~~ ELLEN FISHER ~
Interview with Tracey West ~~
Fisher is relatively a new author to the romance genre.
To date, she has had 2 works published with
many more on the horizon. After reading
her upcoming release, All I Ever
Wanted, just recently, I am going to be keeping an eye on this
for future works. I was pleasantly
surprised by her talent, her creativity and definitely impressed. But let’s learn a bit more about this new
talent, shall we…
Ellen Fisher: the mom, the
author, the wife?
Ellen – Hi,
Tracey! Thanks very much for your kind
words about my writing. I am currently a
stay-at-home mom with three kids (eight, five, and two).
Before I had kids I worked as an insurance
underwriter. Once I was at home during
the day I started writing, at first more as a hobby than anything else. I am a compulsive journaler (I have a journal
detailing my kids’ accomplishments that’s over four hundred pages long
still growing!), but my real love is writing romance.
It’s kind of like an addiction… I can’t stop
*g*. I also sing with my church choir
and very occasionally play the cello with them.
I also spend an inordinate amount of time surfing
the internet when I
really ought to be vacuuming!
Where do you call home?
Ellen – Virginia is my home.
I was born in Virginia Beach, went to college in
Williamsburg, and now live in the
Except for a few years in Charlotte, NC, I’ve always lived in
My first two books were set in colonial Virginia, and my contemporaries
are all set
in a fictional Virginia town.
I love Virginia and hope I never have to
What/Who inspired you to
Ellen – My
parents were freelance writers for the newspaper. My
mom’s parents both wrote for the
newspaper, and her grandfather did too.
Obviously I got the writing gene, but somehow only
for fiction… I
couldn’t write a newspaper article to save my life.
I started writing novels when I was nine or
ten, turning out a couple of fairly long books about dogs and horses—my
obsession at the time. I switched to
writing romances when I read Deceive Not My Heart, by Shirlee
when I was sixteen.
Was your journey to
difficult one? What was your first book
Ellen – My
first published romance was The Light in the Darkness (Bantam,
1998). I submitted it to every New York publisher out there (I wasn't on
the Internet at the time and had never heard of e-publighing) and it was flatly rejected by everyone.
(There were more New York publishers back then-- I
accumulated eight or nine rejections.)
At last, just when I had pretty much given up hope,
I got “the call”
from Bantam, and I was ecstatic.
Unfortunately, they rejected my next book, putting
me pretty much back
where I started!
Is there anything that
you would do
differently while trying to get published?
If you did it again, what would you do differently?
Ellen – I
can’t say I’d have approached e-publishers first, because at the time I
first book e-publishing was an idea I was totally unfamiliar with.
But nowadays I wouldn’t focus so much on
trying to sell to New York—it’s great for writers
are so many alternatives now. Every
romance doesn’t fit neatly into the categories that New York publishers prefer, and
are a lot more likely to accept books that are a little different—like
colonial romances I write.
What is your writing
like? Do you outline the stories first,
or do you just go with the flow?
Ellen – I
never outline. An idea, or a scene, or a
sentence pops into my head, and I write it down. Before
long I’m writing furiously, with only
the vaguest idea of where I’m going, yet it all comes together in some
fashion I’m afraid to examine too closely.
I am very much a subconscious writer—my brain does
most of the work
while I’m walking or taking a shower. I
do have to revise pretty carefully to make sure I don’t have gaping
holes in my
plot, though. Fortunately my husband
always reads my manuscripts several times and points out all the
What is your writing
Ellen – I
get up early in the morning (around six) and write before the kids get
bed. If I have something I’m working on
seriously, I also write in the afternoon while my two-year-old son
then again in the evening when Dad is home to keep the kids out of my
hair. My writing schedule is obviously
built around the kids… my two-year-old doesn’t really approve of me
the computer. He thinks I exist to read
Your first book
Light in the Darkness is with a print publisher, Bantam. What can you tell us about that book? Where can we get it?
Ellen – The
Light in the Darkness is a colonial Virginia romance, about an
planter who weds an ignorant tavern wench without any intention of
as a true wife. She transforms herself
into a beautiful, intelligent woman, and he begins to fall in love
much against his will. It’s out of
print, so your best bet is finding it in a used bookstore or used on
Amazon. I hope to get the rights back in
a couple of years and to get it reissued as an e-book.
Was the experience like
a print publisher and an e-publisher?
Were there any differences in your experience?
Ellen – Oh,
definitely. Print publishing is
SLOOOOOW. I had to wait a full year for Darkness
to be released after Bantam bought it.
Nowadays I know New York authors who have to wait
months. NCP, on the other hand,
scheduled Love Remembered only six months after they bought it. This varies from e-publisher to e-publisher,
though—some of them release books only a couple of months after they
while others have full schedules a year or more in advance.
love about NCP is that they ask for an author’s input on covers up
they get little details like hair color right!
My cover for Bantam had a historical inaccuracy that
really bothered me,
and that could easily have been avoided had they simply asked me to
picture of a colonial Virginia house.
My cover for Love Remembered, on the
other hand, was historically accurate, not to mention gorgeous. I’m very fortunate to write for an
e-publisher that produces incredibly professional covers.
The cover of Love Remembered (by the
fabulous Eliza Black) has been nominated for The Romance Studio’s Ari
and no wonder—it easily rivals anything New York produces.
I can’t wait to see the cover for All I
Your book, Love
Historical published with New Concepts Publishing, has received very
reviews. What was the inspiration for
this story? What can you tell us about it?
Ellen – I
had a dream one night about a claustrophobic hero, and when I woke up I
the first couple of chapters of Love Remembered. My first hero was very alpha, so I
wrote Gwaltney, the hero of Love Remembered, to be a
likeable. I love Gwaltney’s wry sense of
didn’t have an easy road to publication, however; Bantam rejected it,
it was rejected by a lot of other publishers. When
I finally admitted to myself that the
ending was terrible and totally rewrote the last fifty pages, I sold it
almost right away. I learned an
important lesson: everything I write is not golden! It’s not easy to
fifty pages, but it’s a lot harder to find yourself stuck with a
manuscript no one wants. Nowadays I am
much more likely to revise a manuscript right away if I get negative
Did you ever think Love
Remembered would be received as well as it has?
It is a Sizzling Romance Award Nominee for
Best Historical Romance of 2003, it received many high ranks; 4 roses,
ribbons, 4 angels….all incredible reviews and reader comments. Has it all been a surreal experience?
Ellen – I
really didn’t expect so many good reviews!
I’m thrilled that so many people have liked
Love Remembered. Stunned, but
Your upcoming tale is All
Wanted, a February 2004 at New Concepts Publishing.
I just finished reading this book a few days
ago and I have to say, you have an incredible talent for writing
Romantic Suspense stories. It was
thoroughly enjoyable and I was hooked from the first few pages Ellen. What can you tell us about this book?
Ellen – Oh,
you’re so sweet to say that, Tracey.
Since All I Ever Wanted is my first
contemporary romance (The Nerd Prince will actually be
first, but AIEW was written much earlier), I admit to worrying
whether readers will like it. All
I Ever Wanted has a humorous and contemporary feel to it which
totally different from my rather dark, angst-filled historicals. I adore my hero, Max Sinclair, who’s a
clueless and sweet beta-type hero. I
also love my heroine, Drew, who starts out as a snob but learns to
along the way.
Why the change from
Contemporary? Do you prefer one genre
over the other? Do you find one more
difficult than the other?
Ellen – I
switch back and forth in my reading all the time. I
love serious historicals as well as funny
contemporaries, and I read the occasional paranormal or futuristic
too. If I read one subgenre all the
time, I get burned out. The same is true
of my writing—if I write the same subgenre all the time I get bored. I’m sure I’ll write a historical again one of
these days, and I’m certainly not limiting myself to contemporaries,
already have a sci-fi romance scheduled for later this year. I must say I find contemporaries the easiest
to write, though.
Would you say that you
more recognition with your e-books or the print release?
That’s an interesting question. My print
release almost certainly reached a bigger audience, even though it
huge seller, because even now an awful lot of romance readers aren’t
familiar with the concept of e-books and don’t buy them.
My print release was also released in an
Italian edition, so I occasionally get a fan letter from Italy, which is way cool. But I don’t think there’s much doubt I’ve
gotten generally better reviews for Love Remembered, my e-book,
did for my print book.
Where do you do your
your books? How much researching do you
Ellen – I
majored in history at the College of William and Mary and spent a lot
during those four years wandering around the historic area of Colonial
Williamsburg. I have two wide shelves of
history books, plus a notebook full of historical details I’ve
library books and visits to historic houses.
writing my contemporaries and my sci-fi romance, I’ve been able to find
need with quick searches on the Internet.
For example, for The Nerd Prince I
had to look up the
scientific names for a couple of seashells, but that was very easily
accomplished. I love the Internet!
When you write, do you
that get you in the mood to write? Music
playing perhaps? Candles? Or do you need total silence?
Ellen – The
only prop I need is a quiet office devoid of children!
Is there a specific time
of day when
you find the words flow better? Night
time or day?
Ellen – I
write best in the morning because I’m most awake then.
I am definitely not a night owl.
What do you want readers
with them after reading one of your stories?
What do you hope they ‘get’ from one of your books?
Ellen – I
want readers to be emotionally moved by reading my books.
I want to make them laugh or cry, or even
better, do both!
Will we see another
from you sometime in the future?
Absolutely. The current tentative
schedule for my upcoming books (all coming from NCP) is:
All I Ever Wanted (contemporary romance
novel) and The Nerd Prince (contemporary
romantic short story), both in February 2004
Isn’t it Romantic? (contemporary romantic
novella), May 2004
Never Love a Stranger (sci-fi romance), August
five years elapsed between my first and second books, having so many
issued in the space of a year is a great feeling!
What do you find the
the easiest thing(s) about writing?
Ellen – Kids
are the hardest thing about writing. The
constant interruptions make it hard to maintain my train of thought. For example, right now my two-year-old is
standing at my elbow, very seriously explaining to me his deep and
need for a bath. (“Bath!
Right now! Need a bath!” Like it’ll kill him to wait five
sure writing is ever really easy for me.
I have to work at it. But
live without it. If I don’t write on a
regular basis, I’m not happy.
What one of your books is
Ellen – Uh…
it’s pretty much a tossup between All
I Ever Wanted and Isn’t It
Romantic?, my upcoming contemporary novella.
I really like my contemporary “voice” and
think it sounds a little more like the real me.
Plus it was easier to work humor into my
contemporaries. I guess it’s not really
surprising that I
like my own sense of humor… I just hope everyone else does too!
What hero/heroine was the
challenge to write?
Edward Greyson from The Light in the Darkness, a
alcoholic hero, and Cordelia Ashton from Love Remembered,
shrewish, sharp-tongued heroine. Both
these characters had a whole lot of growing to do by the end of their
Have any of your stories
gone off in
a completely different direction than what you had planned?
Ellen – When
your method of writing is to produce one sentence and go from there,
occasionally going to find that your story morphs bizarrely. Sometimes my characters do things I never
planned at all. When I started writing All
I Ever Wanted, it really never occurred to me that the hero
dumb enough to go out on a date with the heroine’s sister!
But somehow these twists and turns always
produce a better story. I guess my
characters write better than I do.
What makes a hero
Ellen – His
pecs. No, seriously… I love a hero who’s
vulnerable. I’ve written both alpha and
beta heroes, but underneath it all every one of them has been
almost fragile in some ways.
Who is, or has been the
hero in your
Ellen – My
husband of twelve years, who is genuinely heroic, having survived a
bouts with cancer (he was diagnosed for the first time at the tender
twenty-five). He is now perfectly
healthy and the world’s greatest husband and father. We
started dating in high school, and I
haven’t really looked around since. He
also edits my books before I send them out, for which I am profoundly
because he has a sharp eye for sloppy writing!
Do you find it difficult
home, family with your writing?
Well, the kids have to come first. There
have been times when I simply couldn’t accomplish a lot of writing. My oldest daughter was reading by the time
she was two and a half, and when she turned five I homeschooled her for
since most kindergartens don’t deal well with a child who adds and
her head and reads Harry Potter and Charlotte’s Web. I didn’t get a lot of writing done that year,
but it was worth it—she would have been very bored in a regular
kindergarten. After that year we were able
to get her
skipped a grade in the local schools, so I got my writing time back.
Most authors are also
as well. Do you read a lot?
What books would we find on your shelves at
Sure, I read about 150 books last year.
Most of them were either contemporary or historical
romances. I also read older science
fiction (I love
Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Edgar Rice Burroughs) and I’m
working my way through Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.
Where would you like to
writing career go in the next few years?
Ellen – Most
importantly, I’d like to continue to produce books that get good
good feedback from readers. I hope
will eventually make my name much better known in the romance community.
What are you working on
discussed earlier, your February release, All I Ever Wanted
book). What is coming up next?
Ellen – I’ve
finished Isn’t It Romantic?
I still need to finish up Never Love
A Stranger. That’s my first sci-fi
romance, and it’s
definitely not the easiest thing to write.
I love, love, love my hero, but hashing out the plot
is making me crazy. I’ve also got a couple
of fun contemporary
novella-sized ideas I’m playing around with, but that I haven’t
editor with yet.
You have a story, The
coming out in February as well, the 6th of February to be
exact. It is a part of New Concepts
Publishing Valentine’s stories that are special releases.
What can you tell us about your story, The
Ellen – The
Nerd Prince was a lot of fun to write.
My editor asked me if I was interested in producing
a short story, and
after a few hours of thought about what I should write, I sat down and
writing. Within a week, I had completed
it (although I spent two more weeks editing it). I
think of myself as a slow writer, and if
you’d asked me if I could turn out almost 14,000 words in a week, I
laughed at you. Shows you what I know!
Nerd Prince is
about Cade Ryan, a nerdy man whose life is turned upside down when he
beautiful, vivacious cellist. I
mentioned earlier that I play the cello (although very poorly nowadays,
haven’t taken lessons since college), so I put a little of my own
history into that character. I also
included seashells as part of the story—my dad has a huge seashell
and I’ve always loved them.
If you weren’t an author,
you think you would be doing instead?
Vacuuming my floors on a more regular basis, probably.
Is there anything else
like to add Ellen that we haven’t covered?
Readers can find excerpts of All I Ever Wanted and Love
Remembered, along with other upcoming releases, at my website.
for taking the time to talk to me, Tracey!
learn more about Ellen and her titles at her website, http://users.erols.com/ellenfisher/
Concepts Publishing for more of Ellen’s work, especially February 2004 for
her stories at www.newconceptspublishing.com
so much Ellen for doing this interview.
After reading All I Ever Wanted,
you have a fan in this reader <g> I wish you all the best and