Ellen and I met and became ”cyberpals” after I published Shoot the Wounded. Ever since then, she has been one of my most strongest “encouragers” and I have so appreciated getting to know her and be inspired by her passion for writing and for her art. I will admit when Ellen first told me she had written a vampire novel with a “redeeming” theme, I was slightly skeptical, however after I read her novel, “Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider“, I was an instant fan!
It is with great pleasure that I welcome Ellen today!
A priest is unwittingly transformed into a vampire and dedicates his life to “judging” mankind to feed his
bloodlust, only to be challenged theologically centuries later by a woman he’s come to love.
In 2004, I was working at home as a freelance artist, and picking up part-time work outside the home whenever I felt led. One evening, I woke up at 2:15 a.m. from a very vivid dream. I thought about it a minute and then turned over and went back to sleep. The next morning at precisely the same time, I woke up from the same dream. I had recently been born again, and this time I thought maybe God had sent me the dream. I hopped out of bed, and without turning on a light, I grabbed a pencil and paper and began to write the dream down in my art studio. In the morning when I checked what I had written, I had 13 hand-written, albeit messily, pages detailing the dream. This was the basis for my first completed novel, THE JUDGING. From the next morning on, I wrote on the novel every day and every night, in between art clients and my duties as a wife and mother. I’d never written a novel, so I was flying by the seat of my pants, and was definitely led by God. The scenes wrote themselves and I never found myself with writer’s block or at a loss for what to write next in the scene. It was as if the story was developing before my eyes and I was just a hand to type it out. When it was finished, 14 months had passed, and THE JUDGING was 135K words. Too long, yes, so I spent the next year learning the literary industry and taking some writing classes and a conference or two. In 2007 I began submitting it to publishers, all along improving it constantly. In 2010, it was picked up by TreasureLine Publishing and the rest is history!
What do you hope this book accomplishes?
Unlike my first published novel (the 4th one I wrote was the 1st one published), RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER, THE JUDGING was written without a specific morality-oriented goal in mind. When I wrote RCBR, I had a sincere hope that readers would be encouraged in their faith and grow in their relationship with God as they followed a righteous protagonist and her redemption-bound vampire pals through their trials. For THE JUDGING, I hope to entertain the reader and yes, cause them to think about the basic origins of vampire and monsters, gods and demons. And I hope, like RCBR, THE JUDGING gets stuck in their craw and they beg for more installments. This series has 4 installments and they are all written. My publisher will likely release them every six months and I hope my readers love each new one even better than the previous!
Who is this book written for?
The audience for THE JUDGING is firstly, all who loved my other series, THE RABBIT TRILOGY, and then for vampire
readers who don’t mind a spiritual element, and for Christians who enjoy thrillers and edgy paranormal tales along the lines of Eric Wilson, Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti. So far, everyone who has read THE JUDGING came back with a glowing report and begged me to show them the 2nd book, DAMASCUS ROAD. I am very encouraged and looking forward to my first review. Getting this book published has been a dream come true for me and I praise God for giving me the opportunity to write for His purposes.
Do you have a “life verse” that you have claimed? If so what is it and why is that verse so meaningful to you?
Yes, as most folks, my life verse changes as I grow in my faith. The past couple of years, I find the verse
that I lean on the most heavily is from Psalm 91, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty,” which I roll all into, “I trust Him and He keeps me hidden under His enormous wing. Whom shall I fear?”
Who (or what) is your greatest encourager when you write and why?
I’d like to say it’s my husband or family (and they play a big part once the material is finished), but my greatest encouragers are the pre-readers. I have a handful of delightful, positive-minded, and devoted readers who will allow me to send them even something as small as 1000 words and ask their opinion. I have one pre-reader that I call my story coach because she has read all of my finished manuscripts, months before they are sold or published, and gives me honest critique mixed with awe and adoration for the words God gives me to write. I have readers in other countries who love my work so much, they tout it to their friends and try to get their local bookstores to add it to their inventory. This allegiance paired with constant and daily mostly online encouragement is what keeps me writing. I couldn’t do it without them. Writing about monsters from a biblical perspective can rile up armies against you—and these friends make me able to keep on doing it.
Is there anything else that you would like your readers to know about you that would give us even more of a glimpse into your personality and passions?
Oh, I am a certified nut; one of those class clowns that is always smiling and trying to get others to smile
too. When the folks in my congregation read my first novel (including my rabbi/pastor who gave it 5-stars), they looked at me in wonder. “I just didn’t know you had it in you, Ellen! All that creepy darkness hiding
behind your smile!” Well, my books do peek at the darker side of man, but doesn’t all good work? I love to write fiction in my spare time; even if I am working on a novel, I am always also working on another project for kicks. I love to watch Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, and Law & Order with my family, I love to eat at Chick-Fil-A, and I love playing board games with my daughter and husband. I am a Messianic Jewish Believer married to a believing Jew, we have a great congregation in Montgomery called Chavurah Shalom (which is Hebrew for “Fellowship of Peace”) where I sometime teach the Youth Torah (Bible). My husband and I love to minister at a local rehab center and teach line-by-line Bible study there once a week. And I love my cat, SnoBall, and her nutty brothers and sister who all live inside with us. We also have one spoiled hound dog who hates to go outdoors, and loves his indoor kennel.