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Author Interview: Elle E. Ire Chats about Dead Woman’s Pond

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Get ready to learn more about the book Dead Woman’s Pond in this discussion with sapphic author Elle E. Ire.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Elle E. Ire about Dead Woman’s Pond, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Wears a Toolbelt category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Dead Woman’s Pond?

Celebration, Florida, my hometown, has a lake the locals refer to as Dead Man’s Pond (much to the displeasure of the town council). Cars and drivers go in. Sadly, most of the time the people don’t come out. The town has tried everything to prevent this: lower speed limit, spotlights, traffic light, a large planter and a six-foot CONCRETE WALL, and cars still hit the curb and launch themselves over the wall to end up in the lake. There has to be something paranormal going on. This book is my explanation.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Flynn is my favorite. She’s tough, smart, a little shy, and a very reluctant hero. Money and the paranormal make her uncomfortable, so of course she falls for the very well-off town psychic. She’s a construction worker and loves to go bowling with the company team. She avoids public displays of affection like the plague. We don’t have a lot in common, though I did bowl on my college touring team, so those details are accurate. She’s definitely the kind of woman I’d fall for.

What part of Dead Woman’s Pond was the most fun to write?

The most fun parts of every book I write are the sex scenes. I take great pride in trying to make every sex scene very different from any other I’ve written. But in addition to that, writing a book set in the town where I live was really entertaining for me and my family. I changed the names of the town and most of the popular businesses, but every time we drive by any of them, someone in the car will shout out, “Hey! That’s where Flynn and Genesis (the main characters) live! I wonder if they’re home….” or “Oooh, better slow down. We’re approaching Dead Woman’s Pond,” or, “The owners of this bar would hate it if they knew I switched it from a Red Sox to a Yankees theme.”

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

There are two sequels out for DEAD WOMAN’S POND. They are DEAD WOMAN’S REVENGE and DEAD WOMAN’S SECRET. Book two is certainly the darkest of the trilogy. Flynn hits an all-time low. She must either accept and embrace who she is or potentially perish. But it also includes some happy moments–relationship growth, self-discovery. Book three sees Flynn really come into her own and be the true badass she is meant to be.

What is your writing process like?

I’m a “plantser,” meaning I combine aspects of the two. An author friend of mine referred to this as “bitextual” and I’m totally stealing that term. I mentally plot out about three chapters at a time, then write those, and then think about the next three. If I plot in too detailed a manner or, heaven forbid, write an outline, I get bored with the project and usually abandon it. I feel like I’ve already written it, even though I haven’t, and I really hate doing things twice. That also describes my revision process. I do one draft. Period. But I’m revising as I go. Spend a day writing. Stop. Go to bed. Wake up. Revise whatever I wrote the day before, then continue writing forward. Stop. Repeat until the book is done. When I hit the end for the first time, it’s the last time until my editors ask for additional revisions.

My only regret about my process is I end up with a lot of abandoned manuscripts on my computer–thirty to forty-thousand-word beginnings of things that went off the rails, and I can’t yank them back on. Such is the pitfall of this plantser. But I wouldn’t change this process. As long as I meet my deadlines, I’m sticking with it.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

There was a time early in my career when I could ONLY write at a coffee shop. I’d need a quiet corner, a lot of caffeine, and the comfort of the shop itself. And sometimes I still do that. But ten books in, I can write pretty much anywhere these days, and honestly, I have to. The pandemic forced the switch–no going out to coffee shops with everything shut down, but I still had deadlines to meet. And making myself able to write under almost any circumstances is a good thing. It won’t always be perfect, but I have contractual obligations to meet, so I’d better be able to do this whenever, wherever. That said, I still prefer a soft couch, a hot coffee, and minimal background noise or background noise that is more like “white noise” and washes over me without needing my attention.

Is there a particular genre you would love to write but only under a pseudonym?

This IS the genre I write under a pseudonym. Elle Ire isn’t my real name, though it is a play on my real name. I’m a middle school teacher. In Florida. And while my students know I’m a published author, I keep what I write to myself. This doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally find me, and that’s always a little stressful, but so far, it hasn’t been an issue. It helps that my administrators are either part of the LGBTQ+ community themselves or strong allies. They all know what I write and support me.

What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

I am EXTREMELY competitive. My spouse is also a multi-published author. Whenever they sit down to work on a new project, that helps me get focused to write something new. We drove each other over the hurdles to becoming traditionally published. They said, “I’m going to write a book,” and I looked at them and said, “Well, if you’re going to write a book, I’m going to write a book,” and it launched from there. I won a contest; they won the same one the following year. I signed with an agent, and they did a few months later, and so forth. It really helps to have someone close to me who really “gets” what the journey is like with its ups and downs. I always have a cheerleader and a sounding board.

What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

I do a lot of things to help me with this. I tend to go to bed a lot earlier than my spouse, so I spend the time before falling asleep reciting conversations, out loud, between my characters, especially if there’s a difficult or very emotional dialogue-heavy scene I’m trying to get right. I’ll talk out the same scene three or four different times/ways before finding the right words for them to say to each other.

I also like to do what I call “character walks” when I’m really trying to get in a character’s head. I’ll wander through my day imagining myself as that character. How would Flynn feel about this? What would she think of this architecture since she works in construction? What would she notice that I never would? Here I am at karaoke. What would she think if she got dragged to this? My spouse says that my entire personality shifts when I do this. I even speak differently. It’s very immersive, and I hope gives more authenticity to the characters I write. Some readers have commented that they “hear me” in my characters, but I think it’s the opposite. I’ve adopted the characters’ quirks and speech patterns, so now I sound like THEM.

Have you ever fallen in love with one of your characters?

I have absolutely fallen in love with different characters I’ve written. Flynn goes through so much in Dead Woman’s Pond, and my heart goes out to her. I want to hold her through the worst of it. But also, I have such respect for her strength and courage. And of course, she’s hot. Physical attraction doesn’t hurt, either.

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

I love reading Sapphic romances that feature either a bodyguard-type character or a military character, especially ones who have been through hell and come back. I love that protective aspect. I love the angst and the pain and the struggle to not necessarily overcome it, because some pain never really goes away, but the challenge to find a way to live with it and love with it. And then, of course, there is the whole women-in-uniform aspect that is absolutely a bonus and a definite turn-on. I’ve always been drawn to the heroic women characters, but finding Sapphic fiction at all was a challenge growing up. There still isn’t enough, but it’s wonderful that I can find it now.

What books did you grow up reading?

I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy–mostly urban fantasy when that became a thing. Star Wars tie-in novels, Battlestar Galactica tie-in novels. Everything I could get my hands on from Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, and Tanya Huff, plus many more. Most of these didn’t include a Sapphic romance, and some had no romance at all, but they had powerful women doing cool, awesome things.

I read these books, but I wanted the women to fall for each other. I couldn’t find books where that happened. So, I started writing my own. It was inevitable that my Sapphic novels would be in the science fiction and paranormal genres.

Meet Elle E. Ire

When she isn’t paying to be mock-kidnapped, taking shooting lessons, or cave swimming with bats overhead, Goldie Award winner Elle Ire writes paranormal romance and science fiction featuring kickass women who fall in love with each other. Elle currently has nine books in publication. Her tenth, SPEAK EZ, is coming from Bywater Books in the fall of 2024. She is represented by Naomi Davis at BookEnds Literary Agency.

Visit Elle’s Website

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Author Interview