For the time being my name is Elysa Hendricks. Once I go into hiding I could tell you my new name, but then I'd have to kill you.
How old are you?
You've got to be kidding! What makes you think that my age has anything to do with my ability to write books? Besides, it's not polite to ask a lady her age. Are you implying that I'm NOT a lady? How dare you! Well, if you insist, let's just say I'm old enough to know what to do and young enough to still want to do it.
Where do you currently live?
For the moment I reside somewhere in the middle of Ohio. For security purposes I've been told not to reveal more.
Tell us a little bit about your life.
Aside from getting ready to go into hiding my life is pretty damned boring. Husband, house, kids, pets. All the usual stuff.
When did you first start writing?
Oh no, you're not going to trick me into revealing my age. I'm much smarter than that. Let's just say a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
What was your very first story about?
Can't really recall my very first story, but the one I remember was about a wild horse, called Victory Boy:The Great White Ghost of the Plains. As a girl I was obsessed with the four-legged beasties. I think I still have it buried somewhere in my basement.
Have you written anything that you were too afraid to let anyone read?
If I wrote something that bad I'm pretty sure I destroyed it immediately.
Did you experience anything you've written yourself?
Other than falling in love and marrying my bestest friend, nope, I've never done any of the things I write about. My motto is: Boring is good. Excitement is vastly overrated. I save all the adventure and danger for the characters in my books.
Who are several of your greatest literary inspirations?
Arthur C. Clarke, Jules Verne, Issac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Piers Anthony to name just a few. I cut my writer's baby teeth on science fiction and fantasy.
What kind of education have you received, and how has that affected your writing?
I's got me educational larning thru the American shcool system. All the ways to the fourtennth grade. Gots my diplomas in Anglish and art and everythang to proves it.
How much research time customarily goes into your projects?
I think every story I've written or will write is a life time project. Everything I've read or seen sticks in my mind and eventually finds it's way into my writing. Because I don't know what I'll need to know until I get to that part of the story, I tend to research as I write rather than separating the two.
Tell us about your featured book.
THIS HEART FOR HIRE is the story of a convent reared innocent and a gunslinger with no memory struggling to survive and find love while crossing the dangerous west Texas frontier.
Why did you write that?
I grew up watching sanitized movies and TV shows about the Old West, where the bad guys always wore black hats and good always triumphed over evil. Then I read Lucia St. Clair Robson's book RIDE THE WIND about Cynthia Ann Parker's life as a Comanche slave, Larry McMurtry's LONESOME DOVE and T.R. Fehrenbach's COMMANCHES:A Destruction of a People and my eyes were opened to the harsh reality of the settlement of the American west. THIS HEART FOR HIRE came about because as a lover of romance I wanted to write a book with gritty realism, but also with a sense of hope and a happy ending for the characters.
Is there anything special you would like your potential readers to know?
I love hearing from readers and other authors, so feel free to contact me through my web site http://www.elysahendricks.com or facebook page:http://on.fb.me/wmvVkZ - at least until the US Marshall comes along to hide me from the world.
Where is the one place you've traveled where you've felt most like you fit in?
Sadly I've never felt that I fit in anywhere. Maybe I'm an alien and when the marshalls come they'll be Men In Black sent to take me home.
What activity or hobby, besides writing, do you find most enjoyable?
I love to read, anything and everything. All genres of fiction and non-fiction (except books about math.) Even though my thumb is only pale green - probably because I'm an alien and all the plants on my home planet are yellow rather than green - I like to garden. And I think I've done just about every craft type project out there. I make jewelry and I love watching movies and TV.
What was your favorite childhood toy?
I don't recall having a favorite toy, but I did collect model horses.
What is your most valued personal possession in life? Who gave it to you?
Don't get me wrong I like having stuff, lots of stuff, but it's just stuff. I don't value things. I value the people in my life. I could lose every single thing I own and as long as I still had my friends and family I'd count myself rich.
If you lost the ability to see every color but one, which one would it be?
Yellow. I love the color of sunshine.
How do you treat people you're not fond of?
Hard to say. I like most everyone I meet, which is probably why I'm headed for the witness protection program. I really need to stop taking people at face value and look deeper before I let them be my friend.
What is hiding in your closet as we speak?
Usually the only thing hiding in my closet is my cats. There are also some killer dust bunnies protecting my first manuscript. I do have a sword and some really ugly shoes that hurt my feet.
What do you see as your greatest achievement?
My children, both the ones I gave birth to from my body and those that I created in my mind - my book babies.
What, to you, is absolutely wrong?
Hatred of any kind.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
"Never give up. Never surrender." Galaxy Quest
If you had to explain the concept of "love" to someone who's never heard of it before, how would you?
Wanting the best of everything for someone else without regard for your own needs.
What about "hate?"
Hate is fear turned outward.
You've decided to buy an exotic pet, what do you go for?
Since I've had all kinds of pets from the common ones like dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, mice, gerbils and rats to the wild ones like raccoons and foxes, I think I'd have to try for something really different like Pegasus/Mr. Ed It would be really neat to have a flying talking horse.
What do you classify as an "Adventure?"
Adventure to me is anything that involves even a hint of danger. I have absolutely no coordination, so for me riding a bike or picking up a bowling ball is an adventure, usually one that results in me getting hurt.
If you could learn one new thing instantly, what would it be?
Only one? That's stingy. Guess I'd have to opt for learning a foreign language, but I can't decide between Spanish and Chinese. Both would be useful, but hardly interchangeable.
Finish this sentence. "I sometimes find it hard to..."
Be serious. Considering the vastness of space and time I find it hard to take life seriously. I think Shakespeare said it all:
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing." - Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-27)
If you were ever to write an autobiography, what would its title be?
My life is way to boring for me to ever writing an autobiography. Who'd want to read My Plain, Boring, Vanilla Life?
What if it was a biography of your favorite person?
Guess I'd have to break down and write my dad's biography - Vinnie Costanza - King of the World.
To be or not to be?
Or as they say now that people are dropping the 'to be' verb from normal conversation, "Or not? That the question."
Our special thanks to Elysa for taking the time to share some thoughts with us. Give her work a look today; learn how to ride a horse tomorrow.