My name is Ella Drayton. I live in a little bitty town in Alabama where there are more cows than stop signs. (There might actually be more cows than people?) I try to squeeze in writing time in between making Play-Dough dresses for My Little Pony ponies and getting beat at CandyLand by my Tiny Tyrant. I am also the care-taker of a rescue mutt named Momma and a ferocious Betta fish named Blouie Green (bet you can’t guess who named him!), and I am blissfully in love with my incredible husband who puts up with all of my antics.
Tell us about your latest book.
The Letters is about a homicide detective named Brodie Barrett who is a little rough around the edges but deep down she’s got a big heart. Things are in sort of a down swing for her when the book first starts out but things seem to be getting better for her after she has a heart-to-heart with her ex-boyfriend. Just as she thinks that life is about to get better, a woman is murdered and a clue on how to find the killer is addressed directly to her. When the clue turns out to be something directly related to Brodie’s personal life and her past, she has to dig deep into her past and question the very people she thought she could trust. Brodie’s got a secret admirer who is tired of being a secret…
What do you have coming out in the future?
Something a little different than The Letters. No murder mystery here. But in all honesty it’s still in the VERY early stages so I’m not exactly sure where it will end up. As of now, it is a story about a woman who just got out of prison and a mental institution for murdering her rapist and the unlikely friendship she develops with a soldier she met in a PTSD counseling group. She’s a single woman whose parents are aging hippies who ran off to live in the Oregon rain forest and her friends abandoned her when she went to prison. He’s raising a son on his own after his wife decided to abandon him and his child while he was overseas. They learn to lean on each other because they have no one else…..and that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with it.
What was your road to publishing like? Tell us about it.
A little crazy. And maybe even a bit premature? I have always, always, ALWAYS, wanted to be a writer. I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month last year and my husband was my biggest cheerleader through the whole process. I have mixed issues about NaNoWriMo but I did “win” and I had a complete story to show for it. After I started editing it, a friend asked if I was going to publish it and I honestly hadn’t even thought about it. Then, I got my “goodies” from NaNo and there was a coupon for two free print copies of my book through CreateSpace. I went through that process just because I wanted the two free print copies because how cool would it be to have my very own book that I wrote sitting on my bookshelf?? So, from there I clicked the little option to send it to Kindle and *tah-dah* it was published. I don’t think I really had time to process what I was actually doing until after I sold my first book. I wouldn’t recommend following in my footsteps.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
Hmm, a little bit of real life experience and then other stories, movies, TV, pictures, etc. Everything around me, basically.
Do you ever base your characters on real people in your life?
If I say “yes”, some people in my life might not be too happy! I would say that I do draw some character traits from people in my life but I’ve never written a character that was exactly like someone in my life. I mix and match their traits so that no one knows! My husband swears up and down that Brodie is actually me, which in all honesty I’m not sure is a compliment because she’s kind of a bitch. (Thanks, honey! Love you!)
I am a sucker for sappy romance novels, self-help books, mysteries, and true crime. I am also an avid reader of children’s books.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
This is actually a little embarrassing but when I first put the book out, it was under the name 3 Clues and I was so hyped up about how cool yet simple it was. And then when I went through for another edit, I felt like a complete idiot because I had FORGOTTEN that there were actually 4 clues. FAIL. So….I kept trying to think of something super cool and mysterious and just happened to come across the picture that I used for the cover and in the book the clues are typed so The Letters was born. (I’d like to blame it on alcohol but I was completely sober. Yes, I feel ashamed.)
Do you have a careful plan when plotting your stories or do you just go with the flow?
I try to plan things out but as the mother of a toddler I have learned that things don’t always go according to plan. My writing time usually ends up being scheduled for after Tiny Tyrant, the dog, the fish, and the husband are all in bed so I usually just do whatever I can before I pass out myself.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
I’ve always loved writing little stories since I was a kid but the moment I knew I really truly wanted to give it a shot is when my husband and I were going through some boxes after we moved for the fiftieth time and I found some old writings I’d kept from before my Tiny Tyrant was born. He read them and encouraged me to start writing again. He’s the first person I can think of who truly encouraged me to follow my dream of being a writer. From that day I’ve been trying to make it a reality.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Getting all those ideas I came up with during brainstorming to work together and actually make some sense.