Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Erma Bombeck

Author Interview ~ Elizabeth Thompson

The woman you’ll meet today is a very good friend of mine—intelligent, witty, and compassionate.

She’s described herself as, “Just a little old lady in a muumuu at heart, habitual writer, raging bibliophile, raving loony.”

I think we’re both right

I met Elizabeth when I was the Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world, Second Life.

I’d be getting ready for our weekly Writers’ Discussion and Elizabeth would arrive and sit on the rope that surrounded the stage we gathered on

It sometimes took a bit of prodding to get her responses during the discussions—whatever she said always unique and spot-on

We don’t see each other at events on Book Island now—we meet up for amazing discussions with other writers at places like The Muse in Jane Watson‘s The State of Writing, in the virtual world Kitely.

So, I’ve been prodding her, on and off, for years, to have an interview here

Let’s get this thing started :-)


Elizabeth, how about we start with some basics about you? Nicole Turner - Author

I’m a writer. A minimalist. I’m married (almost a decade now). I’m 29. I live in the great state of Alabama. I’ve been writing books in the same territory (chic-lit, new adult fiction) for over a decade.

What would you say your writing “style” is?

Messy. Flawed. Silly. But oh-so honest. I like writing about the people I wish I knew. I call them my imaginary friends because I carry them every single place I go. They keep me company when I’m lonely and give me something to sleep to at night. As a matter of fact, I named one of my mains Lullaby because for the better part of a year, that’s what she did for me—sat up in my dark bedroom with me, helping me clear my head when I needed to in order to fall asleep.

So, want to tackle “Why do you write”?

From personal callings gifted by Divine Providence to desperate dreams of sweet immortality, I’ve heard a million answers to this question. Some people are in love with the idea of it. Some people like the lifestyle. Some want to make a living. Some want to be read, to be heard, to be understood. There are people who write with the purest intentions; they want to change the world for the better. I think these are all wonderful reasons to put pen to paper. Sadly, though, my answer isn’t as colorful, exciting, or noble. I just do it because I like to.

[ Editor’s note—Elizabeth is now up to speed :-) ]

As far as publishing goes, what route would you say you’re taking?

I’ve been self-publishing since I was 19, I think. What I like about self-publishing is, you’re in complete control of your finished product (or mostly are). And in my case, there’s not a lot of upfront cost. If you have the time and desire to learn about cover design and basic self-promotion, you can do a whole lot with nothing but your talent and time invested. That’s pretty amazing. I don’t think I could ever do traditional publishing. I’m not brave enough. And the idea of my words being mass-printed and available for the world to pick apart and analyze petrifies me. I love that I can pick and choose who I share what with.

In your opinion, Elizabeth, what does it take to be a good writer?

A story to tell and a willingness to tell it. Honesty. Patience. Hard work. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. And stand there and take it with a smile when the unpredictable, sometimes unkind world reacts to your art. It’s like taking your sweet, precious, irreplaceable pet bunny and gently tossing it into a cage of starving lions. I’m sure there’s a chance they might just look at it and walk off (in a take-it-or-leave-it sort of way), but most likely, they’ll gobble it up OR rip it apart and roll around in what’s left. For me, that’s the toughest part.

Who are your favorite storytellers?

Erma Bombeck. I have every single one of her books. She was the funniest lady. I love and admire the way she could take a mundane task like doing the laundry and turn it into a 10-page chapter about trips to Hawaii and that one time she went to a potluck dinner and caught the table linens on fire. She was a drama queen in the best sort of way—an original desperate housewife. But her desperation was a different kind.

I love Dolly Parton, and I have since I was 5. I love her songwriting, her acting, and I really loved her children’s book I am a Rainbow. She’s kind and gentle, but she shoots straight. There is so much power in humble honesty.

My mom. When she’s telling a funny story, she gets so tickled by the memory, she starts laughing and can’t finish telling it. And when she’s telling campfire tales she does an impression of a chicken which can not be described with words. It’s priceless.

How do your favorite storytellers inspire/shape your own stories?

I recently decided, my new motto is, when it comes to campsites, hotel rooms, and other peoples hearts, leave it better than how you found it or leave it alone in the first place.

My mother used to clean hotel rooms for a living, and we never, ever left one we’d stayed in without her cleaning it first and leaving a tip for the housekeeper. This is very important to her. I used to laugh at her for it, but I’ll never forget and hopefully I’ll pass it down to my own kids someday.

I read a story Dolly told once about a statue of her they’d erected in a park someplace in her honor. She mentioned how her father would go out there and clean the bird poop off it. She teared up when she talked about how much that meant to her.

Care to share some advice for other writers?

There’s a lot to be said for remembering how you started out and appreciating how far you’ve come. What’s even more important, maybe, is that you don’t forget to look back and try and help out those who aren’t quite up to your progress point yet.

Elizabeth, I truly hope we can get you back here, soon, for another interview—Thanks a Heap :-)


Check out Elizabeth Nicole’s latest book………

Now is a great time to ask Elizabeth some questions in the comments…

Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Author Interview ~ Karla Telega

I’m very happy to give a short introduction to Karla. Short because I can’t wait to share her answers to my questions. She has wonderfully humorous insights about the writing process :-)

Karla, where are you from and how old are you?

I grew up in Seattle, home of the Space Needle and about three banana slugs per square foot. I’m at that magical age of 54: too old for hot flashes and too young for the senior menu.

When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside back then?

I started writing a year and a half ago so I could sit around in my underwear and make big money. At least I got the underwear part right. There weren’t any angels singing, it just felt comfortable from the start.

Now that’s most certainly a unique attitude…

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

While writing the final draft of my humor book the kids got me a desk plaque that said Karla Telega, Writer. Since they spent good money at the office supply store, I figured it must be true.

Absolutely :-)

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

Aside from fame and fortune, I’d like to make people laugh. As a humor writer, I’d love to have my books gracing the back of every toilet in America—honestly. Currently, I’m working on a comic murder mystery with main characters in their 50s. I’d like to make it a series.

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

Does reading the dictionary count?

Sure it counts :-)

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

I became the designated family resumé writer. It taught me to be clear and concise, and had the added benefit of giving me a good start on writing fiction.

Whoot :-)

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

I love Erma Bombeck and Janet Evanovich. Their writing could brighten up any day. I don’t do much science fiction, but I’m hooked on C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. Add in some Elizabeth Peters, Mary Janice Davidson, and Carl Hiaasen … I don’t stop to analyze why I like them—that feels too much like an English assignment.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

Lots of psych meds play into it, but mostly it’s a slightly embroidered version of my own experiences and quirks. That gives me a lot of material to work with.


What’s your normal revision or editing routine?

I have a short attention span, so I start with just the bare bones of the story. Then I have to stop and think, “if I weren’t me, would I have a clue as to what I’m saying?” I flesh it out from there. I finish by reading it aloud to the dog, and he gives me the paws-up if he’s still conscious.


Are you published?

I think of self-publishing for new authors as walking a tightrope blindfolded and without a safety net. It can be done, but I’m afraid of heights. I have two agents who are very interested in my first book, but aren’t willing to commit to it until I have a larger following. I think I can find an agent quicker with my current work in progress, which is more mainstream.

Currently, I’m blogging three times a week, which is a great way to get my writing out there. I’m polishing my second book, and social networking (taking hostages) on Twitter and Facebook.

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

Blogging has been an incredible opportunity to improve my writing skills. If people like my posts enough to come back, I consider myself a success. The overriding theme in my writing is my love/hate relationship with aging. Ultimately, I want to help people laugh at the problems that aging brings, and discover options for self-fulfillment that they might not have considered before. Growing older may limit our activities, but it doesn’t have to limit our outlook.

Karla, thanks, so much, for visiting and sharing your absolutely unique insights with us :-)

Be sure to check out my second interview with Karla after she published her book :-)
Talk to Karla here:
Twitter: @KarlaTelega
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book

%d bloggers like this: