Elle Casey, like many Indie Authors, writes across multiple genres. She’s had amazing success and because of her quality prose and exciting story lines, readers seem willing to follow her anywhere. Today though, we’re going to focus on Science Fiction (because, that’s what this series is all about!). Welcome Elle! Pull up a chair and make yourself at home!
P.K. Tyler – You write both science-fiction and dystopian titles. For readers who aren’t sure of the differences, could you highlight a few?
Elle Casey – Essentially, dystopian titles are a subgenre of science fiction. Another subgenre of science fiction would be post-apocalyptic novels. The big difference between dystopian and post-apocalyptic is that in a dystopian world, a new government and a new civilization have been set up and are functioning. An example of this would be the Hunger Games series. With a post-apocalyptic world, which is the type that I’ve written in, the world is still trying to adjust to the loss of a structured civilization. I also write science fiction space opera, which means the stories have the drama that you’d find in a soap opera between people with their relationships and so on, but it’s set in space and people are flying around in spaceships and spending time in space stations.
PKT – Science fiction often has lots of technology elements to it. What types of technology did you have to create for the Drifters in the Drifters Alliance series?
EC – To begin with, I had to have an artificial gravitational field inside the ships and space stations, because as you may or may not know, to have gravity in outer space you need to create it with some sort of centrifugal force or with some technology that has not yet been created. Because I didn’t want to have to deal with the physics of a spinning ship and all the ways that things could go wrong there, I decided to just advance the technology to make my life as a writer easier. There’s also a lot of weapons used in my novels or at least mentioned in my novels that are technologies not yet in existence. The characters in my books benefit from a very advanced system of medical technology. I don’t think anything I’ve included in my books hasn’t been seen in another space opera somewhere else. I don’t know that I’ve invented anything completely unique.
PKT – In the past, this field has also been largely dominated by male writers, but we seem to be seeing more and more female science fiction writers these days. Do you have any thoughts as to why this trend might be occurring?
EC – I think the trend is occurring because with independent writers, we’re not limited by what a publisher thinks will sell. We also aren’t limited by what publishers think readers are looking for. Most people assume that a lot of science fiction is written by men, but there are many Star Trek episodes written by women, and I’m sure there will be many more in the future. Women have proven they can write science fiction that’s as engaging and exciting as the stuff written by men.
PKT – You’ve written both full-length novels and shorts, most recently, you were part of the space opera anthology Beyond the Stars. Do you have a preference for writing full-length pieces versus short stories? Which do you find more challenging?
EC – I definitely prefer to write full-length novels. It’s very difficult for me to completely develop my characters and put together a full blown plot in such a short space. I’m already known for cliffhangers, so giving me a small word-count in which to write a story makes it even harder for me not to drop people off the edge into nowhere land. I definitely want to write more short works, but for me it requires flexing a totally different writing muscle than the one I use for writing full-length novels, and I think my style of very detailed scenes that take place over a short period of time lend themselves more to novel-length works.
PKT – What are your favorite science fiction or dystopian fiction authors to read these days?
EC – That’s a great question, and one I’m not really qualified to answer, mostly because the only books I read nowadays are those selected for my book club, and most of the people in my club are not big science fiction fans. I did reread Stephenie Meyer’s novel The Host recently. I also got into Ender’s Game. These are obviously not new titles, but fun to read nonetheless. I also recently read The Circle by Dave Eggers, which is more of a dystopian type novel. That one was really cool, especially in the way that it reflected how our civilization is really heading right now. It’s actually pretty scary how accurate I think it could be in the not-too-distant future.
PKT – Some might argue that the genre of science fiction being divided into a myriad of subgenres makes it hard to determine what true sci-fi really is. Do you have any thoughts on the marketing or genre makeup of science fiction?
EC – I do think that it’s really tough to have things grouped the way they are, and it’s a very muddy situation. When you can take a series like Hunger Games and put it in the same genre as Ender’s Game, it is a little bit confusing. I would say that there’s not necessarily a lot of crossover between those two readers, even though these two books would be found in the same area of the bookstore. I also don’t think people who watch Star Trek or those types of shows are the kind of people that would jump into the Hunger Games series. I think to get a more accurate representation of the genres, you need to really drill down into the subgenre area like dystopian versus post-apocalyptic versus space opera and that kind of thing. Our industry is constantly changing and advancing, but the bad part of this is sometimes the underlying structure doesn’t change fast enough to suit the advancements. So for example, we’re limited by the BISAC’s set categories to market our books via these different online systems, but those categories don’t always apply to the actual content of the book. I suspect that’ll change in the future; we’re already seeing it with Amazon adjusting categories so keywords will drop books into deeper and deeper subcategories/subgenres.
PKT – You publish with both a traditional publisher and self publish. How do you decide which books will be self published, and what determines your decision for publishing your science fiction titles?
EC – I was approached by Montlake Romance to republish a couple of books I had already self-published and to write a new series for them. Obviously, Montlake is in a very specific genre, so they’re not interested in my other non-romance titles. I suppose if I wanted to do more work with Amazon that’s not romance, I could ask about submitting to one of their other imprints, but I haven’t made any kind of decision like that yet. So for me, it’s a pretty easy decision: if it’s a romance title that I think Montlake can do a good job with, I will propose it to them. Any other genre I indie publish.
PKT – Last questions . . . how do you manage to keep up with such a busy publishing schedule? Tell us your tips and tricks to keep writing fun!
EC – Well, I don’t always keep up with my busy publishing schedule. Sometimes life gets in the way. I published a blog post recently about that and about how sometimes it can all become very overwhelming. But it certainly helps that I have an excellent assistant named Noelle who keeps me on track and handles all of my administrative tasks. She’s always there in the background cracking the whip on me and reminding me of my deadlines. My husband handles the finances of my work, so I don’t have to worry about tracking my sales numbers or my royalties much at all. Otherwise, I just try not to stress too much and to remind myself who I’m doing this for, which is obviously the readers. I’m a reader too, so I know how important it is that the good books keep coming, and as long as I have people out there willing to pay good money for me to entertain them, I want to keep working for them.
PKT – Sunrise or sunset?
EC – Definitely sunset. I’m not much of a morning person.
PKT – Wine, cheese, or both?
EC – Definitely both. I almost never indulge in one without the other.
PKT – City life or country life?
EC – I’ve been a city girl most of my life, but I just recently moved out to the country, and I love it! I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the city.
PKT – E-book or paperback?
EC – It depends on my mood. I’ve read a lot of books in both formats, and it really just depends on whether I’m traveling or reading in bed. For those situations I prefer e-books. But if I have a nice, comfy chair, I’m a paperback girl.
PKT – Underwater world or spacefaring universe?
EC – I’ve often had dreams where I could breathe underwater, and those were really cool. But I like to write books featuring spacefaring universe travelers, so I guess if I had to choose between the two, I would choose the latter.
About Elle Casey
I’ve been reading since I was 4 and have read probably over a couple thousand books in my lifetime. I love, love, love books!! I can’t tell you how many things I’ve not gotten done and chores I’ve ignored because I was too busy reading, and how many nights I’ve stayed up until the sun began to rise, finishing up a good book. I don’t have much time for reading these days, what with all the writing I’ve been doing, but my favorite genres are fantasy, paranormal, sci fi, dystopian, and romance of all types. I used to adore thriller and horror novels; when I was younger, Stephen King was my guy. I just love his writing style and the way he makes characters come alive on the page.
In 2010, I threw all caution to the wind, checked out of corporate life, and moved the family to France where I now live with my husband, three children, three dogs, and four horses — surrounded by trees, hills, chateaux, and wonderful, warm people I am proud to call friends. I’ve also renovated an old barn and purchased a vineyard — 2014 marked our first harvest. My life is simply crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So that’s me in a nutshell. Thanks for coming to my website. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And please, if you like my books, tell your friends and family. Without you sharing my work, I would be nowhere in this writing business.