Interview with Devon Ellington
Also, she’s taken time out of her busy schedule to do an interview with me. Enjoy! And go get her book. That’s an order. 😉
Interview with Devon Ellington, author of Hex Breaker
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? And how did you get your start?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I published in school type magazines in elementary school, and did press for the high school’s music organizations in high school. I wrote some plays in high school, too. In college, I got away from the writing and focused more on production, although I kept extensive journals. I got back into the writing, mostly with plays, in the 1990’s, working off-Broadway and writing for actress friends who couldn’t find good monologues. That blossomed back into prose. For several years, I ran dual careers on Broadway and writing; in the last couple of years I’ve been making the transition to writing full-time, adding business and article writing into the mix.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everything is inspiration. Nothing a writer experiences on any level is ever wasted. I work primarily from character, so characters tend to be my starting point. A character starts telling me a story, and then I start asking, “What if?” and we fly from there.
What is the one writer’s tool you can’t live without?
A good pen! I’ve written outlines and even parts of short stories on bar napkins or the backs of envelopes. A musician friend of mine was very insulted once because I scrawled a short story on napkins while I sat in the front row while he performed his set – but something in his music inspired me, and it had to be written down RIGHT AWAY. So, yeah, a good, reliable pen!
How many words/pages do you do in a day/week/month? And how do you keep yourself motivated to do them?
I do as many as need to be done. I do 1K first thing in my day, usually fiction, and then switch back and forth on projects depending on what’s on deadline. I like to do about 1500 – 2000 words/day on a single project, but switch off projects all day as necessary. Motivation – this is how I make my living; I don’t write, I don’t eat. No one else is going to pay the bills or look after me. It’s up to me. And I’m not willing to knuckle under to some cubicle job and write “on the side”. I’ve made my living the entire life in the arts, first in theatre, and now writing. I suppose you could call Broadway the “day job”, even though it’s at night, but there’s a saying “theatre is a jealous mistress”, which I’ve found to be very true. It’s much harder for me to write when I’m in a full Broadway show week, so I limit the amount of work I accept backstage. The writing has to come first, and I have to be ruthless about it. It’s hard, because I love the work backstage, and I work with some amazing people who matter so much to me, but there comes a point where my own work has to come first.
Whose work has influenced you the most?
So many writers have influenced me. Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa May Alcott are huge influences, as is Shakespeare. There’s a reason we keep going back to his work after all this time. I was lucky enough to work with both Arthur Miller and Athol Fugard – within the same six-month period, actually – they were huge influences on me. As far as contemporary fiction writers, I’d say Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Berg, Yasmine Galenorn, Sharon Shinn, and Ian Rankin are my strongest influences. And Chaz Brenchley. I am totally in awe of Chaz Brenchley’s writing. Plus he’s one of the best humans on the planet.
Today is the release of your novella, HEX BREAKER. Where did you get the idea for that?
I wrote it on a dare. A couple of the scenes came into my head after working long hours on a television episodic, coming home and feeling rather zombie-like! Not to mention annoyed with some of the foibles that take place on a set. The car chase scene formed in my head when someone was trying to crawl up my tailpipes late night on the I-95 one night. And the opening sequence was part of a dream I had while working with the inspiration for the character of Randy. Originally, Wyatt East, the male protagonist, was not even a consideration in the book. Billy Root was supposed to be Jain’s foil. But then Wyatt sauntered into the book in Chapter Two and took over. He pushed Billy aside, and he’s a much stronger individual than Billy, and a better match for Jain.
Tell us a little about the book.
Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts. Hey, it’s always more fun when they have dark pasts, isn’t it?
Will there be more adventures with these characters?
Yes. I should have a short story available for free download soon. The second story in the series, tentatively titled OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, is told through Wyatt’s eyes, and is almost finished. The third will be told through Billy Root’s point of view and is set in Scotland. Gee, now there’s a surprise, right? Something of mine set in Scotland – again!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the Jain Lazarus short story, and I’m trying to finish OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK so I can start on Billy’s story. I’m working on the next story for the crew of The Merry’s Dalliance – NEW MYTHS will have the first of these pirate fantasy stories in their fall issue. I’ve also begun the second book in the trilogy that starts with TRACKING MEDUSA, the archaeological adventures featuring Dr. Gwen Finnegan and Justin Yates. This one is called THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE. I get to use more of the research from CUTTHROAT CHARLOTTE and The Merry stories in it. I warn you – Justin’s going to break your heart in this one.
Thanks so much for the interview.
Available from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing, www.firedrakesweyr.com
$4/digital novella, $6/CD
Visit the Hex Breaker site to keep up with the latest Jain Lazarus adventures and read excerpts at: http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com.
Keep up with Devon Ellington’s writing and latest releases on Ink in My Coffee: http://devonellington.wordpress.com
Thanks, Devon! I can’t wait to read the book!