Hi Ellen Cross! Welcome to Top 2 Bottom Reviews, we’re very happy you’re here!
Thank you, Ellen 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?
I’ll pass on the juice, no offense, and head straight for the tea, thanks hehe.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself
Hmm there is not that much to tell, actually.
I’m in my thirties, a married mom of five boys and living at the beach on the north-eastern corner of NSW, Australia. I have a completely warped sense of humor, and am not ashamed to admit to having a geeky side, either.
I’ve always had my head in books, and turned to eBooks after hubby complained that the paperbacks were taking up too much room.
I’ve been with EXtasy for just over a year now, and am so thankful to have found such a wonderful publisher straight off.
My first couple books were straight and ménage romance, but as I settled in and became comfortable, I decided to unleash my true calling, writing gay romance.
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
I was speechless, and feeling a little lightheaded from holding my breath when I saw the email was from my publisher. I actually checked the email twice lol. It was the moment when my confidence soared to a whole new level of “I can do this!”
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
I first encountered gay romance with RJ Scott’s, Christmas Throwaway. That book was such an eye-opener. It led me to read more, and I liked what I read.
I hardly ever read straight romance anymore, with the exception of a couple of my favorite authors that I can never pass up on, so why would I want to write it?
There is just something about man-on-man romance that ticks all the right boxes. The strength, muscles, pure domination of a far larger guy holding down their partner and making them feel… Are you inspired yet? I know I am. And let me be honest, anatomy allowing…there is not a single thing my characters do to each other that I wouldn’t do to them!
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.
Ooh, Mystery ones, please. Sometimes you just have to hand over control, and let yourself be taken…by surprise, to experience life to its fullest. Even unpleasant experiences can yield inspiration if you look hard enough.
You are very brave, Ellen…LOL!
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
I try to get at least an hour every day, but on good days—I call those school days *grins*—I usually get 3-4 hours in.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I revise as I go. With the boys and hectic lifestyle, I can never sit and write for long at one stretch, so find myself back-reading to try and get into the moment before I can keep going.
Ideas also love to hit me at the worst possible moments, so I usually have a bunch of ideas and scenes written in notepads, voice messages on my phone etc, and I have to piece them together as I go. Some books are almost like a jigsaw puzzle before I am finished.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I’ll get hit with a basic idea. It might be from a picture, a dream, song, or whatever. Sometimes it will just be a basic idea, or plot structure, other times it will be like a complete movie running through my mind. When the idea first hits I try my best to write that basic structure out, adding every detail I can remember. The rest is by the seat of my pants. I have never storyboarded or neatly planned out my books, just a few certain key points.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
I have too many to just choose one. While I love my strong dominant men, my underdog characters are my favorites. They take on whatever the world throws at them and give the bird back. While they don’t think they are worthy of a mate, I love to prove them wrong, and watch them bloom under the love of their partner.
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 do, and usually with each book. I could sit and groan and moan all day from sheer frustration, but I soon learned to place a marker on my work at that point, and skip that scene. I’ll then move along and keep writing ahead, sometimes even working on a different book. When my mind clears, the scene will always come back and let me know how it is meant to be played out. Often just getting up and doing something else will clear the blockage.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?
I have my little desk corner set up right in the front corner of my lounge room. I can still interact with the family and make sure they are not destroying the house, watch supernatural on Monday nights—thank goodness for those Winchester boys!!—and best of all, it’s straight under the air-conditioner. I have the best seat in the house during summer *grins*.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
Not a sign, but a big set of noise cancelling—with extra bass—headphones lol. They can disturb me all they want, but when the tunes are pumping as the muse flows, it is almost as good as putting a mute button on the kids *grins*
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
I do have a darkly twisted kind of sense of humor. In fact, I have given hubby asthma attacks a number of times from making him laugh so hard. He’s also woke me up in the middle of the night when I’ve been giggling my head off in my sleep and keeping him awake. Hey, is it my fault the dream was funny?
As for my boys, if they leave their nerf guns around, fully loaded, whose fault is it when I feel the need to hide behind the lounge and launch a surprise attack at the first one who passes? We often have full blown wars in my house. I guess that is the plus side of having five of boys. It makes for a great three-a-side battle royale!
What is the most frequently asked Ellen Cross question?
Probably the most asked question is where I get the inspiration for the sex scenes in my books from. Well, let me tell you, I have a very overactive imagination…and living at the beach with all those Aussie guys parading their tanned muscles on display, who can blame me? *winks*
What are you working on now?
Fractured. Book one of the Preternatural Rescue Centre, series. I also have a few stand-alone books in the works. Some are making even me blush!
We found the cover art for Fractured…it looks great!!
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 like to take a leaf from Peter Pan’s philosophy, and try to keep that child-like curiosity, about myself. Life is too short to be serious all the time. It is meant to be experienced, and watching my own kids has proven to me that children really do see things so different to how we do as adults. It’s surprising how many times I have been playing with my kids, and they will do or say something that just seems to “fit” with a certain character’s profile. Take every moment of your day as a possible idea. You never know where you will find inspiration, just keep your eyes and mind open to it.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
There is another genre?? Just joking lol. I like a pretty wide range, but nothing non-fiction. I just can’t get into true stories. I think it stems from my constant need to keep my head in the clouds, or in the gutter. Take your pick, they are both pretty accurate.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer?
Astronaut, hands down. We have pretty much explored all there is on earth, so that only leaves one place…up!
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I don’t have much time for anything else, but apart from catching up on a movie every now and again with hubby, I love to get crafty. Most of my swag is hand-made, and I love taking inspiration from my books to create the pieces. I am also a musician, and it is a part for my daily life, also. I cannot create without music pushing me toward my goals, literally keeping me going when my energy is low, yet the muse is flowing strong.
Living at the beach, it is almost a given that spending time either walking along the shore or building sandcastles with my boys, is also one of my favorite pastimes, that is until our completely loopy dog, Jessie, tears through the middle of our creation. She likes to add her own personal touch *grins*.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
I am working on the Preternatural Rescue Centre series, this year, as well as a few stand-alone titles I have in the works. Preternatural Rescue’s prequel, Cole in his Stocking, came out on December 15th, 2013, and is also tied into my 2013 Halloween release, Delta Blues.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
You can find me at any of the following:
Website – http://ellen-cross.webs.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ellen.cross.376
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Ellen__Cross
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, *rolls up sleeves*.