After giving you teasers of the stories included in the Shades of Pink Charity Anthology in September, this month I'll tell you a little more about the authors involved. I interviewed them with questions about their contributions, their writing life, their works in progress...
Today, Ellie Heller
Kallysten - First, thank you again for taking part in this charity project. An important part of your story, ‘Flock That!’, revolves about a charity that sets pink flamingo in people’s yards. Although I’ve seen flamingoes around, I never knew it was a fundraising thing. Can you tell us a little about it? How did you get to know this charity? Were you ever ‘flocked’ yourself?
Ellie Heller - I have never been flocked, but it was a big fundraiser for one of the local high schools back when we lived in NJ. Given the semi-urban area, it was hard to miss the flamingos when they were making their way around the neighborhood. Typically someone pays to have a yard 'flocked' and they stay there for a set period of time or are picked up early if someone pays to have them removed (they do typically also pick them up if the receiver is not happy too). We looked into doing it for a group I was with and it works best if there's a fairly small, local area otherwise it can be a logistical nightmare to drive across town and set up and retrieve the birds.
K - Your previous releases have faes, zombies and elves while your contribution to the anthology is a contemporary romance. Do you have a preference about genres you write?
EH - I tend to think of a situation and write a story about that. For this story I saw the news article on the doctor preforming incorrect surgeries and wondered how he'd been discovered and who had 'blown the whistle'. All too often I have to keep myself from adding a paranormal element – this story would have been far different if, instead of her comment about her mother, Bryce had been a vampire and could 'smell' the illness was still on them. Hmm, I may have to write that story next!
K - Your author’s notes refer to a real and heartbreaking case of malpractice. Why did you decide to center your story around a similar case?
EH - Recently I heard a radio story in whistleblowers and the hard life the often have after they've come to light. Who wants to hire someone who you 'can't trust'? I wondered what would make someone care enough to risk the censure. This case was clear cut, people were dying because of the malpractice, but sometimes it's not so clear.
K - After reading your bio, I just have to ask… what is life like with cats and dogs who believe they belong to the other species?
EH - It's pretty funny to watch them, that's for sure. Sometimes the cat and dog play together more than the two dogs do. The hardest part is when my dog – who thinks he's a cat, but he's not, he's a 75 lb dog - tries to climb into my lap and put his head on my keyboard.
K - Can you tell us about your current writing project or next release?
EH - I'm just about done with the sequel to A Matter of Fate and will be submitting it to my publisher (I may already have by the time this goes to press!).
K - Would you care to share an excerpt from it?
EH - The sequel's working title is Buffalo Gal (sure to be changed!). Here's a little bit (unedited):
“So, right now the odds are about seventy to thirty that the Skaard brothers are going to kick your ass,” Shayna told her as she placed completed expense reports along with a tithe check from her business on Averill’s desk. “The good news is this is down from eighty to twenty from earlier in the day. Someone mentioned that there were protectors hanging out, which changed things.”
“And this is supposed to help me how?’ Averill asked as she glanced over the report.
Shayna perched her boney ass on the edge of the desk, her almost skeletal frame towering over Averill. “Well, let’s see. Last time the Skaard brothers had an announced challenge the odds were pretty much running ninety percent in their favor. Seventy percent means there are people out there who have faith in you.”
Averill thought this through, fumbling back to remember her original question. “People who are showing their faith in me by betting on me, that is.”
“Yep. And all those people who are placing chunks of money on the Skaard brothers are going to be pissed when the odds change and they realize you have a chance.”
“And why would the odds change?”
“Well, there might be a leak about your training,” Shayna grin was gleeful. “Not too soon, but before the bout to be sure.”
“We may not have a bout.”
Shayna laughed. “Honey, you will have a bout no matter what. If you don’t have enough pack members, those boys will petition to take over by fighting you. You have enough pack members, they’ll challenge your place as pack leader. Hell, the first bets were placed eighteen months ago when they first came sniffing around.”
K - Thank you again for being a part of Shades of Pink. Any last word before I let you go back to your writing?
EH - You rock for doing this! Thank you so much for all the time and effort you've put into making this anthology the best it can be. People, really, she deserves a round of applause, it's all a labor of love for her. Fingers crossed we raise tons of money!
K - *takes a blushing bow*
Find Ellie at http://www.elliewrites2.com/