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Author Interview: Elle E. Ire Chats about Reel to Real Love

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Get ready to learn more about the book Reel to Real Love 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 Reel to Real Love, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Speculative Fiction category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Reel to Real Love?

This book was an experiment. First, I wanted to see if I could write a science fiction/murder mystery. I’d never written a mystery before, and I wanted the challenge (foolish me). Second, I wanted to see if I could plot a novel rather than pantsing it as I usually do (also foolish me). But it came together, and I can say I’ve done those things, though I have no plans to try either again in the future.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Ricky has to be my favorite. As a tangible holographic A.I., she’s got so much power and yet is so vulnerable. She recognizes that with great power comes great responsibility, and she tries very hard to play by the rules she’s set out for herself. And I must admit to being rather envious of her ability to be whomever or whatever she wants. We are absolutely nothing alike. She’s a talented dancer, suave, and outgoing. She’s a little clumsy, but it’s endearing on her. I can’t say more, or I’d be giving things away.

What was the biggest challenge writing this book?

Whodunnit? Yes, I plotted this novel…. until the very end when I realized I had no idea who committed the murder that opens the plot. Thank goodness for an outstanding writing group I belonged to that helped me figure things out. I had laid the clues in subconsciously. Part of me knew exactly who the killer was, and my critique partners spotted those clues and pointed them out to me. From there, it was just a matter of going in and beefing those hints up a bit, then combining them into a twist of an ending.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

This book actually had two titles before the final one. The first was Reel Love. However, I got asked if it was a fishing-related romance–definitely not what I was going for. Then a previous agent suggested Love in the Time of Holograms which was okay, but never felt quite right. I finally came up with Reel to Real Love which I thought incorporated the idea of reel to reel films and 20th century film stars which play an important part in the story. It also plays on the idea of “reel” love, meaning that adoration we sometimes develop for a character or actor on film, turning into “real” love.

Do you have any odd writing quirks?

I like to stop my writing for the day mid-scene. I’m aware this would drive some authors crazy, but for me, STARTING to write is often the hardest part. When I leave off in the middle of a scene, I know exactly where to pick up the next day, and that usually gets me off to a good start. I don’t do it when the words are really flowing or if I’m working on something especially emotionally charged, but if it’s not too intense of a scene, I will often stop right in the midst of it.

What are three words that describe your personality?

Extroverted Introvert and quirky. I’m going to count that as three. I love to be the center of attention. I love hanging out with friends, singing karaoke, being onstage, all that. But I also get to the point of “enough.” It’s kind of like a switch being flipped. I’m great in a crowd until I’m not. Then I need to remove myself for some quiet time before heading back to the party. As for the quirky part, I just seem to seek out the weirdest activities to participate in. You can see some of this in my bio, but I’ve always been this way. I was an opera singer. And a semi-professional bowler. I love weapons. I sing karaoke. I am addicted to escape rooms. I love to stay in haunted inns and hotels, the creepier the better. It’s just . . . me.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing, and by whom?

“Go back to music school,” told to me by my first college creative writing teacher when I switched majors from music to creative writing. It made a difference because it PISSED ME OFF. After turning in my second assignment, she told me I should stay in my new major. But it taught me to take rejection and persevere–two things I would need when I went hunting for agent representation and then again later when trying to get a publisher to buy my work. I’ve stuck it out through four agents and three publishing houses.

If you could be mentored by a famous author (living or not), who would it be?

Anne McCaffrey had a huge impact on me from college on. I read all her science fiction and some of her fantasy. She was the first author I read whose work included romance prevalently placed in her science fiction, and it opened a whole new realm of possibilities for my own work. It deeply saddens me that I never got to meet her. I was supposed to. I was scheduled to go to DragonCon the last time she attended the event, but I canceled the trip because of financial reasons. She passed away not long thereafter.

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

Not necessarily inspired me to “become” a writer, but certainly there have been authors who inspired me to keep trying to be published. Mostly, these were authors whom I actually had the good fortune to meet in person: Elizabeth Moon, Tanya Huff, Linnea Sinclair–these groundbreaking women in science fiction and science fiction/romance all offered words of advice and encouragement that helped me keep going through hundreds upon hundreds of rejections before finding my niche. Linnea, in particular, took me under her wing and became my mentor. She taught me how to write a proper query and offered feedback on some of my work.

Describe your favorite reading spot.

I love to read in a lounge chair by the pool. There must be some shade, and a cool drink nearby. I swim for exercise, so I will do some laps and then reward myself with reading a chapter from whatever book I’m into, and then swim some more laps. It’s excellent motivation.

Meet Elle E. Ire

From paying someone to fake-kidnap her to cave-swimming with bats, Elle Ire likes to live what she writes. Elle’s science fiction/romance and paranormal romance feature kickass women who fall in love with each other. She has nine novels currently in publication, including Goldie Award winners Dead Woman’s Pond and Dead Woman’s Revenge, and Goldie finalists Reel to Real Love and Harsh Reality. Elle’s tenth novel, Speak EZ, releases from Bywater books this fall. She is represented by Naomi Davis at BookEnds Literary Agency.

Visit Elle’s Website

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Author Interview