Today I will be interviewing Elizabeth Grace! Enjoy, and remember if you ever want to be interviewed Contact Me!
I’m newly graduated from high school, starting college in August. I’m majoring in Publishing with a minor in Writing and hopefully I’ll take some music classes too because I love to sing and perform. I’ve written five books so far, none of which I’ve yet tried to publish, and am currently deciding whether to write my sixth book or revise my fifth, since I’ve never fully rewritten one yet.
What inspired you to become an author?
There have been plenty of inspiring times in my life that really made me think, “Yeah, writing is what I have to do,” but the first time I ever thought about being a writer was in kindergarten. We were learning how to begin sentences and my teacher told us we weren’t ever allowed to start them with the words “but” or “and” unless we ever became a famous author. I must have been a bit of a rebel as a kid, because I made my life goal to write books so I could break that silly rule.
What was the main inspiration for your most recent book?
My most recently written book, my fifth, is called Pink Skies. Inspiration comes from random places for me. I have thousands of notes in my phone of book ideas, and I got the idea for PS over a year before I actually ended up writing it, so I don’t remember where the inspiration for the initial idea came from. But what inspired me as I wrote the book was how I connected with the main character, Jenna, who has forced herself to be strict about grades and being perfect because it’s expected of her, something I think most people can relate to. It was nice to be so close to a character that had real life struggles like that.
Who influenced you the most in life?
One of my favorite people in the world was actually my Algebra II teacher. He’s one of those people who can joke around a lot but he has this one look that makes you just know he’s completely judging you. And he likes to randomly bust out a deep thought. What I’ve taken to heart the most from his outbursts was when he told me what he thinks of love. He says it’s not like people make it seem in the movies – it’s not just a feeling. It becomes a decision. Every day he has to wake up and decide that he’s going to love his wife today, meaning he’s going to make his actions prove his love for her and their kids. The day people wake up and decide to live for themselves is the day things go wrong in a relationship. I use that to inspire both my life and my writing.
What is the kindest thing someone has ever said and or done for you?
My boyfriend is actually one of the rare ones. He and I were close friends for about a year before we started dating and at the very beginning of our relationship we promised each other that, to make this work, we would always be honest and understanding. And every day he keeps that promise over and over again and that’s the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me because sometimes it can be a little crazy to try to understand me, especially when I can’t stop talking about my stories.
Do you have a favourite author? (Or name a few)
For some reason I’ve never liked more than one of an author’s books. But I do connect with and take inspiration from Jenny Han, Jennifer E. Smith, and John Green the most.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
I’ve probably read every book on writing ever written, so this is a tough one, since there are so many amazing pieces of advice to choose from. I guess what I think about the most is how writers never give up. If you want to make it, you have to be your own motivator, you have to set deadlines for yourself and you have to meet those deadlines. You have to have enough faith in your book that you will do what’s best for it and not try to publish prematurely just because you want to see your name on some book jacket somewhere. Writers have to write because they have to. If you can set aside your writing for the rest of your life and survive, you’re not supposed to write. Simple as that.
Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so, who are your favourite artists?
It depends on my mood, but a lot of the time I can listen to music. Usually I’ll listen to playlists that inspired my book, but my favorite band in general is Walk the Moon. I’ve loved those guys for FOUR YEARS and they’re just now getting traction. I can’t decide whether to be proud of them or sad that I’m not the only one who knows them now.
What helps you write when you're stuck and or have writer's block?
How much of a meticulous planner I am. I generally outline for a few months before writing, and it usually keeps me from getting stuck at all during the writing process. But sometimes I’ll hit a block while I’m outlining, and when that happens, I talk to a writing buddy and get some different perspectives.
After a long day of writing etc, do you have a favourite tv show you like to watch?
The Office is forever my favorite. How I Met Your Mother is a close second.
What are you working on currently?
I like to, after I’ve finished outlining but before I start a book, make a summary of my plot and send it to beta readers to fix some plot problems before I get into the mess that is the first draft. That’s what I’m working on right now with my sixth book, Just In Case It Rains. After that I have to decide if I’m going to start writing it or go back and revise PS. I’m afraid I keep writing too much and I’ll never actually get around to revising one!
When you're not writing, or working, what do you like to do?
Geez, what is there to do but write? Even when I’m watching TV or reading or doing whatever else, I’m using it as inspiration for my stories. As a writer, everything goes through a Writing Filter, so I’m basically always working.
What are some of your most favourite books of all time?
The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, and Peter Pan. Hands down.
Which of your characters do you love the most and why?
He’s actually from my very first book, which is funny because the rest of it’s garbage (as first books tend to be). His name is Patch and I’m pretty sure he makes me clinically schizophrenic because I still talk to him all the time even though I finished his book almost 3 years ago. I just connected with him the most, for some reason. He’s stuck with me.
Which of your books are you most proud of?
Pink Skies. With every book I write, I experiment a little with my process to see what works best for me, and when I wrote PS I really found what feels right. There’s always going to be some tweaking of my process according to what each book needs, but I just felt so in the zone with that book and I felt – still feel – so connected to it. Once it’s revised and done, it’ll probably be the first one I pitch to agents.
What is the title of the last book you read/was it good or bad?
I’m currently reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone because I just went to London as research for JICIR (which is set there) and I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour thing and bought it even though I had a copy back home. And, I mean, it’s Harry Potter. So of course it’s good.
Is there anything specific you'd like to try writing about in the future?
I’m really interested in writing from a guy’s point of view. And I’d like to try something a little more on the fantasy/speculative side, because I usually write all YA Contemporary stuff, but a little bit of magic can be fun. Also, verse novels. Definitely want to write at least one of those in my career.
What is an interesting or hidden talent you have?
I love to sing, almost as much as I love to write, and I play the ukulele. I’m also very good at sarcasm and being way too short.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why would you choose it?
Maybe I’d use it to stop time? That way I could get in a lot more work each day and write more books in my lifetime than I’d get to without the whole stopping time thing. But flying would also be fun. Because, Peter Pan.
Is there anything else you'd like my readers to know?
I just want to say how much I love that reading wasn’t a fad and isn’t something that’s going away – readers are the only reason writers can exist, and so I kind of owe everything to you guys. If you ever see my books around, try it out if it looks interesting. I’m thinking about the pen name Elizabeth Grace, though my real name is Grace Dinkins. So keep an eye out for either of those. I’d really appreciate it.
Where can we find you on social media?
I’ve posted a lot of short stories and even some of my books on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/story/list/5650832-destiny-elizabeth-grace). And then there’s my Instagram account for my poetry that I sometimes completely forget exists, username elizabethgracewrites. And if anybody has any comments or questions, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to connect with you guys. Thank you!