Have another look behind the scenes of Elemental Secrets with this interview over at BooksChatter! Cool thing? It also includes a YouTube playlist of the music I listened to while writing the book!
“This is the first book that I have read by Elle, and I know that it isn’t going to be the last… Elle is a wonderful writer that makes everything she writes very vivid. She has a way to capture the characters personality and transform it into a great story. I can’t wait until she releases her second book. I have a feeling that I will be re-reading this until the next book comes out.” – Kelly’s Nerdy Obsession.
Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author Elle Middaugh to talk about Elemental Secrets, a Young Adult Fantasy, book one of The Essential Elements series.
A very warm welcome to Elle Middaugh; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter.
Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Elemental Secrets, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?
“I had actually created a playlist on my phone entitled: Elemental 1 (for simplicity lol) which contained 65 songs. I started off with just a few and it continued to grow from there. To save us all a bit of time, I think I’ll just provide the more important half, lol! Most of these songs were simply mood music for me and had virtually nothing to do any particular scene. Others, I imagined in specific places as a sort of soundtrack.
“Intro” by The xx: This song is instrumental, but the feelings that swirl around inside of me when I hear it proves that sometimes words are better left unspoken. I love The xx!
“Bloodstream” by Stateless: In general, I feel like this song encompasses how Valerie feels about Cade.
“Sweet Talk” by Kito featuring Reija Lee: I played this song on repeat during the football game/ marching band scene. It’s not exactly typical band music material, but it’s catchy!
“Say My Name” by Odesza featuring Zyra: I love this song beyond reasonable measure lol it’s what I pictured playing during the epic Valerie-Holden-first-kiss scene!
“Afterglow (Akira Kiteshi Remix)” by Phaeleh featuring Soundmouse: They literally sing “taking control of the elements, making it mine, making it mine.” How cool is that!?
“Alleyways” by The Neighborhood: I also love this song more than what’s reasonable. I mean, it’s my ringtone and it has been for, like, over two years or something. That sounds outrageous to say! But there’s not much cell service where I live, so it doesn’t ring often enough for me to get bored of it! lol”
“I mostly just wanted to explore what it would be like to control one of the elements (most specifically Water because I wanted to be able to manipulate snow and ice lol).”
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
“There is a lot of “me” in this book. Valerie and I share traits like over-analyzation and anxiety. The setting is small-town central Pennsylvania – where I live and where I grew up. Val’s father is in the navy; my husband is in the navy. Etc.”
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Elemental Secrets – why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
“I’m the “artist” lol.
When I was in the early stages of writing this book and toying around with the idea of getting published, I created a sort of “pretend” initial cover with a photo of a blonde-haired girl in winter. When it came time to seeking a real, professional-grade photo for the cover (I used Shutterstock) I was amazed to find the SAME GIRL as a model on the site! So basically, Valerie has always been that girl, in my mind lol
As far as the colorful creative overlay, I downloaded a few photo editing programs and just messed around until I had created something both unique and beautiful.”
Why should we read Elemental Secrets and what sets it apart from the rest?
“It’s hard to be original. I think every idea under the sun has already been explored and/or exhausted. That said, the topic of Elementals is more unique than, say, Vampires (which was my usual go-to character choice).
I like this series because it’s only low fantasy, meaning it’s set in reality and could very possibly BE real. It’s not hard to imagine, and there’s not a whole new world to get used to. Aside from all that, I think the reader will enjoy and relate to the characters. Some of them are frustrating, some of them are nearly perfect, but that’s REAL. You know? I think people will appreciate that honesty.”
Can you tell us something quirky about Elemental Secrets, its story and characters?
“Hmm. Something quirky… how about this: one of the main characters (Cade) originally had a different name. I had to change it because I discovered ANOTHER character in ANOTHER book about ELEMENTALS (of all things) that had the exact same name! And it wasn’t a common name, either. It was so uncanny… I mean, what are the odds??”
Who would you recommend Elemental Secrets to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
“I would recommend this book to people who enjoy Young Adult novels with a touch of Fantasy.”
If you could / wished to turn Elemental Secrets and the The Essential Elements series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
“I really like fast-paced movies full of action and adventure and awesome special effects! It would be cool if the movie version of Elemental Secrets would look something like “Underworld” or “The Matrix.” So I guess that covers directors lol
Actors are a tough one! I have my own idea of what the characters look like, but the joy of READING (as opposed to video) is that you can imagine everything however you want! I don’t really want to put MY ideas on anyone else lol But I will say this: Valerie has always been the girl on the cover, so I’d love it if that girl (or someone who looked very similar) would play her. I also like Max Irons, Chris Pine, and David Henry as love-interests lol
Location: I think it’d be cool if it was ACTUALLY filmed in central Pennsylvania. Kinda put my little piece of the world on display for once lol”
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
“I like to explore different ideas, but basically within the same genre (Low Fantasy, Modern/Contemporary, and Romance). The only thing that might flip-flop is the age range. I might not always write YA. Maybe it’ll be NA (New Adult) next or Middle Grade, you know? And yes, I like to read books within this same genre, but mostly I read romantic comedies or sports romance! I LOVE a sexy athlete! :)”
What is your writing process?
“I used to just put my fingers to the keys and see where I ended up lol Lately, I’ve been trying to strategically plot out the storyline, so we’ll see how that goes.
I always start with the character list, though. Once the names are determined, I can create a personality around the name. And once the personalities are determined, I can throw them into whatever storyline/idea/world I want, and see how they fare.
I really think it helps to know your characters BEFORE you start a story, that way you won’t get stuck wondering how a particular character will react in a certain situation – you’ll just automatically know what they’d say or do.”
What is in store next?
“Next up is the second book in the Essential Elements series, Elemental Lies. In the second book, you’re thrust a little deeper into Elemental life as things in Valerie’s world heat up.
There’s more romantic angst, political unrest, distrust and confusion, etc. Valerie finds out that certain people she trusts aren’t who they say they are. She draws CLOSER to understanding what she needs to do in order to avoid inevitable chaos, but not completely. It’s the next step of the journey, so to speak, but not the last step.”
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better… do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
“Hmm… I don’t have any pets lol. As far as something that’s special to me (other than my family)… How about a laugh?
Here’s a picture of me and my cell phone lol
Seriously… I am so lost without it, as stupid as that sounds. Plus, how cute are those rainbow dots!? :)”
Thank you so much! It’s been a pleasure 🙂