Author interview: Ellie O’Neill

Monday, October 13, 2014 Permalink

I’m very pleased today to be sharing an interview with author Ellie O’Neill. Ellie’s debut novel, Reluctantly Charmed, was released earlier this month.

Reluctantly Charmed  brings together the lithesome world of Irish folklore and long-forgotten fairies and the cynical and obsessive nature of a world addicted to online technology. There’s some romance thrown in for good measure and (importantly) a bit of a moral to the story so – in a sense – it’s like a modern day fairytale. (Oh and I almost forgot… there’s chocolate. And The Hoff!!!)

Irish-born Ellie moved to Australia to join her (also Irish) husband about five years ago and is currently working on her second novel. I’ve taken the opportunity to ask her a little about her writing.

Q You obviously have a knack for storytelling and you’ve mentioned dinner-table battles to regale others with entertaining stories. Have writing and the telling of tales always been of interest to you (and/or your family)?
Absolutely. There’s nothing quite like listening to a story well told. It’s mesmerizing. We had a noisy, full, household growing up with four kids, cousins, friends drop ins and outs, and I think that’s where we all learned to hold court with adults and kids alike, telling stories. My sister is also a writer, she was published a few years back with a very funny self help book, Babyproofing your Marriage. I guess it’s in the genes!

Q Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you plan your plots in advance or start writing and see where your characters take you?
I find plotting and planning very difficult. I have a big imagination so when I get an initial idea for something I let myself dream away at it. The idea has a tendency to get very big and grow long speedy legs on me, which is a good and a bad thing, the good part being I’m never out of ideas, the bad part being I can get myself into knots and tangles, with plot lines that seem to run on.

I read that Stephen King just writes, he likes the story to unfold before him, and is excited to see what will pop up on the page. I love that idea, but so far it doesn’t work for me. For now, I work off a lot of loose ideas and an overarching story. And as I write I wait for them all to fall into line.

Q I know the road to publication is never smooth and I’m sure you’ve learned a million lessons along the way. What hints or advice would you share with other budding authors?
The first bit of advice I’d give, which was given to me, is to finish it. There are thousands of people out there that are writing a book, how many of them actually finish it? You can’t be in the running for publication until you have a finished product so, that’s the first goal.

186Secondly, get tough. This is hard. On finishing my manuscript I knew I needed an agent, so I started firing Reluctantly Charmed out and I was devastated when the rejections came piling in. Stunned, battered and very bruised, I ploughed on.
Thirdly, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Your book will get better, your writing will be sharper. I took criticism when I felt it was deserved but I didn’t make changes that I felt were unnecessary. I stayed true to my original story. Only you can write your story, someone else’s ideas projected onto your manuscript may not be right. Trust your instincts. (That’s kind of two points isn’t it?)

Finally, try very hard to get a good agent. They are priceless.

Q The book to movie thing is oft-discussed nowadays. Have you thought which actors you’d like to see bring your characters to the big or small screen?
Oh I have, many times. I have lots of ideas, but you know what I wouldn’t want to impose them on anyone who is going to read Reluctantly Charmed. I’d love to know if any of your readers have ideas too, and if we match up?
(Deb’s note: I am *ahem* somewhat partial to an Irish accent so Jamie Dornan – soon to be seen in 50 Shades of Grey – comes to mind, as does Stuart Townsend and Michael Fassbender – who’s half-Irish. And as for our book’s lead character, Kate, I’m thinking Sarah Bolger – a Once Upon A Time co-star of Dornan. As for Kate’s delightful parents, Liam, Gabriel or Pierce would do nicely along with…okay, I’ll stop there!)

Blog-Tour-2014-v4I’d like to thank Ellie for her time and hope she continues to bask in that debut-book-release glow. For more on Ellie or the book check out the blogs listed above.

Reluctantly Charmed  by Ellie O’Neill was published by Simon & Schuster and is available at all of the usual places.

My mother tells me I’ve always loved spinning a yarn or two. Are you a natural storyteller?
If you were casting Reluctantly Charmed which Irish actors would be on your list? 

20 Comments
  • Char
    October 13, 2014

    It’s interesting to hear that some authors wing it and some plan carefully. I think I’m more of a winging it style writer and that’s why I never get anything finished because I lose my way.

    As for the Irish accented male lead – brilliant idea. I haven’t read the book but nothing doesn’t sound better with an Irish accent.

    • Debbish
      October 13, 2014

      Oh yes… like I said, I’m very partial to an Irish accent. I initially thought Gerard Butler was Irish (he’s Scottish!) and had decided he could play the character of the older brother. (Of course he still could!) 😉

  • Have A Laugh On Me
    October 13, 2014

    Very interesting but it also freaks me out, get tough? I don’t reckon I could do it now, maybe a few years down the track when I’ve hardened up a bit! x

    • Debbish
      October 13, 2014

      Yes, completely understand! Although I guess – in your job – you have to submit stuff to people (who may / may not love it!). Perhaps that’s good training?!

  • Jo
    October 14, 2014

    I picked this one up at the airport the other day- so far have only read the first few chapters, but love the voice.

    • Debbish
      October 14, 2014

      Oh great to hear – and yes, I agree!

  • Bec Graham
    October 14, 2014

    I keep seeing this book in every book store I go into. Maybe it’s a sign to actually buy it? That’s what happened with me and Neil Gaiman!

  • Jess
    October 14, 2014

    Really cool to hear a behind the scenesish Author’s point of view. I love the advice of just finish, because that is something I could apply to all sorts of aspects of my life! Must be heartbreaking though to get loads of rejections.

    • Debbish
      October 14, 2014

      Yes, I don’t know if my self-confidence could take it!

  • Jodi Gibson (JF Gibson Writer)
    October 14, 2014

    Love author interviews!! Thanks for sharing. I’ve at least finished my manuscript and am rewriting, rewriting, rewriting – that’s the tough bit indeed. Next I’ll no doubt deal with the rejections lol

    • Debbish
      October 14, 2014

      Oh, perhaps you’ll be surprised Jodi. If not, at least you’re prepared!!!

  • Book Muster Down Under
    October 14, 2014

    Great interview Deb and Ellie. Ellie, as long as you continue to write I’ll be extremely happy!

    • Debbish
      October 14, 2014

      Oh thanks! Oh…. You mean Ellie! 😉

  • Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    October 16, 2014

    I love hearing about the whole process, from someone who’s gone through it all. Thanks for this interview Deb, and Ellie for sharing.

    • Debbish
      October 16, 2014

      No worries, you are most welcome!

  • Ellie
    October 17, 2014

    Thanks Deb for some great questions

    • Debbish
      October 17, 2014

      You’re very welcome. Thanks for sharing your time!

      Deb

  • rowena holloway
    October 22, 2014

    I love this interview Deb! Great questions. It’s easy to see Kate in Ellie (or is the other way around?). For the record, I think most of us discover finding any agent, let alone a great one, is like discovering a fairyring in your backyard–it’s rumoured to be out there but rarely found 😉 As for Gerard Butler–yes, please!

    • Debbish
      October 22, 2014

      Ah yes… on both the agent AND the Gerard Butler points!

      😉

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