Meet Aurora Zahni, the author of Ellie Stanton
• When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote stories for my little sisters as a kid but I’d say I didn’t fully embrace the term “writer” until recently.
• What inspires your writing?
People, so wonderful and confusing. Sometimes all it takes is hearing a friend’s voice. Everyday interaction with the human race makes me want to create.
• What other jobs have you done or are still doing besides writing?
I do billing, payroll, bookkeeping and all sorts of other fun things for a small courier service in New York City.
• What genres do you enjoy writing, and why?
I love Ya and Sci-Fi. YA is just always such a wonderful way to capture such an important time in your life and I think Science Fiction is still the best way to address the human condition.
• What’s been the hardest thing on your journey as a writer?
Balancing my real life with “writer world.”
• What’s the most enjoyable thing on the journey?
Meeting writers and readers. It really was helpful to have a community to help.
• How much support do you receive from your family?
As much as I ask for, so zero.
• How do you manage your schedule to balance writing with other responsibilities?
I don’t. It’s all one big, wonderful mess the second I leave my day job.
• What aspects of your life (such as hobbies or places you’ve traveled) have you included
in your writing?
All of it! Anytime I get inspired by any aspect of my life I try to use it in my writing. Just last week I picked up a few packs of an old trading card set and it’s immediately finding its way into my work in progress.
• What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Be honest. You’re going to find tons of opportunities to lie to yourself and others about your story. Don’t.
• Plotter? Or Pantser?
Can’t I be both? I definitely start pantsing it but I can’t get too far without plotting.
• Describe your ideal “writing room” -- and your real one.
A clean room with lots of comfortable places to sit and a shower, fridge and working kitchen all at an arm’s length.
My real “office” is a desk in a hallway with a boom box and a chair.
• The value of networking
Having people who can guide and help you is a good thing. Having people who have been through it and will tell you it’s going to be okay is invaluable.
• Writer’s block and how you overcome it
I tend to write so slow and revise so often that I rarely even notice writer’s block. Whenever it does happen I just start from the very beginning of a project. I’ll print it out and take a red pen to it, get fully immersed and that’s something that always helps a story.
• Tricks you use to stimulate your thinking
Random Wikpedia entry surfing and new music playlists.
Fun Trivia about YOU:
• What is your favorite genre to read?
It changes every six months. I like to move around.
• Do you have a favorite author?
I suppose if I had to pick one I’d say Kurt Vonnegut.
• Do you prefer reading or watching television?
As much as a good book can change your life I still prefer television for everyday entertainment.
• Do you watch television? What are your favorites?
I watch tons. My all time faves are Veronica Mars, Twin Peaks and Battlestar Galactica.
• Do you have a favorite car?
I’ve driven a car in my life.
• A favorite pet?
My cat Minneapolis is the greatest pet in history.
• Besides writing, what excites you?
I’m passionate about music and helping others.
• Favorite vacation spot - real.
Cape May, New Jersey.
• Favorite vacation spot - ideal.
About your book:
• What was the inspiration behind the story?
I wanted to tell the story of an imperfect and unremarkable girl figuring out a few things about life, just like I did as a teen.
• Who is your favorite character from the book, and why?
Hilary Palmer, a secondary character in this book, is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. I’m so proud of her and loved her so much that I wrote an entire novel for her.
• How did you choose your title?
After it was all said and done, Ellie dominated the story so much that she demanded the book be named after her.
• What research was involved?
I had to look up a lot of menus and bus schedules to make sure Ellie’s journey was as accurate as possible.
• How does the setting play a role in the story?
Heller Park is important in Ellie’s development but not crucial to the story like it is in later works in the series, where it becomes a character all its own.
• What do you hope readers will get from your novel
I hope that Ellie will remind of the day you “figured it out” or help you look forward to the day when you do.
• Will there be a sequel? If so, tell us about it.
A direct sequel? That’s eventually going to happen, but for now the series continues and it’s all tied together, even though book two is a sci-fi romance.
Give me the blurb for the book in 140 characters or less:
Did you ever have to figure it all out at once? Life pushed the fast forward button on Ellie Stanton, and it may be for the best.
What’s next for you?
Book two, book three, book four and so on and so forth.
Links where we can find you: