Monday, October 8, 2012

Indie Monday: Flappers, Flasks, and Foul Play (& Giveaway)

The days of the Prohibition were packed full of crazy action and adventure. While the "Noble Experiment," may have been a worthy idea at the time, things didn't work out quite the way the government planned it. Unsurprisingly, a decent amount of chaos ensued.
 Ellen Mansoor Collier, the author of this week's featured Indie Book, Flappers, Flasks, and Foul Play, obviously had some thoughts on the subject of the Prohibition. Because she wrote a novel about it. A New Adult novel that features a young lady named Jazz (a nickname for Jasmine) who gets mixed up in the middle of a murder mystery. Oh, and everything centers around the Prohibition. I personally loved the historical setting, then-contemporary lingo and the lovely descriptions Ellen used to depict the atmosphere of the era.  It kind of reminded me of a very modern Great Gatsby (which is funny, because it turns out this is also an inspiration of her's!). It's a book that I can say with all honesty had a proper balance of historical tidbits and fictional adventure. Definitely recommendable. I loved it. You can WIN a free copy of Ellen's book underneath the interview. (Ellen's giving away three copies - so 3 winners!) 

Me: New Adults and flappers. Where did you get the idea to write a story that combines two elements like this?

Ellen: Ever since I read the Great Gatsby, I’ve been fascinated with the Jazz Age.  Originally the idea materialized years ago when I visited a speakeasy-turned-diner in Galveston.  Women’s liberation really happened during and after the first World War, when women got the right to vote in 1920. It’s such an exciting time in history, but it wasn’t all about parties and boys and nightlife:   I wanted to portray the reality and the struggles of a single young woman--not a wealthy debutante or socialite--in her 20s trying to make an honest living during Prohibition. A flapper in her 20s during the 1920s seemed a natural fit!

Me: When did you start writing?

Ellen: I started writing as a kid and my mom, who was a teacher and part-time writer, gave me my first functional toy typewriter when I was about 10.  I took my first journalism class in high school, served on the school newspaper and won a couple of writing awards (including a UIL award in News writing).  In college (the University of Texas at Austin—hook ‘em), I majored in magazine journalism and wrote for the college magazine.  I’ve been working as a freelance writer and editor most of my adult life. 

Me: Do you have any advice for self-published writers/ Why did you decide to publish FLAPPERS as an e-book?

Ellen: I had quite a bit of interest from agents, including a couple of R & Rs, but it seemed each one gave me conflicting advice: Some suggested I make FLAPPERS more hard-boiled, but other agents wanted it to be more of a YA romance.   I kept revising for each agent, but after two-plus years of querying and pitching my book as a YA/NA mystery, I finally decided to do it my way. 

The New Adult years (18-30) are such an important and critical time in a person’s life, when opportunities and possibilities seem boundless, ideal for fiction. Like YA, I think New Adult can appeal to all ages:  I’ve had readers of all ages, from their 20s up to their 60s, tell me how much they enjoyed my novel. I still would like an agent, but agents and publishers don’t seem convinced that there’s a huge market for NA fiction---yet. Thank goodness for NA Alley!!

Me: What's your favorite writing snack?

Ellen: I don’t really snack while I write, but I do listen to soft jazz and drink iced tea. When I’m on a roll, I get in such a trance that I often forget to eat!  Afterwards I may reward myself with ice cream or popcorn, especially if it’s late. I tend to be a night owl and midnight snacks are my downfall...

Visit Ellen's website, where she dabbles in the selling of vintage awesomeness: DecoDame!

Read the first chapter of Ellen's novel here and get an extra entry if you comment with the answer to the question asked below. :)

Win a copy of Flappers, Flasks & Foul Play by filling out the form beneath these words!
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1 comment:

Get fictional - it's fun! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!