Author Interview: Elizabeth Kraus

1. Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite? Yes, always. I cannot go through a day without music. During my writing process I kept “Unearthed” by E.S. Posthumus on constant loop. (I have it playing right now, just for old time sake.) Because this album is not one of songs but rather pieces (good thing, otherwise I would be singing along), this helped me stay focused. A side note, I did look up the titles, and each piece is named after an ancient European/Asian city, some long lost. A beautiful album, the music is described as “Symphonic Rock.” 

2. Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time? For me, there is nothing like a printed book. I love the smell of paper and ink. I simply enjoy holding a book in my hand.
3. Does writing energize or exhaust you? Or both? Both. For book number one? I never imagined writing a book. I was just doing what I usually do, which was keeping a journal on a trip. And then came an unexpected trifecta:  1. Covid/lock down. 2. Newly retired from teaching at my local community college. 3. And soon being very bored out of my mind doing jigsaw puzzles. So, I decided to type up my latest travel journal. It was during this process that my book started to take shape. I found myself energized! I started writing 10-15 hours a day. There were times I would just keep working into the early morning hours as I was hyper-energized over what I was creating.  Book number two? It’s a constant push and pull between energize and exhaust. When ideas come to me, I stop what I am doing and write them in a journal or on NOTES in my phone. I’m energized in my mind, but the thought of writing another book, now that I know all that it takes, it can exhaust me before I begin typing.  But, I am starting to find myself inspired. And for me? Inspiration births energy. Because I have a mind that never stops, stories are always tumbling about in my head all hours of day and night, it’s not uncommon for me to find myself energized in the very early mornings; I get up and start typing. Forgetting the birthing process of book #1, I’m now off and running with the forming and shaping of book baby number two. 

4. Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing? Have you ever had a pair of very sad golden retriever puppy eyes staring you down? Talking about feeling guilt (me, not the pup!) So yes, Sullivan James has “gotten in the way of my writing,” yet the good thing is that it would get me out and exercise. He knew I needed balance (I don’t think along such lines. Good to be reminded!)

5. Have you ever traveled as research for your book? Yes, but unwittingly so. I took a trip to Ireland, England, and Scotland with my two sisters for fun, not knowing that I was actually doing research for book one. Truthfully, I’m glad I didn’t write my journal entries as though they would be for a book. I might have ended up tweaking things we did, etc., So this way it was much more raw and real.

6. How did you come up with the title for your book? It fell into my lap: so logical. Three Moore sisters. We visited three countries. We were gone for three weeks. But, it’s the Still Talking that serves as the punchline to the title. When people hear 3 Sisters, 3 Weeks, 3 Countries, their eyes are on the verge of glazing over, yet when they hear Still Talking, they are now laughing because it strikes a chord. It is relatable. It gets them interested. It makes them curious about the Moore Sisters. It makes them think about their own family. Could they do the same thing? Many share they could not and for certain would no longer be talking. Its a conversation waiting to happen.

7. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews? I was an educator for twenty years, and I learned early on there is no way one person can please every person. I took on as my mantra “what you think about me is none of my business.” Once I settled into this mindset, it truly helped me let go of what I could not and cannot control. Anyway, if a writer believes their book is going to please everyone then they are in for a world of hurt; I see it as unrealistic and ego driven. By the way, my book has the entire star constellation. I have a 1, a 2, a 3, some 4s, and lots of 5s. I can’t control any of this, nor do I wish to. The reader has a right to her/his/their opinion. I know some authors who become furious if awarded anything below a 4 star review. Frankly, I’d like to see stars removed as part of the review process.  Let the review stand on the written review alone. 

8. How long did it take you to write this book? Two Covid years. As a perfectionist (well, only when it comes to my writing), I did many rewrites — too many to count. (My pile of drafts, which I have kept, measure a foot and four inches in height.) That being said, it was through the writing process that I perfected my craft of storytelling. Besides, I didn’t have a deadline from an Editor hanging over my head. Well, that’s not completely true. I placed my own faux one up there, all the while dangling over my head. I added to my stress, all by myself. Well played!
9. What are common traps for new authors? Their thinking process, which can become misguided, I’m sorry to say. For example, “How hard can it really be to write a book?” (Really?)  Or, such as my student writers when they would ask for editing advice and then ignore it because it hurt their feelings and/or were too attached to the content and couldn’t let it go. In other words, personal ego got in their way of better writing/stronger material. There is also that familiar response, “My family and friends love what I write, so everyone else will too.” There’s this: “It’s going to be best seller!” And then the hard truth. The unknown of the very hard, very demanding, and very time consuming work that comes with self-marketing the book; this is me doing that right now, by the way. I digress: This new baby will not learn to walk on its own. The marketing, at least for me, has proven much more challenging than writing the book, and that in itself is very challenging.

10. What is the most difficult part of your writing process? For me. When I finished. At this point, I found myself being constantly shadowed by the Imposter Syndrome; very difficult for me to shake. But then again, I was the one who invited him to come along for the ride. My mind went down many rabbit holes, my worries giving birth to more worries. They ranged from “Who do I think I am writing a book, believing it is worth reading?” To “What makes me think it is ready for publication?” Perhaps the worst was, “Will anyone who doesn’t know me really want to read it?” It all began to weigh my down.  My conundrum being: How to release something I believed in yet not one-hundred percent certain it didn’t need just one more going over, for the thousandth time? Mental anguish, sleepless nights, to be sure. Deeply worried about any errors, I just finally had to reach the point that it was time to give birth to this book, send it out for publication, and then announce it to the world, per se.

Author Amazon Page: Elizabeth Moore-Kraus

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