Updated: May 11, 2021
Hello! I’m Eleanor Chance. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. I was born and raised in California, but I’ve traveled to and lived in many parts of the world. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a constant stream of stories running through my head. Sometimes an unusual name or even a unique act I witness is all it takes to get a story off and running. That, coupled with the fact that I’m fascinated with words and people and what makes them behave the way they do made becoming a writer was inevitable.
My debut novel is titled Arms of Grace.
When did you realise that you wanted to write and publish a book?
I remember the joy of learning to read when I was four. I began writing when I was about ten years old and never looked back. I started with poetry and had a poem in an anthology when I was fourteen. I wrote while earning my English degree and moved on to short stories and essays until I started my first novel about seven years ago. Writing is my passion and my therapy, and I plan to keep going for as long as I’m able.
Okay, so you have decided to write a book, where did you start?
The idea for Arms of Grace began to germinate in my mind when I was working in a hospital, but it took many years for the plot to form. I woke up one morning and knew exactly how the story had to go and began writing that very day.
Once you had started, how long did the process take?
The actual writing took me about two years, but it was more like five in real-time because I had to put it aside for various reasons a few times, and I wasn’t writing full time then.
What were the things along the way that both helped and hindered you during the writing of this book?
Things that helped were the support and encouragement of family and friends, amazing lessons from craft books, courses and conferences, and successful authors who shared their experiences. Things that hindered the process? Life getting in the way with the usual obstacles like illnesses and surgeries (mine and family members,) the loss of my father and two cross country moves. I wanted to spend every minute at my keyboard, but that just wasn’t possible. Sometimes discouragement and a little bit of fear prevented me from tapping away at the keyboard.
Did the process of writing this book come naturally to you? Did it run smoothly? Or was it an uphill battle?
Writing is a skill like any other. It takes time and practice to learn and master, but I think much of it came naturally to me. Part of that may be an innate ability, but all the reading and studying I did certainly helped a great deal. Writing has never felt like an uphill battle for me. It can be a slog some days, but most of the time, it’s a joy.
Set the scene. When you sat down to write, where were you? What did you need to help you? Did you have a routine with your writing? Tell us what was conducive to a successful writing session.
I definitely have a process. My ducks need to be in a row, or I have a difficult time getting going. I get up early and take a long walk to plan what I’m going to write for the day. After my walk, I do my morning chores and tie up loose ends, so I won’t be thinking about them while I work. Once that’s done, I silence my phone, jot down my notes, and get started. I aim to spend six to seven hours of writing, six days per week. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes less.
Did you enjoy the process and is it something that you plan to do again?
I’ve completed two more novels since Arms of Grace, and I’m currently working on my fourth. As I said, I plan to continue writing as long as I’m able.
Now the book is written, finished and published, is there anything looking back that you would have done differently?
I wish I’d finished sooner so that I’d have more books under my belt now. I also wish I’d reached out to other writers and mentors more during that time. It would have saved lots of time revising.
Did you find the cover design part of the process difficult or enjoyable? And what were the feelings and emotions of handing your creation over to someone else to have the cover designed?
I found it very enjoyable since you’ve designed such beautiful covers for me. I feel like you get into my thoughts and create just what I’m imagining. It’s amazing!
Is there any advice that you would like to offer anybody reading this who is currently writing, or thinking of writing a book?
If you’re planning to write a book, I say do it! It’s hard work but so rewarding and worth it. If you’re currently writing, keep going until you finish. You’ll be tempted to give up at times, most writers are but stick with it. There’s nothing like the feeling of holding your completed work in your hands. I’d also recommend reaching out to other writers during the process. That can be incredibly helpful.
Arms of Grace is out now on Amazon!
You can get In touch with Eleanor here...
Cover designed by DISSECT DESIGNS
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