October 21, 2016

#interview with @delisi

I am pleased to introduce Elizabeth Delisi who is joining us today on Maya’s Musings.

Q: Tell us something about yourself.
A: Hi, Maya! Happy to be here. I’m married with three children and three grandchildren. I live in New Hampshire and love it! Reading is one of my favorite pastimes, along with knitting, Tarot, and watching old movies.

Q. How did you get into writing?
A: The first story I wrote was when I was in 1st grade. The teacher had given us a take-home spelling assignment. One little girl wrote a story instead, and the teacher praised her effort. I said I wanted to write a story too, but I was told I couldn’t. Well, I *did* write a story anyway…but I also did my spelling assignment.

Since then, I’ve always enjoyed writing, whether I worked on fiction, poetry, or papers written for various school assignments. I was the only kid in class who, when told to write a paper, said “Yes!” I wrote my first novel—well, about half of a very short novel—when I was in 8th grade. After that, I was completely hooked.

Q. How do you develop your plots and characters?
A: Usually, something I read, watch or hear sparks the basic idea of a plot. Often that includes taking the actual event and using the words, “What if?” That’s a start. Once I have a rough idea of the road the plot might take, the main characters become clear.

For some reason, the plot always comes first with me, the characters appearing second. I do jot things down as they occur to me in a loose outline form, whether it’s a plot point, a question to research, or bits of dialogue. I rely on it as I write, changing or adding to the outline as required.

Q: What inspires you to write?
A: My main inspiration is that I love to read. Reading has been a great pleasure for me throughout my life, and when I write, I am able to give back a little of that pleasure and pass it on to other readers.

Q: Who is your all-time favorite character (from a book) and why?
A: Ooh, tough one. My first instant thought is Scarlett from GONE WITH THE WIND. I do admire her strength and stubbornness. But she’s a little too selfish for me. Kivrin, the heroine in Connie Willis’s book DOOMSDAY BOOK, is brave and never gives up, no matter how bad things become. But in flashing a glance over my bookshelves, I find the person I admire the most is Anne Frank, author of DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL. She displayed the courage and wisdom of a much older person in the face of certain tragedy, and the world is the poorer for her loss.

Q: Do you prefer coffee or tea?
A: Tea if it’s the right flavor of black tea; or coffee drinks with other things mixed in. Like chocolate!

Q: What’s better than chocolate?
A: Um…nothing?

Q: If you believed in this sort of thing and could channel an artist from the beyond, who would it be and why?
A: Another tough one. If you mean artist as in one of the arts, I’d say the person I’d most like to bring back would be my dear friend Lynne, who passed away suddenly of an unexpected blood clot not long ago. She loved to write, and had some success with essays in Chicken Soup and other anthologies. She was working on a middle grade novel, and was so excited about it. I will never stop missing her, and wondering what glorious books the world will now be without.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: The future is always a bit nebulous. But I hope in five years to be still writing, with my husband retired and we’re living in the house we plan to build for our retirement up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Q: Any advice for those aspiring novelists out there?
A: Never give up. Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Try to read critically, to discover how your favorite authors achieve the effects they get. Then put them to use in your own work.

Thanks for your time, Elizabeth.

My pleasure! Thanks for hosting me, Maya.

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