Bolder and Older: Interview With Elliott Baker
I had it pointed out me that men can have their first book publish after fifty also. Note taken and I invited the multi-talented, Elliott Baker to share a bit about his and his Sun God’s Heir series. So without further ado, let’s get out guest busy answering questions.
Elliott, would you share some of your business adventures from your earlier years?
I began to work at fifteen in a men’s clothing store. I taught swimming in the summers. When I graduated high school, I got a job as a life guard at Grossingers, a large resort in the Catskills. Fourteen-hundred guests and twenty-one-hundred staff. Three great summers. I financed the last year and a half of college and worked as a bartender to do so. I have worked as an assistant to an importer, on a farm (just loved shoveling the chicken houses), as an EKG technician, district manger of a cigar store chain, district manager of a health food chain, I started and ran a costume jewelry chain for fifteen years, then I wrote family musicals for twenty years and ten years ago, I began my first novel which became the trilogy, The Sun God’s Heir. Two books are out, and the conclusion will release in September. I’ve no idea why I had so many work experiences. It was always to begin something new.
In addition to your various jobs in the corporate world did you venture into other types of writing before attacking a novel?
While running the costume jewelry chain, I had a mid life crisis. I was on a buying trip to NYC and attended a Gershwin musical. I realized that I was never more excited than when I was seated in an audience awaiting a performance and it didn’t matter if it was Broadway or the third grade orchestra. (Although I have to admit, the third grade orchestra was sometimes challenging, especially when one of our children reserved front row seats for us.) I came home from the trip and asked my wife Sally if I could sell the business and write musicals. I didn’t want to get to the end of my road without having done something I knew I could do. She has always supported me in every way. I sold the business and drove to NYC from New Hampshire to attend the BMI musical theatre workshop every Monday for four years. I have four musicals and one play published and done throughout the US and internationally. About ten years ago I realized that what gave me the most pleasure was writing the story.
I know you were over fifty when you published your first novel. What took you down that road given all your other talents?
We are story beings. We can’t help it. I’ve always loved stories and finally formalized it.
Do you feel being older was a help, or do you wish you had gone down this road at an earlier age?
There is always a trade off between energy and experience. You can’t get experience without the energy, but without experience, the energy you have is less focused and therefor does less real work. So yes, evidently and hopefully, all of my experiences will help me create the story.
What is your writing process?
BIC. Butt in the chair. The old saying for song writers is that every song writer has fifty bad songs in them. Might as well get them out. We can listen to all the reviews and critics we want, and still never know if our writing is good. My best idea is to endeavor to keep it as free of errors as I can, and keep practicing. For me opening the creative channel is what it’s all about and if I sit long enough, and move my fingers on the keys, stuff appears. That for me is the fun part. Having my characters show me things my conscious mind might never have thought of.
Of the books you have written to day, which was the most difficult to write?
Like every writer I’ve had to cut and revise, but I haven’t had to struggle to get story. It’s like a part of me is so excited to be able to talk that when I finally put my fingers on the keys something always comes out. (Remember the fifty bad songs.)
How did the idea for your series The Sun God’s Heir come about? How many books are planned for the series?
Like many, the original idea came in a dream complete with the protagonist, and antagonist and the beginning setting. A friend recommended NANOWRIMO. Once I had fifty-thousand words, I was all in.
Do you set a time deadline when you start a book?
My particular inner muse isn’t big on deadlines, but you need some type of deadline or the work gets too diffused and will stretch out. Once a creative project is started, there will be many threats to its completion. Money, time, health, etc. There is a good reason to finish the first draft as soon as you can.
Are you friends with other authors and do you ever brainstorm with any of them?
Yes, I have a number of author friends. We’re all certifiable. I mean, where’s the logic in thinking you can make up a story and someone will pay you for it. I’m in an on again off again (depending on who’s where in the process) writers group. We all stand within the circle of our creations and it’s necessary to receive the perspective of others even if only because they can see the outside of the circle.
What do you have planned next for us? A new series or book in the works?
Once the trilogy is finished, I have three other works in process, the furthest about thirty-thousand words in.
Where can readers reach you and find your work?
Thank you for asking. The Sun God’s Heir, Return (Book One) is available everywhere FREE. The second book in the series, The Sun God’s Heir, Rebirth (Book Two) is also out and available through most of the book outlets, and the conclusion, The Sun God’s Heir: Redemption (Book Three) is in edits and will be out in September. SGH is historical fantasy with plenty of action and adventure, romance and historical relevance to satisfy your ‘I’d sure like to take a break and be elsewhere for a time.’
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Elliott, do you have any other Pearls of Wisdom you’d like to share with us?
Liz, I don’t, but a part of me does. That’s confusing. There is a character in the trilogy, the Maestro, who is the protagonist’s fencing instructor. For me he epitomizes the joy of watching the words appear on the page. His language is different and his certainty is something which I don’t always have. This character has the power to take me out of the moment, and it’s my story. I have been asked a number of times to collect his words and I intend to. There is a page or two of his sayings that didn’t make it into the novels on top of what did. It’s pompous of me to pretend that I have other earthly experience since my perspective here is the same as yours. Inside the circle. Still, what this character says resonates with people so I’ll end up putting it into a blog or something.
As for the writing part, get your butt into the seat.
Columnist Lizzie T. Leaf: Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf started life in Kansas, sprung to adulthood in North Carolina, and currently shivers through the winters in Colorado.
Since discovering the fun of writing paranormal, she plays with creating vampires, faeries and other immortals. When she needs a touch of reality, her Contemporary Erotic Romances come into play. Her most recent release is Nordic Heat, available at http://amzn.to/1owng5k
If she’s not creating mischief for paranormal beings, or getting under the covers with her erotic heroes, she can be found exploring the other genres she wants to write. She is a member of RWA and has served as President for the Heart of Denver Romance Writers and VP of Programs.
Lizzie loves to read, spend time with her family and travel with her best friend husband.