Elissa Burr, author of fiction novel 'Between Heaven and Helen', and children's book 'Are They Speaking Martian?', is currently working on not just one, but a few new projects! Elissa is here today, answering questions about her projects and talking about her experience in writing books for different target audiences.
What is the working title of your book?
Elissa: Booker the Bald Cat
Tell us about your current project.
Elissa: I am working on a few different projects. I hope to finish my trilogy about a cat named Booker. He was found in a library, hence the name; and adopted by a family that loves him a bit too much! The first in the series is Booker The Bald Cat. The sequels will be following Booker's adventures and finally, we will release the trilogy as a hardbound edition.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Elissa: Booker was inspired by my own cat Luke.
What genre does it fall under?
Elissa: Children's - age 7-11
What is the one-sentence synopsis for your book?
Elissa: A kitten is found in the walls of the local library and is adopted by an overly-enthusiastic family that loves this kitten so much he goes bald!
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Elissa: The inspiration came from grooming my cat Luke. He absolutely loves to be combed and one day, I had an idea to write a book about moderation and how to teach children this valuable lesson. The subsequent books will address bullying and bravery.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Elissa: The three books will all teach valuable lessons for children. I think the issues of moderation and bullying are particularly topical in America at this time.
Elissa: I definitely find it more difficult to write for adults. My first novel was going to be a short story but then kept growing and growing. I have to say though, I did a lot of editing for "Between Heaven and Helen" before I submitted it to Frank [Monahan]. Writing children's books was never on my radar until one day my mom and I were talking about her house in New Jersey being built by a German man named Herman Greif. I then said to her, "So Herman was German!" That was what sparked the idea for "Are They Speaking Martian".
Elissa: I have found children's books to be much easier to write; so switching back from the novel to short stories for children has been a welcome change. Writing a novel requires so much more concentration and in the case of "Between Heaven and Helen" it was always in my mind how I was going to link these characters together. In children's books, I try to teach lessons and that seems to be a much more cut and dry way to write (but I always try to make the stories interesting!)
Do you plan on writing more books for adults?
Elissa: I do have one idea for another novel that I haven't fleshed out completely. I will be working on that in the New Year and I have started an adolescent's book about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder aka PTSD. It's about a teenage girl whose father returns from Iraq and how she helps him through his trauma.
'Between Heaven and Helen' and 'Are They Speaking Martian?' are available on RSP LaunchPad, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and iBookstore.
Elissa Burr was born in New Jersey in 1975. Growing up, she was always very artistic and decided to attend college at the University of Kentucky in their Architecture program. After graduation, she spent a year traveling the world. She has been to 14 countries and over 40 of the United States. When she realized that working at an architecture firm and attending school for architecture were vastly different, she decided to pursue her art again. Elissa then went on to receive her BFA from Georgia State University, and graduated in 2005 Suma Cum Laude. It was shortly after her graduation that she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This debilitating disease kept Elissa almost completely bedridden for 3 years and kept her from working on her ceramics. Even though she couldn’t be a ceramicist at that time, she found other ways to satisfy her artistic needs including writing.
The premise for her first novel, Between Heaven and Helen, came to her in a dream. It was such a strong image that it would not leave her mind; so she decided to begin creating a story around it. The story, in time, became the novel Between Heaven and Helen.
In her spare time, she still works in clay, and even though the fibromyalgia is under control, she still experiences bouts with pain every day.
Elissa has just published her first children's book, Are They Speaking Martian? Elissa never thought she had a prowess for writing but she has happily proved herself wrong. Elissa doesn’t plan on stopping her artistic or writing pursuits anytime soon.