H.C. Elliston

photo of helen
When did you first start writing? 
I started writing around 2007.  It was just for fun really, a challenge I suppose.  I wondered whether I had it in me.  I had no idea then that I would take it this far and now have five books out.
Are you a structured or a see-what happens writer?  
Generally I have a rough idea of how my story will begin either with a scene or a character, but even that changes once I start writing , so that’s just a point at which to kick my brain into creative mode.  Overall I am what you’d call a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer.  My ideas flow and develop as I write and sink my mind in to the scene and characters.  Once I start and get a flow going, it’s very hard to pull my mind from it.
tick tock runTell us about your first novel
TICK TOCK RUN was my first novel (I wrote two others before that which will never see the light of day and I call them my learning curve.)  It is romantic suspense/murder mystery.  Romance blossoms when two people cross paths to track a killer who emails deathclocks to intended victims.
What inspired you to write it?
The idea of a deathclock in an email came to me while sitting in the garden with my dogs one summer.  Where the idea came from I have no idea, but it excited me and so I went with it.  That was the only starting point I had.  The rest came as I wrote, and changed course a zillion times, critiqued by others and edited countless times until I reached the finished book you read today.
Tell us about your latest novel (or what you are working on at the moment).
I am having a short break from writing to focus on my art business over the Christmas period.  Plus, I have recently relocated to support a sick relative and am still settling in to my new life.  But I plan to begin my 6th book in the New Year and am already itching to write!
What motivated/inspired you to become an Indie Author?
I submitted the synopsis for my first book to a few agents and got rejected.  This caused me to really pull apart, edit and polish up my work.  I had gotten to know several other authors online and started reading about Indie authors and the kindle platform.  Once my book had been polished up and critiqued again by several author friends online, I made the decision to go for it, and self-published.  I still remember the feeling, a mixture of excitement and nausea!
How do you marketing your books? Do you have a process?
I mainly market via twitter, Facebook, my website, and very kindly get asked to be interviewed, reviewed or featured on reader and writer’s blogs and have been lucky enough to be in a local newspaper.
What advice would you give to any writer wanting to do it the ‘Indie Way’?
I would say go for it!  Follow your dream, but don’t expect an easy ride or an instant top 10 ten hit.  Only ever put out your best work once it is thoroughly polished up like a diamond so you can feel truly proud, or in your heart you probably know to expect poor sales and bad reviews from the off.  Get it critiqued, beta read and edited by other authors or professionals whether it is paid or tit for tat help.  Get to know other Indie authors, have an online presence that is not just about promoting your work, people like to get to know you as a person and vice versa.  Support others and they will support you in return, hold each other’s hands along the way.  There will be many highs and lows; good reviews and spikes in sales that have you doing a happy dance and thinking you’re about to hit the big time, then a drop in sales and bad reviews that may hit you harder than you would realise.  Learn from it, take the good points and bad onboard, then put it in perspective and move on with your positive foot.  Always try your best, be proud of what you have achieved and the effort it took, and always remember the reason you are writing, and hold on to that thought…
Tell us what you are reading at the moment.
Dan Brown’s Inferno
Anything else you would like to add to your readers or to other writers.
I hope some of you find my answers helpful.  No one else will chase your dream for you, so if this is what you want, then good luck!  And thank you to everyone who has ever read one of my books and/or left a review.  It is all good encouragement and really helps to make me smile and spur me on to achieve my own dream!  Finally, I wish all good things to each and every one of you.xx
For more information on H.C Elliston’s books, visit hcelliston.co.uk/