My writing journey started, unsurprisingly, as a reading journey.
I can still remember how proud I was when I first read Spot Goes to School all by myself. I remember marveling over Choose Your Own Adventure books in elementary school. I remember adoring books like Ella Enchanted in middle school.
Then high school came along.
It probably had something to do with popular movies at the time, but I recall a heavy shift in my interest toward vampires. I’m from a small town, though, so our school library didn’t have an extreme variety where the undead were concerned – especially the kind I wanted to read about: vampires as good guys and lovers, not evil blood-sucking demons – and I wasn’t able to get to the small public library (not that it would’ve been much better).
So I did something crazy, and wrote about the kind of story I wanted to read.
Okay, I suppose it’s not all that crazy, considering I used to do that sort of thing a lot!
Back in middle school, when my sister and I were obsessed with N*Sync, I used to write script after script of our imaginary exploits with them! (How embarrassing, right? Lol).
I once made up a story about a villain who was simply awful at being a bad guy, and based him off of a Black Molly fish that was always bullying the other fish our tank!
I also obsessed over The Lord of the Rings movies back then, and I plotted out an epic fantasy adventure of my own. It was mostly just maps, character names, quotes, general ideas, etc. But I think the idea was really cool (even now). Maybe one day I’ll actually write it?
Anyway, the vampire book I started to write was called The Nightly Deeds of Sebastian Lavish, and that one book is probably the reason I’m an author at all. Pretty epic, right?
After I’d written a few chapters, I handed the manuscript over to my high school librarian who had agreed to give me her thoughts. What she said was something like this: “I’ve read thousands of books, and this is definitely in the top fifteen percent.” Doing the math, I figured she’d given my very first book a solid B grade, which I felt was pretty damn awesome! She then helped me get into a creative writing class that was supposed to be only for juniors and seniors (I was a sophomore at the time, I believe).
Taking that writing class was one of the best experiences ever – especially for my confidence; I’d somehow kept up with skillful seniors who had much more experience.
In college, I specifically enrolled in another creative writing class (even though I hadn’t anticipated on being a writer. I’d actually swapped back and forth between being a teacher and a nurse). It’s interesting to think about it now, though. I mean, why enroll in a class like that if I didn’t want to hone a very particular skill set?
During my time in that college class, I shared the first chapter of The Nightly Deeds of Sebastian Lavish with my professor and classmates. Many of them said they felt it was good enough to be published – wait, what? Did they just say published? It was one of the first times I started to believe that writing might actually be a career choice for me.
My cousin was working at a publishing company in South Carolina at the time and offered to get me an internship, which I declined. Probably because I was intimidated, but also because I’m a definite homebody. I like being home where I’m happy and comfortable.
Speaking of homebody, being at college – even though it was only about an hour away from home – was taking its toll on my emotional state. I stayed holed up in my dorm room a lot, feeling anxious and depressed. I didn’t want to go to class, I didn’t want to go to the dining hall, I just wanted to go home and be with my family. Not to say that I didn’t want to do the work, because I did all of my homework and passed all of my tests. Unfortunately attendance was a huge part of the grade. Ultimately, the depression got so bad that I medically withdrew.
I feel like that was an important part of the journey. Sometimes people go through dark times, and I want everyone to know that I’ve been there too. I’ve felt the darkness surrounding and suffocating me. But I also know that it gets better.
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself happily married to a US Navy sailor. My husband knew that I enjoyed writing, and that I’d written a book, but since I wasn’t actively pursuing a writing career, I suppose he figured it wasn’t that big of a deal.
One weekend, I’d taken our kids and went home for a visit (being stationed away from home was no fun for a homebody lol. Thank God I’d made some awesome friends who carried me through the times I couldn’t get back!). While we were away, my husband got bored and decided to read The Nightly Deeds of Sebastian Lavish…and he LOVED it! That’s the moment he realized that writing was not only a passion of mine, but that I was genuinely good at it.
He immediately encouraged me to follow my dream of becoming a published author. He helped me look into both traditional and independent publishing options, and with me being as incredibly hesitant as I was, we decided to go indie to make it simpler. It was a great choice!
I don’t know if I could ever adequately describe the feeling of seeing my book at the kindle store, or holding that first paperback copy in my hands. It was simply surreal. I finally felt like being an author was achievable.
Not to say that it’s been an easy hike up dream-mountain. It hasn’t been. It’s also not even close to over. I’ve only published two books so far, and it takes a lot of time, money, energy, and passion to trudge forward knowing that the payoff isn’t (yet) going to be phenomenal. But one day it will be. Because I believe in myself and my passion. Because I finally have the confidence and determination to make this dream a reality. And because I will not stop until I’m victorious.
About Elemental Lies
Elemental Lies (The Essential Elements, #2)
by Elle Middaugh
Publication Date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Valerie Moore is an Elemental, a person who commands one of the classical elements of wind, water, fire, or earth. She’s special, though. She controls two—fire and water—though sometimes it seems like they control her.
After the accidental exposure of Elementals to humanity, Valerie finds herself—and all of her kind—struggling to attain equality. Three different groups fight to secure leadership, and with all of their hidden agendas, she doesn’t know which side to choose. The balance between peaceful cohabitation and all-out war is precarious, at best.
When a chance meeting brings Val and earth Elemental Cade Landston back together, everything changes. She realizes what she knew in the beginning—that he’s the one she wants. Her desire to win him over draws her closer to him, and his vengeful mission to hunt down her murderous grandfather brings them both closer to trouble.
From mysterious doppelgangers to reckless rescue missions, scapegoat bombings, and evolving Elemental powers, Valerie strains to keep up.
All she knows is she must stop her grandfather at all costs. To do so, she has to figure out the truth, but how can she do so when almost everyone she knows has been telling lies?
Elle Middaugh lives in the Allegheny Mountains outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, with her wonderful husband and three beautiful children. Most of her time is spent raising kids, writing stories, playing video games, reading, and attempting to keep a clean house.
She’s a proud Navy wife, a frazzle-brained mother, a fan of health and fitness, a lover of hot tea and iced tea, and a believer in happily ever afters.