Interview with author Elexis Bell
Annabelle is your second published book but the first book you self published. Why did you choose to self publish?
I self-published Annabelle because it’s a novella, and getting a traditional publisher to consider a novella is…well, rather difficult. Only later did I decide to self-publish all my books. Part of that decision was born of impatience. Traditional publishers take months, sometimes even a year, to get back to you, and only accept about 1% of the manuscripts submitted to them. It can take years to get a book deal. So, while I was wasting time and energy on query letters and five different synopses of different lengths for each manuscript, along with one sentence summaries, summaries of varying page lengths, and all manner of other things (formatted differently for each publisher or agent) to even submit…All my work was gathering dust. Since I write quickly, the manuscripts were also piling up. So I did some more research and found that self-publishing would be a better fit for me. Having creative control and the final say on each step played a huge role, as did the fact that most of the marketing (a.k.a. the part I really wanted a traditional publisher for) is up to the author in traditional publishing, unless the author is already famous.
What genre is this book and can you name any similar books?
Annabelle is a bit of a hybrid. It’s a thriller, specifically a vigilante justice story set within a western. I’m terrible with comparisons, but one reviewer said that fans of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn or The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins will like Annabelle.
Please share a snippet or teaser from Annabelle?
I walk along the main road of another dirty western town and sashay past the saloon, knowing my prey follows close behind. My silken yellow dress and all of its lace flows behind me, trailing in the dust.
I can hear him getting closer but pretend to be so absorbed in the folds of my parasol that I don’t notice. Really, I’m checking over the mechanisms concealed within it, making sure that everything is in working order.
I turn down a bare alleyway as the sun begins to dip below the horizon. He follows. Still, I pretend not to notice that anything at all is amiss. A smile spreads across my features.
Where did you come up with the idea of a weaponized parasol?
Annabelle was originally inspired by a statuette made of starched doilies, which actually became a gift for someone else. I was looking at it as I boxed and wrapped it, and just imagined it coming to life, twirling its delicate little parasol. But my mind doesn’t really leave things…delicate. It very quickly morphed, becoming something much darker. For the time period, a parasol was a perfectly acceptable thing for a girl to carry, making it a perfect concealed weapon.
What do you want readers to get out of your book?
The courage to speak up. Now, obviously, I don’t endorse serial vigilantism. But victims of sexual assault need to speak out, and people need to take it seriously. Victim blaming NEEDS to be a thing of the past, as does sexual assault. But neither of those things will ever happen if people keep ignoring or hiding or minimizing the problem.
If you could have any super power what would you choose and why?
Either flying or teleportation. I’ve always wanted to be able to fly, but the idea of not having to spend days in a car or hours on a plane to travel is pretty appealing.
Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Elexis Bell.
Usually, it starts with me posting to my author pages from the passenger seat as my husband drives us to work. Then, I spend the day brainstorming while working in the factory. Repetitive work, mostly comprised of muscle memory, is great for thinking through story arcs and world building. After work, I do chores around the house and watch an episode or two of one of our shows with my husband. Then, somewhere between midnight and 2am, I start writing or editing. I don’t usually go to bed until 5 or 6am. On days off, I just start earlier on my book stuff.
Where can we find out more and buy your books?
My website has information and links for all my published works, as well as little tidbits about my WIPs. My blog is chock full of (blunt) writing advice and updates on all my work.
All my books are available on Amazon, and can be found on my Amazon author page.
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