Hello to all Coffee Time readers. I was lucky enough to interview the talented Esther
Mitchell. Here is what she had to share with us.
Can you please tell us a little about your background and how you got started writing?
*laughs* My parents swear I was born with a pen in my hand, and just looking for paper
to write on... But, honestly, though I've always loved creating little stories in my head, I
didn't get serious about writing novel-length fiction until I was about twelve. The first
lines of a book that I ever penned would eventually be refined (appropriately enough) into
my debut novel, in January 2004 : TAMIA, and the rest of the Underground series that
would follow. I've poured a little more of myself into that series with every passing year,
though it got shelved for a while, when writing it was too painful because of the memories
it stirred. My early years were divided between the Romantic Suspense I love so much
and the historical stuff I have an equal (if not yet revealed) love for.
What or who has influenced you the most in your writing?
Hmm... Life, I think, is most responsible for shaping the kind of writer I've become. But
for first inspiring me to use writing to express myself? I have to thank my third grade
teacher, who taught me an appreciation for self-expression that I'll never forget. And, for
the guts to actually consider writing for anyone but myself, I have to thank a very dear
friend who, unfortunately, never got to see me actually get published, but whose advice
to never give up has continued to inspire me.
What is the best part about being a writer? The most frustrating?
*grin* The best part of being a writer is the writing! Getting inside a character's head and
heart, and peeling back the layers until you've exposed what makes them tick...*laugh*
My poor characters... It's no wonder they have complex lives, with me around! As for the
most frustrating, that's definitely got to be the advertising... I wasn't born a salesperson,
and selling myself as a writer is probably the most difficult. I'm used to being the one in
the shadows, making sure the play goes off without a hitch... the director, not the one in
the glaring spotlight. It's a little unnerving, and plenty frustrating trying to think of what
What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Key elements... definitely the characters... without the people, you wouldn't have a story
(particularly not in Romance!); and the characters need to be believable. I need to
identify with their humanity, and be inspired by them. In other words, they need to feel
real. I strive for that, with my own characters. Next, definitely suspense. There needs to
be tension of some kind... doesn't matter whether it's a threat to life itself, or just a
threat to a character's way of life, they need to face some obstacle... Otherwise, the story
Do you have a specific routine you follow when you write?
I'm not sure what you mean. If you mean do I follow a plan for writing each book, or
certain steps, then yes, I have a step-by-step plan mapped out before I begin writing...
Sometimes, the characters still surprise me, but I don't like to think of my characters left
to their own devices *shudders*... ;)
Most romance authors are also avid readers. What is your favorite reading material?
I'm not picky...lol. I love romances, obviously, but I also love military fiction, thrillers
and suspense novels, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction.
What do you like to write the most? Is there any genre you are uncomfortable attempting
Romantic Suspense! ;)... I love everything about writing romantic suspense, from the
tension to the romance, and watching the characters come to grips with their emotions at
times when facing emotions is most difficult. And, as far as feeling uncomfortable...
sweet, sentimental or inspirational romance just isn't me. I don't even imagine that I
could manage to finish a book... I don't even like to read them.
I have just read In Her Name. What inspired your new Prometheus series?
Actually, it was originally not supposed to be a series. In Her Name was my response to
the overwhelming and immediate response of the United States' population to 9/11.
Everyone just assumed, without digging any deeper, that the terrorists had to be Arab,
and had to have planned it out themselves. I hate prejudice, and I know the answer to
any catastrophic event is never as simple as it first appears. I have a great number of
friends who are Muslim, and who have fought and bled for the freedoms so many people
take for granted. In Her Name was written to display that not only can anyone be capable
of terror, but that sometimes the people we instantly blame for horrible acts are actually
the heroes who can save us. In Her Name was supposed to be a single title... until I
realized I had something more going on there...lol. Before I knew it, I had a stack of
ideas for other books that would all embrace similar ideas... and Prometheus was born.
How many more books are you planning in this series and will we see some of the
previously mentioned characters such as Matt, Manara, Trevor Watkins and Peter Talladay
in future books?
*grin* With this series, it's hard to say how many books there'll end up to be, because
the books aren't linked by a single event, but by an organization, which allows me a lot
more room to play...;). At last count, I had over 30 book ideas in the stack, and I'm sure
it'll grow more, as time goes on and more books are written. I even have a few spin-offs
from the series planned, already. As for the characters... Matt and Manara are a common
thread. You'll see them pop in off and on throughout the series, though in supporting
roles, not main ones. Peter Talladay gets his own story in the second book of the series,
Hope of Heaven, and Trevor Watkins will face the source of that mark Manara referred to
in In Her Name in his own story, Shadow Walker. Even Shahdi, whom we met in the
hospice, will show up again.
I took a tour through your web site and enjoyed my visit there, did you design it yourself?
Yes, I did. It's still a work in progress (unfortunately, I haven't had much time to work on
it!), so it's a little messy in places, and not all the links work, yet. But I'm adding new
things all the time, and I like to encourage people to keep checking...;)
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Never give up! No matter how frustrating writing can be, at times, if you truly want to
write, it CAN be done.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you have?
Hmm... I have a bunch. I'm in the process of finishing up Underground, at the moment,
as well as a contribution to Triskelion Publishing's The Summoning series, in which I'm
turning the spirit of William the Conqueror loose on an Army post...*grin*. I also have
more books in my Section Psi series that I'm working on, including a hot romp through the
world of Virtual Reality as it's never been seen before, and a vampire story with a twist.
And, of course, I have a bunch more Project Prometheus books, which I'm hoping to get
out there later this year.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your books?
*grin* The one thing I like to make sure everyone knows about my books is that these
aren't your typical romances... Often, I deal with real life issues that are scary to
contemplate by themselves, and put them into terms that make them easier to examine.
If readers are looking for a light, escapism romance, I can point them in the direction of a
dozen other authors who offer those. I believe reality is to be faced and conquered, no
matter how bad it looks, not escaped. That's the way I write.
Where can readers find your books, and how can they contact you?
Anyone interested in reading any of my books can, at the moment, find all of the
published ones at Triskelion Publishing (http://www.triskelionpublishing.com) and
information on both already-released and upcoming books on my website,
http://www.esthermitchell.com And I love hearing from readers, with ideas of how to
improve, or hearing about what they like or don't like about a book. I have a web group
set up for just that (as well as inside information and updates on current projects).
Readers can join the group and readers
can find my e-mail address there, as well (and will eventually be able to find it on my
website, as soon as updates are completed)
Finally, any last thoughts?
*chuckle* Too many. But I've taken enough of everyone's time. My only advice to readers
is the same thing I advise in my writing: No matter how bad the situation, there's always
a way out. Believe yourself capable, and be observant. You'll find the solution.
Thanks for everything, Susan, and a big thanks to Coffee Time Romance for setting up this
interview. Keep up the great work!