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Elemental Secrets by Elle Middaugh
(The Essential Elements, #1)
Publication date: February 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing).
With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough.
But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot.
SECRETS are revealed…
…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life…
But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town…
When did you start writing?
I started messing around with writing sometime during middle school (maybe 7th or 8th grade). One story was an epic fantasy inspired by The Lord of the Rings; it mostly got planned out but never really written lol
Another was called “The Black Molly” and it was mostly just hilarious quotes that I intended to put into a book, but that never happened either. I based the main character off of a Black Molly fish who was always bullying the other fish in our tank! Haha! He was supposed to be, like, an evil villain but he was SO bad at it lol
I also wrote scripts for stories about my sister’s and my fictional adventures with our favorite boy bands! Hahaha! Embarrassing, but true lol
What makes you want to write?
Mood music. I’m not musically gifted whatsoever, and I’m not even up to snuff on popular/modern stuff on the radio. But when I need motivation, I turn to my favorite music. Honestly, I have to listen to music in order to force myself to do dishes – bleh. Lol So I’m always standing there at the sink, listening to my mood music and kind of zoning out, and I’ll just subconsciously start thinking about my characters and the story (because it reminds me of all the times I heard those exact same songs but while I was writing). Usually by the time I’m done with the dishes, I’m ready to write!
Do you ever get writer's block and what do you do to get over it?
I DO. I think everyone does – even people who don’t chose writing as their career. I’ve read that you’re supposed to just hammer right through it, that if you force yourself to write SOMETHING you’ll break the block much faster. But I’m not to that point just yet. When I have writer’s block, the best thing for me to do is take some time away from the story.
With three young children, that means I’m sometimes away from the story for a WHILE… Once the kids are old enough to be in school, though, I’ll have more time available for writing daily. Hopefully that’ll give me a chance to deal with writing-related issues more efficiently :)
Do you have a special way of going about writing?
I choose names first, sometimes before I even have a general idea for the plot. I’ll pick the ones I like and want to use in the next story, then I’ll develop the character around the name. Once I have a pretty solid grasp on who the character is, I’ll go ahead and start writing. I used to just write freely and let the characters surprise me in each chapter lol But I’m trying to be more organized, so I’m taking more time to properly develop plotlines now.
Do you have any works in progress?
Yes, many! I’m not sure which ones to actively pursue next, though lol Obviously I’m working on the sequel to Elemental Secrets (to be titled Elemental Lies) and that’s my top priority, followed by the third (and probably final) book in the Essential Elements Series.
I have some really cool ideas for a series of seven books revolving around the seven deadly sins.
There’s also been a story brewing in my mind for a while now that’s higher fantasy (maybe even sci-fi-ish) about what the world might be like in the distant future. It’s not exactly dystopian; it’s more like post-apocalyptic I think lol
What are your hobbies?
Hmm. Let’s see… Aside from reading/writing… I’m really interested in health, particularly diet and exercise. That’s not to say that I’m “in shape” or that I know what the hell I’m doing, but it’s something that I’m pretty passionate about so it takes up a lot of time (exercising, trying new recipes, researching diets, reading experts’ opinions, etc).
I’m also a gamer! I love to play videogames lol mostly RPGs and first-person shooter games. It’s something my husband and I do together so that makes it extra-awesome! Though, admittedly, we haven’t had much time for it lately.
Then there’s social media – which I’m totally addicted to! Does that count as a hobby? Lol
I wish napping was an option…
Who is your favourite character in Elemental Secrets?
I suppose my favorite character is Valerie. There’s a lot that we relate to on (anxiety, over-analyzing, navy life, etc). I’m really enjoying plotting out how she develops as a person throughout the series.
How did you get the idea for Elemental Secrets?
It was winter, and I was looking out the window thinking about how much I hate being cold lol And I wondered what it would be like to be immune to the cold. How could something like that happen? I’d probably have to have a very special relationship with the cold if it were to no longer negatively affect me. In fact, what if I could manipulate the snow and ice? Create it, animate it. Snow and ice are made of water. So if I could control water, maybe other people could control other elements?
And it just sort of continued on from there lol
What was your favourite part of writing Elemental Secrets?
Character interaction. Especially between Valerie and her crushes. For a while I couldn’t decide who I wanted Val to end up with! And if I couldn’t even figure it out, how could I expect her to? I like being real in my writing. I want characters to talk like real people, act like real people, think like real people. So, as annoying as it may be, I allowed Valerie to share in my confusion over who she liked most, and that struggle and uncertainty was really liberating to write out.
What are you currently reading?
There are number of books sitting on my kindle carousel just waiting to be read lol I think the one I’ll probably read next is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.
What is your favourite book?
Overall, I guess I’d have to say the Archers of Avalon trilogy by Chelsea Fine. Those books were really inspiring to me (and I don’t think I could choose between the three). I loved the unique plotline, the love triangle involving twin brothers, the comic relief moments, the awesome supporting characters, etc. I love using this series as gifts for the girls in my life lol
Who is your favourite author?
Chelsea Fine. Even though Archers of Avalon is basically the only thing I’ve really read of hers, she’s still my favorite because of who she is as a person. When I was still just dreaming of possibly being an author, I reached out to her, and amazingly she wrote me back! That was such a HUGE moment for me. A real author (who’s probably incredibly busy) took the time to talk to me about writing and publishing and her story and how I might get started. It really impacted me and I’ll always cherish that.
What is your favourite film?
I think I’d have to say… Inception. I like movies that go deep or have multiple or hidden plots. And that movie blew my mind when my husband and I saw it in theaters.
Shutter Island is another great one. So is Fight Club.
What is your favourite TV show?
It was Once Upon A Time, but my husband didn’t really get into it and I always watch shows with him (tv is something I rarely ever watch – unless it’s My Little Pony! lol – so we moved on to different things). True Blood was our next binge-watching adventure, but the series had already ended a few months before we began. So then, to fill the void, I suggested Game of Thrones – and we totally LOVE it!
Chocolate or ice cream? Chocolate.
Paperback or ebook? Ebook.
Dogs or cats? Neither? Do rocks count as pets? lol Cats over dogs for sure, though!
Go out or stay in? Stay in.
Summer or winter? Summer.
Elle Middaugh is a newly published author, born in the sticks outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania. After moving around the east coast a number of times, she now lives in her hometown with her husband and three children.
Reading has been a favorite past time since Elementary School and choose-your-own-adventure books. Writing has been her dream since Middle School when she first began penning her own material. Being published is the most awesome achievement in her writing career so far, but she hopes for more exciting landmarks and stepping stones in the future!
She’s a proud Navy wife; a frazzle-brained mother; a homebody who dislikes cleaning; a fan of tennis, and fitness in general; a lover of hot tea, mountain dew, and all things fiction; and she’s a bigger My Little Pony fan than her children.
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