries in fantasy castles.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer-
Astronaut. If they wanted volunteers for a one-way mission to another world I’d be one of the first in line. Although, I have already done two of those – I have a degree in microbiology and I’ve retrained retired racehorses to prepare them for careers off the track.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Reading. I also make soap. Like every good nerd, I follow several SF&F TV shows, such as Game of Thrones (Yes, I’ve read all the books. I’ve even met George), Dr. Who, Supernatural, and so on.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
The short stories should be good, and there’s that sci fi series coming, too. And of course, I am continuing the Dark Servant series, which is almost at the end of the second volume, about to start the third.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!
Sure thing. I have some good soap here, I made it last month.