Bonjour, mes amis! I’m sorry for being so MIA…I’ve been sunning myself in the South of France with some of my besties, and was without working wifi all week (how’s that for alliteration?). I’m thrilled to bring you a very special interview today with an author whose debut novel, FURY, publishes on August 31st! (Check out the fabulous website TheFurySeries.com for more info.) Not only is FURY terrifying and suspenseful (Lauren Kate, author of the bestselling FALLEN series, calls it "achingly gorgeous"), its author is one of my oldest, dearest friends (we even share identical tattoos on our backs). Elizabeth Miles and I have been BFFs since eighth grade, when we bonded over a shared love of cooking and Alanis Morissette. Don’t ask. We’ve been going strong ever since. I interviewed her recently about the experience of being a debut novelist…and about her cats, our high school memories, and various other bits of miscellany from her life. Enjoy! And if you haven’t pre-ordered FURY yet…get your act together and do it now!!
So…your first novel is about to be published! How do you feel? Nervous? Elated? A combination of both?
Of course, I am extremely excited and proud. I feel lucky to have such a supportive team behind me -- from editors and publicists to friends and family. I'm looking forward to sharing this fun and scary story with engaged readers. But yes, I'm also nervous (shocker!). I'm nervous about how people will receive the book, I'm nervous about the energy it will take to promote it, I'm nervous about moving into the next stage of this amazing process. For such a long time, the release date seemed like this nebulous time in the future. Now that it's actually here...it's time to step up. (And dance!)
What’s your favorite aspect of living in Maine?
Maine boasts some of the most beautiful natural places I've ever seen: mountains, meadows, oceans, rivers. That's my number one. Number two: Lobster rolls.
Do you, perchance, have any cats? If so, please tell us about them.
The cats (combined with therapy and modern medicine) kind of saved my life by being so silly and uncomplicated and loving. They are Ender and Bean (named after characters in a great sci-fi book, Ender's Game). Brothers, orange, sweet dispositions. Keagan, the man I live with and love, gets a kick out of torturing them. In turn, I get a kick out of shrieking and pretending that they need to be saved.
How do you get “inspired” to write? What’s your process like?
Someday, fingers crossed, I'll establish some sort of regular writing routine (like you). As it stands right now, my process is rather erratic and deadline-driven (I am a journalist by trade, after all). I am prone to lengthy bursts of creative inspiration followed by a few days of drought. Mechanically speaking, if I'm feeling stuck I'll often skip a section and come back to it. I frequently start in the middle of a chapter and come back to the beginning once I feel like I'm "warmed up."
You’re very involved in the theater world. Do you think your training as an actress has helped you with your writing? What was your favorite theatrical role of recent years?
I absolutely think that my work in theater has helped me write fiction by making me think hard about character development and make-believe worlds. My job when I'm onstage is to welcome the audience into a fantasy world; my job as an author is very similar. One of my favorite roles of recent years was Marta in Stephen Sondheim's Company. The role itself is relatively minor, but she has one fantastic, crazy song ("Another Hundred People") and the musical itself is an incredibly moving meditation on love, relationships, and loneliness.
What was it like when I came to Maine to research Delirium? Can I visit again?
I *really* enjoy (slash crave) alone time, so I have to admit that I was a little nervous as we planned your (rather lengthy) visit. My apartment at that time was very, very small. I feared that the space would feel, um, cramped, or I would have to "entertain" you at every moment. Much to my delight, you were an excellent, considerate, independent house guest who needed very little "tending to." As I recall, we laughed a LOT ("oh excuse me" and BEBS are both joke-babies from that time), ate many delicious meals, explored the local geography, and I never once felt like I had to babysit you. In fact, I believe you were out of the house earlier than I was most mornings. Please come again soon!
We used to keep a shared high school journal. What advice would you give 16-year-old Elizabeth Miles?
Honestly? Just chill out. (Which is the WORST and most annoying thing to say to someone and 16-year-old me would HATE 28-year-old me for saying it...but still, it's true. There are enough things to worry about later.) Also, don't smoke.
We also used to have a list of “Hook-Up Rules”—deal breakers and makers for people we would hook up with. Any you’d like to add to the list?
That list was amazing.
Breakers: Makes me feel like he's doing me a favor. Doesn't like cheese.
Makers: Can cook. Nice arms.
Can we be best friends forever?
What’s your best memory from high school? Your worst?
My best: "Getting ready" for dances with the "Pop Squad" -- the group of about eight girls that we hung out with in high school.
My worst: Toss up between my parents not letting my go with you guys on Spring Break senior year and general social anxiety.
(Elizabeth is in the bottom right--I am laughing on top! We're here in Cape Cod several years ago with our group of "four"--girls we've known since high school or longer!)