Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, October 3, 2011

Elliot Grace: SOUTH OF CHARM

Today I am two places at once. Here interviewing Elliot Grace, to kick off his blog tour-- and I'm over at Jennifer Lane's blog being interviewed by her. Because I am awesome at multi-tasking!

Since this blog deals mainly with writing, editing and publishing issues, I asked Elliot about his process of getting South of Charm published. 

Elliot, How did you happen to write South of Charm?  

-I'd certainly prefer to respond with a distinguished answer, something to the effect of dreaming up the entire story one evening while basking under an expiring sunset along Siesta Key, the skies ablaze with color as the wheels in my head start churning out words by the dozen.  "South of Charm" was actually inspired from a series of childhood events.  I added to my notes over the years, created a few interesting characters, dramatized things a bit, and thought perhaps it could someday make for an enjoyable story.  The project collected dust for a while as other stories took precedence.  But "Charm" was persistent, never allowing itself too much distance from my thoughts.  Eventually I committed to the project, and three years later had a decent manuscript that I felt was ready to share with potential suitors.  

How did you find your publisher?  

Following the usual gauntlet of rejections, I found myself at a local book fair, conversing with one of several featured writers on display, when by chance, I met up with David Wiesenberg, an editor representing Wooster Books Publishing.  Upon his request, I pitched to him my idea, basically just the highlights off the top of my head.  A few days later he sent me an email, this time requesting a full read.  Several weeks later I was signed.

What was the editing process like? 

The editing process became an exhaustive commitment lasting nearly a year and a half, with David, ever the perfectionist, leading me in the right direction, while never overstepping his authority.  The hands on approach of an indie publisher played out just as I'd read on many websites and tutorials.  A personable staff who were always available to lend advice, be it a major conflict with the cover design, or simply an ear to lend to a writer's concern's.  

"South of Charm" was released in May, and while making a fighting effort at keeping pace with the big shots of the publishing industry, has done well locally.  Enough so, that I'm considering a return to Wooster Books for the second release, whenever that day may come ;)

From South of Charm by Elliot Grace:

...we're huddled in the far corner of my bedroom.  Arms wrapped around our knees in the dark.  The approaching footsteps grow louder.  Ominous thuds.  Our mother-but somehow not.  She's standing outside my door.  We listen to the creak of hinges.  My sister clenches my arm.     
"She's coming," she whispers.  "She's broken."

To purchase on the Kindle
To purchase print copy

Elliot, I am honored that I got to kick off your blog tour, and thrilled that you answered all my nosy questions. I wish you every success for South of Charm!



  1. I hope you do really well on your book. Your cover and your story are wonderful!

  2. Wow. Just that tiny excerpt gave me chills. Looks good!

    Thanks for telling us about SOUTH OF CHARM and introducing us to Elliot, Karen.

  3. Congrats on the release, Elliott! Thanks for visiting my blog today, Karen and good luck on the release of House of Diamonds.

  4. Elliot, Hilary sent me a message to you. For some reason Blogger won't let her leave comments on my blog!

    Hi Karen and Elliott .. interesting that you added to your childhood memories .. but that hiding in the bedroom certainly lends itself to 'strange goings on' .. Good luck with it and so pleased to read that locally it's doing well.

    All the best - Hilary

  5. That's what I like about my small publisher as well - I feel like I'm part of the process. Good luck, Elliot!

  6. ooh! That was an intriguing excerpt!

  7. Oooh, that excerpt has a nice Stephen King-y feel to it. Sounds intriguing. Good luck with the book, Elliot, and thanks for sharing the interview, Karen.

  8. Congratulations, Elliot! That snippet is wonderful.

    (Hi Karen!)

  9. That's why it pays to get out and mingle at book and author events.

  10. Thanks KarenG for the fab intro to Elliot!! Great to read that he got his publisher - by being out and about and getting the pitch right! Yay!! Good luck and all the best with a most intriguingly titled South of Charm!

    Take care

  11. I love these stories of kismet when the opportunity comes right when you don't expect it. Because then you just know it was meant to be. But I agree w/ L. Diane, you've got to be out there and available for it to happen.

    I'm looking forward to the chance to read South of Charm - this one's intrigued me since I first heard of it. Congrats, Elliot!

  12. That's fantastic. Wishing you the best of luck. Loved the snippet, it was intense and beautiful.

  13. Congratulations Elliot, what an exciting time for you.

  14. ...geez, fashionably late to my own party ;)

    Thanks everyone for stopping by, and to Karen, you're a sweetheart! Wishing you only the best for "House of Diamonds." Perhaps one day we'll go on tour together, whether it be trekking down the mountain, or scaling that roadblock in order to reach the summit:)

    ...and by the way, hop on over to my blog when time permits, become a follower or pen a review of "Charm" on either Amazon or GoodReads, and be entered into my contest! I'll be handing out signed copies, gift cards, and whatever else my publisher allows ;)

    Thanks again,

  15. Congrats Elliot! Great interview Karen. It is so great reading these interviews & learning about the process. Thank you!

  16. I follow Elliot's blog, and I know he's a great writer. So glad to hear his book found the right home. It sure sounds interesting. Thanks, Karen! :o) <3

  17. Thanks for the introduction to Elliot... looks to be a great read! Shall check out his blog as well.

  18. It was great having you here today, Elliot. I hope you enjoy the rest of your blog tour. It was an honor to kick off your big event!

  19. Great interview guys! I follow Elliot too. He's such a great guy. I can't wait to read his book. ;)

  20. Hey, El, Hi, Karen,

    Wow, how exciting! Congrats EL! I wish you all the best. You writing is amazing and I know all your readers will think so.

  21. ...can't imagine a better way of kicking off a tour, than with a stop on "The Mountain." Thanks again Karen, and to those who stopped by ;)


  22. The wind is crisp on the mountain, but that just clears the head, doesn't it? Lovely interview, Elliot. I envy you the opportunity of going to book fairs. None come to my neck of the woods.

    Well, there was this one, but Alice Wentworth whispered, "By the prickling in my thumb, something evil this way comes." I decided to pass. LOL.

    May your sales be only higher and higher. Your table at Meilori's awaits. Cue the spooky music! Roland

  23. A snippet to whet the appetite. Enjoyed reading your interview Elliot. Thank you Karen.

  24. Great interview Karen and Elliot your responses were quite helpful to this new writer. Love the broken mother, must read more about her.

  25. Hi Karen. Thanks for your kind comments for Insecure Writer's post today. I love Elliot's book. He has a great gift of expression. I likened him to a Pat Conroy. Thanks for the interview. Lovely to see Elliot getting out there.


  26. Pat again..
    It sounds like an interesting and great book. Also interesting, was your journey to getting it published. Thanks