Taking a break from talking about my own writing habits, I was able to interview one of the sweet friends I’ve met and gotten to know more since publishing! Elizabeth also writes clean stories in the romance, YA and sci-fi genres, and is working on so many fun things! I’ve loved getting to know her and pick her brain about marketing tips–and our books are decidedly BFFs that enjoy chatting over tea and crumpets. 😉
Without further ado, here is Elizabeth J. Smith’s interview about her projects and process!
“Elizabeth: First of all, thank you so much, Amber, for having me! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you.
Q1. What inspired you most to start writing, and when?
A1. I’ve always loved to read, so writing seemed like a natural progression. My first “real” effort was in seventh grade when I wrote an Agatha Christie-themed short story based on ‘And Then There Were None.’ It had a whole cast of nursery rhyme characters, a clueless detective, and a lot of cheesy humor. You can actually listen to me reading it on my YouTube channel in answer to a reader question, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKVHCii0_DI&t=4s&ab_channel=ElizabethJ.Smith
After college, I wrote non-fiction blog posts, one short story, and an unpublished novella, but my real push to become an “author” started in my mid-twenties with an online writing class.
Q2. Where does some of the specific inspiration for ‘Caparina’ come from?
A2. Oh, goodness! ‘Caparina’ went through a metamorphosis all her own, pun intended, from where she started. I didn’t go into it with a plan or an idea, particularly, as it was a part of the class. I’ve always been fascinated by science, history, and apologetics, so I pulled on that. A caparina is actually a type of butterfly, and the butterfly theme was loosely inspired by a book I read in ninth grade about the early 20th century Mexican migration to California. The author likened the migrant workers to Monarch butterflies. I haven’t been able to find the book since and have forgotten the name, but the persistence and drive of their lives really spoke to me. That’s also where ‘Maripi’ comes from, the Spanish word for butterfly, mariposa. ‘Caparina’ mixes so many things, from the weaving and spinning mills of the Industrial Revolution to how mass immigration affects both migrants and native peoples to books like ‘The Giver’ and ‘The City of Ember’ to my love of languages. Sometimes, I think I threw most everything I love into that one book, lol!
Q3. How many books do you plan for the ‘Maripi Moon’ world?
A3. I have eight (!) on my list, but they are each fairly standalone. I try to include enough information so that a new reader wouldn’t have to pick up all the previous books if they weren’t available.
Q4. What does your process look like when planning out a series?
A4. ‘Caparina’ didn’t start out as part of a series, but after writing Pulsar’s character, I knew I wanted to give him his own book. ‘The Fifth Directive’ (honey bee-themed) comes out October/November! Before that, I had already outlined a second Maripi Moon book, which is now number 5. Books 3-4 stem from characters in ‘The Fifth Directive.’ That really answers your question, haha, because that’s how I started both of my current series. With my Christian historical romance short stories set in Harriford Grange, I created a Victorian couple (Colm and Edith) and branched off from characters in their story. For later installments and future series, I’m doing more planning ahead of time by choosing characters, plotlines, conflicts, and settings with variety and balance in mind. I think that’s the key to a good series plan. Too much of one thing can become monotonous.
Q5. What is your favorite part about writing?
A5. It’s like putting a puzzle together or solving a mystery. I enjoy the process of getting my jumbled thoughts out in a cohesive manner and watching it all come together.
Q6. What do you most want your readers to walk away with when reading your books?
A6. For Maripi Moon, I want readers to walk away with a greater appreciation for God’s creation and all He has done for us as well as a sense of our connection to Him. In my Harriford Grange series, it’s all about God’s love for us and learning to love ourselves as He made us, with all our quirks and “flaws.”
Q7. Do you have any other books or series on the horizon you’re excited about?
A7. Yes, all of them! But more specifically, I’ve finalized plans for the rest of Maripi Moon and Harriford Grange, and they’re really coming together. We’re going to explore the rest of the Moon around the colony (and maybe beyond!) as well as visit rural England during World War 2. This fall, I not only have ‘The Fifth Directive’ coming out, but also the next installment of Harriford Grange, ‘The Curse of Bayne Hall and Other Stories,’ set during the Edwardian period. I thought I’d also let your blog readers in on the title of Maripi Moon Book 3. It’s called ‘Dragon Hunter.’ If you guessed it was dragonfly-themed, you’d be right! In between, I’m working on flash fiction and my Skye Tierney mystery episodes. Lastly, after I get ALL of this done, I plan to return to a modern mystery series I started awhile back.
Thanks so much for your questions, interest, and friendship, Amber! This was fun!
Bio: Elizabeth J. Smith is a Christian author who loves writing YA science fiction, historical romance, and crime fiction-mysteries. She has a degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee. She lives with her husband, daughter, and toy poodle in lovely Middle Tennessee.
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/authorelizabethjsmith “
Thank you, Elizabeth!! ❤