Monday, August 19, 2013

Silent Echo: Interview with YA Author Elisa Freilich


On September 10th, Elisa Freilich will release her YA novel, Silent Echo through Diversion Books. Her story features magic, angst, a tricky romantic triangle and, best of all, a little bit of mystery and adventure. In anticipation of her upcoming release, I interviewed Elisa about her novel, her life as a writer and her inspiration.  

Introduce yourself! Who are you?

I’ve basically always been a New York girl whose imagination just couldn’t be tethered to one locale or even one creative outlet.  I was raised in Monsey, NY, about 30 miles north of NYC, but part of me always felt like a city girl because we spent so much time in Manhattan.  And when back home in Monsey, I would read whatever crossed my path.  I also developed a keen appreciation for the ever-present music in my home – from classical to rock.   Growing up I was constantly composing poems, song lyrics and satirical newspapers.  And my imagination was always on the road, taking trips around the world, collecting characters, metaphors, imagery -- all of which I stored in a mental treasure chest that I knew would one day burst open.  (See, I can’t get away from the metaphor thing). 

When I’m not writing, my creative outlets still abound.  I am fierce with a set of knitting needles, a hot glue gun and any ingredients that can somehow be fashioned into a sinful and highly caloric babka.

Why did you decide to start writing? Be honest! 

Like I said before, my brain has a way of taking something in and then immediately translating it into how I would depict what I just saw or experienced into writing.  For example, if my youngest daughter absentmindedly takes my hand in a parking lot, in my head I’m already translating the experience into a poignant literary scene.  Meanwhile, my daughter is trying to engage me in a conversation about allowing her to get a Twitter account while I’m thinking about how I could best preserve this fleeting gesture of handholding in my writing.

Take that impulse, add some creativity and combine it with a penchant for storytelling and a passion for all kinds of ancient lore, and here I am -- a writer.



Sum up Silent Echo for everybody here. 

Silent Echo:  A Siren’s Tale tells the story of Portia Griffin, a 16 year old girl, who cried once at birth and was then inexplicably sentenced to utter silence.  She is just coming to terms with her voiceless self, when suddenly she is gifted with a voice that is divine, in every sense of the word.  Portia has to now come to grips with who and what she really is while also navigating the stormy waters of her heart that are bobbing her mercilessly between her deaf best friend, Felix, and the musically gifted, Max Hunter.


What is the inspiration for this novel? 

I am obsessed with song lyrics.  Literally, obsessed.  I could spend a lifetime just analyzing the genius that pours out of Marcus Mumford’s mouth.  And in today’s day and age when teens are always dialoguing with one another on social media, it has become even more challenging to find the right language to bridge the teen-adult gap.  But music?  Music is a universal language that speaks to us all.  So I wanted to write what is essentially a “musical book.”  My agent actually pitched Silent Echo as “Glee meets Greek Mythology.” 

Once I was set on writing a book that revolved around music, language and every form of the spoken word, I thought, hey, what better subject matter than a Siren, whose sole gift lies in the power of her voice!


Give us the rundown on your writing methods. How do you write?  When do you write? 

I like to write outside on my deck when nobody is home.  I have terrible handwriting, so I am married to my Mac.  When I feel like I’ve gotten a good chunk done, though, I need a change of scenery. That’s when I usually hit Starbucks and try to reevaluate what I’ve written somewhat objectively. 

When I did the final round of editing on Silent Echo, though, I went to Atlantic City (just because it was fairly close – I actually find gambling very daunting!) and didn’t leave the hotel for two days straight.  But by just having the din of all those people milling around, my creative juices kept flowing.

With music or without? 

No music for me while I’m writing.  (It’s about the only time I’m not listening to music!)  I feel like when I write I’m creating my own music, and if I had other music going in the background it would be distracting.  Kind of like when you are trying to remember how a song goes, but another song is playing on the radio so you can’t think of it – make sense?

Favorite writing snack? 

I’m not going to lie here – I love Utz Party Mix.  Only problem is it turns my fingers orange and hence my keyboard can take on a strange hue.  But I only indulge occasionally – usually when I’m writing, I’ve just got a giant iced coffee going…


Thank you so much for stopping by! Best of luck with your novel's release! 
About Elisa Freilich 
Elisa Freilich has enjoyed a love affair with language from her earliest days. Raised in rural Monsey, New York, Elisa spent her days reading whatever crossed her path and developed a keen appreciation for the ever-present music in her home – from classical to rock. French lessons and creative writing workshops complemented her adolescence, which was also greatly enhanced by a summer spent abroad at Cambridge University. From the time she could read and write, Elisa could often be found composing poems, song lyrics and satirical newspapers.

After her college years at Boston University, Elisa continued her creative pursuits, working as a junior VP of Marketing at a corporate graphic design agency and, later, as an interior decorator. Eventually, Elisa left the workforce to raise her family, in her now hometown of Englewood, NJ.

Throughout the years, Elisa has retained her devotion to all genres of books and music and was determined to synthesize her passions into one refreshing and original platform. The result is her debut novel, SILENT ECHO: A Siren’s Tale, which will be published by Diversion Books in September 2013. With her own lyrical style, Elisa has created a world that young adults around the globe will find intensely gripping and refreshingly original.

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