Monday, November 26, 2012

Rachel Aaron Is Awesome: A Stellar Four Interview

Last Tuesday, November 20th, I suffered massive heartbreak. Someone I've been committed to for over a year finally ended things. I was devastated. Distraught. Could I ever learn to love again?

No, I didn't break up with someone. A book series I dearly loved came to an end. Yes, friends, the final book in the outrageously fantastic Eli Monpress series came out and I am besides myself over it. What will I do without that charming thief in my life? Where will I get my fill of superbly written daring do and swashed buckles? Say it ain't so!

I reached out to Rachel Aaron, Eli Monpress' beyond awesome author, to beg her to write more answer some questions about the series and let us know what's next on her plate. Let me tell you, I will follow her to the ends of the earth and her books will always be an auto-buy in my mind. She is that awesome. If you haven't yet acquainted yourself with the fabulous Rachel Aaron yet, then you've been living under a rock. Her Eli Monpress series will rock your face off.

Do you like smartass thieves with hidden secrets? How about a swordsman who has a heart of gold and wields a sword called the Heart of War? Would a strong willed kickass woman who rides a giant ghost hound interest you? If you answered yes to any of these questions (and even if you didn't!), then you need to pick up the Eli Monpress books right away. My review of the final novel in the series, Spirit's End, is coming this Wednesday so you have time to catch up! In the meantime, dive under the cut for my interview with the wonderful woman who created the best thief I've ever had the joy to read.

Rachel, thank you again for being so ridiculously awesome.

THANK YOU for reading!!!

What is life without Eli like? Are you sad to see the series finish? I know I am!

Yes and no. On the one hand, I love all the Eli characters and the strong presence they have in my life (case in point, the Miranda in my head is now VERY INSULTED that I referred to her as an "Eli character." Half this series is hers! *shakes fist!*). Ahem, as I was saying, ending Eli's story was a pretty emotional thing for me. As I said in my blog post when Spirit's End came out, no matter how many books I write, Eli and his team will always have a special place. These were the books that made it, the characters and the story that fulfilled my life long dream of being an author. Sometimes I just stop and look at my life in awe because I can't believe I actually get to tell stories for a living, and Eli was a huge part of my climb to get here. That will never go away.

So yes, I miss him, but on the other hand, I feel that I finished out Eli's story with a bang. Thanks to the slow pace of publishing, I actually finished the last book over a year ago, so I've had a good long time to adjust to my Eli-less life. It's also been really exciting to write new books and try out new worlds. Don't get me wrong, I loved writing Eli, but after 5 books and close to a million words in his world, I'm ready to flex my creative muscle on something new. Part of being a writer is always looking forward to the next horizon, the next world. It's kind of like being an explorer only with less malaria and scurvy! That said, Eli is always a part of me. I can still summon up his voice at the drop of a hat (he always did love to talk), so I'm never really without him :D. That helps take the sting out a bit.

Will you ever revisit the Eli Monpress universe, either with short stories or a whole other series? (Please say yes, oh please say yes!)

I have no plans to do a new series in this world, but I never say never. A new story might hit me out of the blue, after all! I do have two short stories I'd like to write, one telling how Eli met Josef (hint: it involved a sword and a lot of running and fast talking on Eli's part) and the other about Alber Whitefall and Giuseppe Monpress bickering over the best box at the Zarin Opera. Now, I know that sounds weird, but trust me, it's pretty awesome watching two incredibly powerful, witty, catty old gay men trying to get one over on each other while a young apprentice Eli does kung fu movie style thief training in the background. (And yeah, just going to come out and say that Alber Whitefall and the elder Monpress are both gay. A lot of characters in my series are, actually, but I never really got the chance to bring it up.)

Unfortunately, I'm not very good at writing short stories. I'm a novelist through and through, my short stories always end up as novellas that still feel rushed. Still, the short stories are planned and I'm not giving up. When I get some time from my current crazy writing schedule, I might go back for some Eli comfort writing :D

Now that the series is over, was there any scenes you wanted to add that didn't make the final edit?

Actually, not for this series. Pretty much everything I wanted made it into the books. I am a little sad I didn't get to do a real romantic scene between Josef and Nico, just to embarrass them both beyond redemption. But over all, I'm quite happy, and I think the Nico/Josef story comes together perfectly without it (honest, it probably would have been overkill). So nope, got in pretty much everything I wanted.

The author herself
You've been giving us some tantalizing tweets lately on the new books you're hard at work on. Can you tell us anything about them?

Yes! I am writing a Science Fiction Action/Romance trilogy for Orbit about a powered armor mercenary named Devi Morris (no cover art yet, but the blurb is correct). Since it's very different from Eli (science fiction, a lot more violence, cursing, and a strong romance), I'm writing these new books under the name Rachel Bach, but if you think an empowered but flawed female character owning people left and right in a suit of amazingly badass powered armor sounds like fun, you'll probably like the series. There's a sexy beta male hero (my absolute favorite! Alphas get all the page time, but there's something to be said for a quiet, dutiful, kind, charming man with a monster complex and deep issues just waiting for the right, bad ass lady to come shake him up), a lot of action, and some pretty intense and scary moments. Also, did I mention there's freaking powered armor? SO AWESOME!

I was kind of worried I'd never come up with a main character to top Eli, and I still haven't, but Devi is right up there. She has her own brand of in your face awesomesauce and is amazingly fun to write. I really can't wait for people to meet her!

You recently released an e-book about your writing method, 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better and Writing More of What You Love. It's incredibly inspiring! How did you even develop such a system? It's very unique and I'm hard at work trying it out myself!

I stumbled on it while I was working on the final Eli books. I'd just had my son and I was trying (and failing) to juggle being a new mother with meeting my deadlines. So, in an effort to speed up my writing to get more out of the time I did find to write, I started really paying attention to how I wrote. This led to three discoveries that, while headslappingly obvious once I'd laid them out, made a HUGE difference in my writing speed and quality. And even better, they didn't work only for me! I've had tons of people tell me how my process doubled or tripled their words per hour.

I won't get into the specifics here because it would get really long, but if you're interested, you can read the whole story and all about my process at my original blog post, "How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day". This post went mega viral last year (I'm pretty sure way more people know me as "the 2k to 10k lady" than for my Eli books), and the interest was so enormous that I fleshed out the ideas and added a bunch of new material to make an ebook targeted at writers who want to write more efficiently called "2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better and Writing More of What You Love", which is doing really well! I never thought I'd write a writing book, but I'm very happy I did. The process taught me a lot about my own writing, and there is absolutely no better feeling than helping another writer realize their dream!

It goes without saying that the Eli Monpress books have been some of my favorites this year. Do you have a lot of time to read and what are some of the best books you've read lately?

Well, that's quite the complement! Thank you! I'm a huge reader, but for various stupid reasons I haven't gotten to read nearly as much as I normally do this year. I think my favorite book was probably the third Alex Craft novel, Grave Memory. The author, Kalayna Price, is a personal friend of mine, but I'd be a fan even if I'd never met her. Her books have so much heart, imagination, and such lovely characters, I really enjoy them!

And (while this isn't a book) I wanted to mention I just finished my yearly reread of Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I first read this manga when I was a teenager and I've re-read it about once a year ever since. It's one of my favorite stories, and I can't recommend it enough!

Finally, is there anything else you (or Eli) would like to say to your adoring public?

Eli thinks you all have fabulous taste! :D
Really though, all I can say is thank you. My readers are the reason I get to live my dream every day, and I really can't say thank you enough to express all the gratitude I feel. You people are awesome, and I never forget for a second that it is my great pleasure and privilege to tell you stories! Thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope my books continue to entertain!

Thank you again for the chance to interview you, Rachel. It's been an honor. And thank you for giving us Eli Monpress! Now, I have to go sob in a corner because it's all over!

I am sobbing with you! This interview made me all verklempt, but in a good way! Thank you again for hosting me, it's always such a pleasure to come visit Stellar Four!
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  1. Thanks for this interview, ladies! I, too, am a huge Eli Monpress fan (I found the books from a Stellar Four recommendation!) and I can't wait to read the conclusion. I'm *very* excited to hear about Rachel Bach's new books--I adore beta heroes, and there aren't nearly enough of them.

  2. Let's hear it for beta heroes!

    After I read the first Eli Monpress book I wasn't hugely impressed because Eli wasn't a sympathetic character for me. However, in a happy accident, I listened to the audio book of the second book and was really hooked! Luke Daniels does an awesome job on it. I'm now on book 3 and am hopeful my new library will have the rest since I just had to say goodbye to my old, awesome, library because I moved.

  3. Great interview! I've just found the Eli books and I'm having a blast reading them. Love getting more info from authors.