Why don’t we start with who you are? Is this a pen name?
My name is Elizabeth S. Tyree and I write for the YA and Children’s age groups. I suppose technically they call what I do ‘Fantasy’ but I try to make sure that it is written like mid-20th century works would have been…no sex, no graphic language, and if there’s a fight scene or nastiness we move through it quickly. I don’t use a pen name because I am also a teacher and the daughter of a preacher so I work with people of all age groupings. It would be confusing for many of them to try to find my work if I used a pseudonym!
You can click any of these links and find me online (the last being my amazon.com page):
How did you make the choice to become a writer?
Some people have said that they chose to be writers in their teens, or late adulthood, or whenever…I wasn’t aware that it was a choice I got to make. I have always been a storyteller and if I take time away from my ink and paper, the characters chase me down and cause me all types of trouble until I give in. Of course, that is also what keeps me motivated as an author…when the voices in your head just want you to write down their story, that’s what you do! (disclaimer: the voices are very kindly dragons and fairies, except for the one bent on world domination, and they only ever pop up when there’s new pieces of story to tell.)
What can you tell us about your books?
I have written somewhere between 8 and 10 books, ranging from children’s picture book storylines to an ‘adult’ novel about a woman who has estranged herself from her mobster family. That does not include the several blog posts a week, the short stories I post each Sunday, the myriad of poems, or the three unfinished manuscripts that I am working on right now.
That’s right, I said 3 current works in progress (because I apparently enjoy chaos and insanity). Since all three are vastly different from each other, a case of writer’s block on one can lead to a great day of work on another. However, I am mostly trying on concentrate on Dragons in the Deep which is The Stone Dragon Saga: Book 4; since I have the first three segments of this series already published and available through Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Hastings (the bookstores will have to order it in for you). I have people asking when book 4 will be available…guys, it’s not quite halfway written!
Do you play favorites?
My favorite of my novels has got to be Dragon on My Neck. That book was my baby for years as I coaxed it out of a short story that had been written for contest on writing.com. Eventually, after it became my first NaNoWriMo win and had been edited and sent to several agents and publishing houses who weren’t looking for that type of tale, I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and discovered the joys of self-publishing on CreateSpace. Though not my first completed novel, Dragon on My Neck was the first novel I poured my full self into, and it has become the first in a series entitled The Stone Dragon Saga. The characters are always with me, their voices and forms flitting through my brain and the corner of my eyesight, just waiting for their next turn in the lime light. Since the characters are several dragons, a few fairies, a sorcerer, two band geek college girls, and some Brits…they know how to keep my attention!
So you write novels, short stories, and a daily blog post? How DO you do it?
As for how I do all of this writing…I’m a writer, duh! No, seriously though, I stay at home with my toddler (my parents have been so amazing to give me this opportunity for the past 2 years) and I write during her naptimes and after she’s gone to bed, unless I just HAVE to write at some other point, which happens more often than I can tell. The coming fall will find me in my own classroom, teaching writing and social studies to 5th graders, so we’ll see how that works out for my writing.
That is a lot of writing, how do you come up with it all? Do you rely on a muse or is this inspiration taken from a hard fought battle with your brain?
I find muses to be unreliable and flighty creatures, though wonderful to have around. I take inspiration from my daughter’s zeal for life, the actions going on around me wherever I am, and especially from nature which is ever changing and ever similar. However, the best way to find inspiration (in my humble opinion) is to make yourself sit down and write, whether or not you know what you’re going to get out. Sometimes the best chapters are ones that I had to force, and the favorite short stories or blog posts took blood, sweat, tears, and cursing at writer’s blockades to get them published.
Once I become inspired, or my child is asleep and my most pressing chores are done, I sit down with a notebook and colored pen. I don’t usually type up novels until the first draft of a section is handwritten, that provides me with an automatic opportunity for editing and redrafting as I type up my word count. Writing it out by hand also forces me to slow down a smidgeon and really see the story I’m writing, although there have been several writing sessions that I finished up and then could not remember writing large chunks of the story because I was so in the zone that I merely became the vessel for the words.
Do you have a special writer’s area that you go to in order to write?
I like to sit outside and write at the park or near the lake/ocean so that I can take ‘block breaks’ and become re-inspired by the goings on around me. However, when I need to feel that extra bit of separateness that can mean the difference between writing and giving in to the world around me (read, watching reruns and Netflix), I have a writer’s loft in the old choir loft of our home (yes, the choir loft. Before it became a private residence, our house was a church building. There is still as belfry, with its bell. Sadly, my father will be having our bats removed after the bat babies are old enough to move).
Is there anything that you do to help the writing process that others might find odd?
I occasionally do silly things, like hanging upside down over the couch or sitting on the front porch during a severe thunder storm so that I can write from a new perspective (the storm was super fun except for the wind gusts of up to 75 mph and the straight line winds). You just have to find what works for you and go with it, no matter what other people think (unless it’s illegal, then I suggest finding the closest possible legal approximation that doesn’t put yourself or others in horrid danger).
Thank for this opportunity! I enjoyed interviewing myself…though it may have been one of my dragons that did the interviewing 😉
Thank you so much, Elizabeth for giving such a wonderful interview! I love that last question and answer!
*I apologise if the links are not working as they should. WordPress has been giving me fits the last few days and this morning it has been nothing but issues. You may have to copy and paste the links into your browser if they don’t work 😦 Technology!