Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Elisa S. Amore, the best-selling author of the Touched saga and one of the most successful Italian indie writers. Called by Vanity Fair "one of the few phenomena in self-publishing," and by F Magazine "the undisputed queen of romantic fantasy" Elisa is one of the few Italian authorpreneurs who successfully achieved a huge success in sales and popularity in the US, as well as in Italy.
Shortly after her debut novel Touched was self-published in the American market in 2016, it climbed the Amazon charts to become a #1 bestseller that remained at the top of the rankings for months in over ten categories, hitting the top 100 in paid Kindle books across Amazon.
With her exciting stories set on Earth, Hell and Paradise, Elisa has build an impressive fanbase that keeps growing. If you want to know how he managed to do all this while traveling, reading Shakespeare and enjoying a slice of pizza every now and then, keep reading. Elisa is a treasure trove of surprises.
M.A. Elisa, five years ago you didn’t have the money to buy a laptop. Today your books are international best-sellers translated into three languages. How did your life changed after clicking the 'publish’ button for the very first time?
E.S.A. Hi Michele, thanks to this project I grew up a lot because I learned what it meant to be dedicate and determinate. It was when I self published my books in English that my career took off and I my hard work got rewarded. Now writing has become my full-time job and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the results I achieved.
M.A. If you had to describe the Touched Saga in one sentence, what would it be?
E.S.A. The Touched saga is the story of an Angel of Death who falls in love with the girl he was ordered to kill. Together, they will challenge the forces of Paradise and Hell in order to be together.
M.A. If you could spend one day with one character from your books, who would she/he be and why would you choose her/him?
E.S.A. One of my favorite characters is Ginevra, a Witch who renounced to her life in Hell with her Sisters to be with the Angel of Death she fell in love with. I would choose her because she is strong and has lots of charisma. Furthermore, there is always something to be learned from a Witch.
M.A. On a recently published post on www.elisasamore.com you tell the story of how Liam Court (the actor Matt Lanter of the 90210 series) inspired your Evan while you were writing the first book. Today, the very same actor used his voice to give birth to Evan in the Touched's audiobook. How did it fell like to be in the same room with him as he infused life to your character?
E.S.A. That is true, my recent trip to the United States felt like a dream come true. Until the last minute, my staff and I did not know if Matt would come because he was jumping from one set to another - he had just finished recording the "Timeless" series - but then got a new commitment to fulfill. In order to record the audiobook he took a flight from Georgia - where he was shooting the sequel to the famous Pitch Perfect - to Los Angeles. When the doorbell ringed at the studio where we were expecting him, we all stopped for a second and looked at each other. My heart skipped a beat. In a way for me it was like seeing my character, Evan, in flesh and bones. An indescribable emotion.
M.A. Is there a person/mentor who has influenced your writing style? If so, how?
E.S.A. I love Shakespeare and Nicholas Sparks. The first because of his writing style and the poetic soul of his lyrics, the second because of the way he builds stories. Of both of them I appreciate the passion, the drama, and the emotions clearly shown in their writings. When I write, these are the things that I'm trying to convey through the paper.
M.A. If you could write a book with another author, who would she/he be?
E.S.A. I would not know how to choose. Definitely Nicholas Sparks, if it was a romance. For a fantasy or dystopian genre maybe James Dashner, Maggie Stiefvater, Suzanne Collins or Leigh Bardugo.
M.A. Was there a book that was harder to write for you?
E.S.A. In general I would say no. In the last book of the Touched saga, however, there was a week when I could not figure out a plot-related issue. I had to choose between two different developments. In the end I chose one and I kept the alternative for the spin off of the series. Once a person told me 'you always have to keep everything you write because sooner or later it could be useful’.
M.A. Is there a particular practice/routine that you do before or while writing?
E.S.A. Before I start my writing day, I read what I wrote the day before and/or the notes I took. This helps me to ‘enter the book’ and to figure out what’s in my character’s head right away.
M.A. What keeps you inspired?
E.S.A. I find inspiration in music and in everything that surrounds me. Especially when traveling, my mind flies into distant worlds by projecting a story. I write down everything that come up to my mind as soon as I can.
M.A. Let's talk About Self-Publishing, Elisa. You have used this route to publish your work independently, with great results. If you could give one single advice to a person who wants to Self-Publish in order to spread her/his stories, what would it be?
E.S.A. To self-publish means to become publishers of our works. Many do not understand this important element. This becomes a problem for them (because they cannot make the most of this experience) and for others as well, because by underestimating certain aspects of the publishing process they give to the audience a mediocre experience. It is a responsibility to our readers, as well as to ourselves. It’s not enough to simply write the book and then publish it on the Internet, you have to take care of everything around it. Once finished, the story must be considered as a product. If you want to be a professional writer - and in this case also the publisher - you have to be professional. You have to take care of every aspect of the publication process, like editing, to craft a cover and to do marketing. I don’t mean that we have to deal with all of these aspects personally, if we are unable to do so, but we must delegate professionals who do it for us and that follows quality standards.
M.A. What do you think are the easier mistakes one person makes when is independently publishing a books? Or are rather things that are NOT done?
E.S.A. The first mistake (perhaps the worst) is to think about self publishing simply as a DIY publication. Instead, my advice is to entrust to third parties everything that is not writing, on which we should focus on as writers. Especially with editing, which is not the mere corrections for refusals by the author, as many people think, but a crucial step in the publishing process. The text has to be revised by a professional, who will ensure that everything run smoothly, from character’s building, to story pace, structure analysis, etc. The greatest writers have an editor. Everybody should have one. My advice is: Do not think you can do editing by yourself, an external evaluation is always useful, and above all, be open to constructive criticism and always be ready to live the part.
M.A. Do you have any project, or new books coming up soon?
E.S.A. I started working on a spin off of the Touched series: a trilogy set in Hell that will feature an Angel of Death and a Damned Soul.
M. A. Where can readers find you?
E.S.A. On my website www.elisasamore.com you find my email and my social networks, where I’m always active. On www.touchedsaga.com there is everything about my saga, including trailers, interviews, quizzes and more.
M.A. Thank you for taking some time to answer these questions, Elisa. A gigantic good luck to you, and to your future projects! :D
E.S.A. Thank you Michele! It was a pleasure to answer your brilliant questions and congratulations to you too. Kisses.
Elisa S. Amore is the author of the paranormal romance saga Touched. She lives in Italy with her husband, her son, and a pug that sleeps all day. She’s wild about pizza and traveling, which is a source of constant inspiration for her.
Her all-time favorite writer is Shakespeare, but she also loves Nicholas Sparks. She’s now a full-time writer of romance and young adult fiction.
With her successful series about life and death, Heaven and Hell, Elisa S. Amore has built a loyal fanbase on social media that continues to grow. She has quickly become a favorite author for thousands of readers in the US. Soon after her debut novel Touched was self-published in the US market in 2016, it climbed the Amazon charts to become a #1 bestseller that remained at the top of the rankings for months in over ten categories, hitting the top 100 in paid Kindle books across Amazon.
Michele Amitrani is a self-published author living in beautiful British Columbia. He has grown up writing of falling empires, space battles, mortal betrayals, monumental decisions and everything in between. He now spends his days traveling through time and space and, more often than not, writing about impossible but necessary worlds.
He is the author of the Omnilogos Series, an action packed Sci-Fi tetralogy drenched with what some has called the sense of awe typical of Asimov’s Foundation series.