An Interview with Author Ela Lourenco
Recently Sirens Call Publications released Dragon Born, a magical young adult fantasy novel from author Ela Lourenco. We sat down with Ela to talk about her most recent release and this is what transpired…
Sirens Call Publications: Welcome back Ela! Why don’t you take a few moments to reintroduce yourself to our readers?
Ela Lourenco: My name is Ela Lourenco and I live in the United Kingdom with my lovely husband, two daughters and our latest addition to the family – a lovely Siberian kitten called Yumosh. Although I now live in Scotland I have had a somewhat nomadic life having lived in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Catalonia, Switzerland, England – something which has definitely opened my mind to the amazing cultures and people around the world. I have had many jobs thus far in my life, interpreter, translator, political journalist… all of which have involved writing in some shape or form. I have had poetry published previously too, and my first novel Essence came out last year, but Dragon Born is the first book I have written for young adults.
SCP: What made you decide to become a writer?
EL: My own love of reading!! I have been fortunate that my own mother is an avid reader herself and successfully infected me with the love of literature of all cultures and genres. But to give credit where it is due I have to say that every book I have read, regardless of genre, has given me something invaluable. With each step into a new story my mind has been opened to new worlds and possibilities. This inevitably led to my wish to enflame the same wonder and joy in others that I found in books myself.
SCP: What is Dragon Born about?
EL: Dragon Born is set on the planet Azmantium very different to our own where every being, regardless of their race, is magical in their own right. It is a blend of fantasy, adventure and paranormal with many unexpected twists along the way. But strip away the magicks, the rituals, and the histories of the individual races and Dragon Born is at heart the story of self-discovery and friendship of our protagonist Lara and her friends who must follow the obstacle-laden path destiny has set before them.
SCP: What is the one thing you’d like readers to know about Dragon Born before they read it?
EL: This book (which is the first in a five book series) was inspired by my eldest daughter Larissa. While I was writing Essence and its sequels she asked me why I couldn’t write books that she could read before she turned eighteen! It was a true lightbulb moment for me and the ideas for it came flowing before she had even finished speaking. She wanted something ‘fantastical, magical and that made her want to read more even after lights out time’ – those were my directives!
Another fun fact is that the four main characters in the book are related to me! Lara and Asena are my own daughters and Leyla and Sofia are my beloved nieces. And yes the story is completely born of my crazy imagination but their personalities are unchanged!
SCP: What is your writing process? Do you consider yourself to be a planner or a pantser?
EL: I spend a huge amount of time planning what I call the ‘backstory’ – the histories of the different races, names and origins of relics and rituals… But that said once the world is alive in my mind the actual story just flows. I tend to let my characters free to evolve in a natural way without contrived planning. Every writer has their own method but this is what works for me! I guess that makes me part planner, part pantser!
SCP: If you could cast your favourite story in the collection, who would you choose to play your main characters?
EL: This is a tough question as the main characters are very real to me!! Perhaps Dakota Fanning as Asena, Elle Fanning as Lara, Abigail Breslin as Sophia and Joey King as Leyla. I am basing this on how I view the characters in my own head!!
SCP: What is the hardest challenge that you have faced as a writer?
EL: Reigning in my wild imagination!! Sometimes you get a great idea for the storyline but it doesn’t seem to fit in smoothly with the rest of the book… I have had to force myself to learn that even the best ideas don’t always belong in that particular book and you have to be able to edit yourself and not just ‘slot’ it in just because the concept was cool.
SCP: In your opinion, what sets Dragon Born apart from other books of the same genre?
EL: It truly is a book for readers of any age or generation. I have had feedback from readers as young as seven to readers in their late sixties and they all claimed to have loved Dragon Born (I won’t mention any names but it was some of my more ‘mature’ readers who have been pestering me for the release date of the second book in the series… you know who you are! Lol.)
SCP: Are you reading anything right now, or have you read anything recently that is worth mentioning?
EL: I have just finished reading ‘Old Dog, New Tricks’ by Hailey Edwards, it is the fourth book in the Black Dog series and I have to say that it was brilliant! And I just received my copy of Jennifer Estep’s ‘Spider’s Trap’ (Elemental Assassins series) – I am practically salivating at the thought of the hours of pleasure that await me! I have read EVERY single book that Ms Estep has ever written, if you haven’t read her work I suggest you do so, you are missing out!
SCP: Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite novels?
EL: This is the hardest question yet, there are so many!! Jennifer Estep (obviously!), Richelle Mead, Hailey Edwards, Nalini Singh, Kim Harrison, Jaye Wells, Susan Illene, Sherilyn Kenyon, Sierra Dean, Lyndsey Prior, Jennifer Armentrout… I could go on all day!!
SCP: How do you define success as a writer? Have you been successful?
EL: For me success as a writer is about creating something others will enjoy, a book that will make them think and dream even once the story is finished. To help even one child or young adult enjoy reading – that is success, so yes, I feel very successful!
SCP: Do you have words of wisdom about writing that you want to pass on to novelists and writers out there who are just starting out?
EL: Write what you enjoy! It is the best advice I can give you. Don’t think about the market or what genre is fashionable today… write from the heart, write what you would want to read yourself and it will reflect in your work.
SCP: What should readers walk away from your book knowing? How should they feel?
EL: Hopefully my readers will walk away on that special happy high you get when you get off a rollercoaster and their minds will be churning with the thought of what will happen to their favourite characters in the next book. Who is the ‘darkness’, what will happen to Lara and her friends next… All I will give away at this point is that book two is full of even more excitement and twists than Dragon Born!
Thank you Ela for taking the time to answer our questions!
Now for a little information about Dragon Born…
Far in the distant reaches of the universe is a world called Azmantium. A planet with lilac skies, jade green seas and fiery red suns. A planet where everything, from the tides of the sea to life itself, is rooted in magic. Children are assessed at an early age and trained according to their unique magical talents.
Lara, an orphan who has no memory of her true origins, is unaware that she has a vital role to play in the ancient prophesies that are about to begin coming true. Older than most who are just beginning their magical training, Lara will soon find out that destiny waits for no one, especially when the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.
With the help of her new friends, Lara will learn that in order to save the future, she must journey into the past – to a time when Dragons ruled the world!
Dragon Born is available on:
Barnes & Noble (Print & eBook)
And now an excerpt from Ela’s Dragon Born!
The sky was dark, not a star in sight as the woman glided through the deserted streets. Her feet barely touched the ground as she silently made her way to the back door of the small stone house at the end of the street. She paused and looked at the house. She had been searching for the right place for many years. This small but welcoming house, with its red stone walls and silvery slate roof, spoke to something inside of her. This was where she would leave her precious cargo.
She rang the doorbell and waited. A petite woman she knew to be called Yelena answered the door with a warm smile, her green eyes twinkling in the soft light of the porch.
“Good evening. Can I help you?” Yelena asked.
The woman slid her hood back slightly so Yelena could see her face.
“Gods above!” Yelena gasped as she looked at the beautiful blonde woman radiating light from her very pores. A tattoo in the shape of a flame was etched on her right cheek leaving no doubts as to her identity. “Please come in!”
The woman followed her into the living room and sat gingerly on the end of one of the large comfortable armchairs as she looked around with interest. Yelena sat opposite her, still speechless, and waited for her guest to talk.
“I can see that you recognise me,” the woman began. “That is good… too many have forgotten the old ways… I am here on a matter of the utmost importance. I need your help. What I will ask of you will be a great burden to you and will bring grave danger to you and those around you…” she trailed off and looked at Yelena as though assessing her.
Yelena nodded. “It is an honour my lady… I did not think I would ever meet you… no one even knows you truly exist.”
The woman nodded. “And that is how it must remain. There are those who have sought to exterminate us from the face of this world. If they were to find out the truth no one would be safe.”
Yelena bowed her head respectfully. “What is it that I can do my lady?”
The woman took a large blue egg from under her heavy cloak.
“Is that what I think it is?” Yelena gasped.
The woman nodded. “It is the very last of its kind Yelena. I have kept it safe and hidden in magical stasis for many a year, but now it is time. It is time for the dawning of a new era.” She put the egg in Yelena’s hands, it was warm to the touch. “You must take care of it for all our sakes… and no matter what happens, no one must ever know the truth until the time is right.”
Yelena hugged the egg against her chest. “I will not fail you my lady. Will I see you again?”
The woman nodded. “Our paths will cross again… until then, keep safe.”
Yelena watched the woman pull her hood back on as she left the house and gracefully glided away into the darkness. She cradled the egg in her arms as she warded the door with her earth magicks—she would have to be very careful if she was to succeed in her mission…