Saturday, June 22, 2013

Words With Writers: C. Elizabeth Vescio, author of Elegantly Wasted

Welcome to the second installment of Words with Writers! Words with writers will run every other Saturday, right here on YA Stands. If you're interested in being featured and you write YA, please email jolene dot haley at gmail. dot com.

 That said, let's move on to our guest today, the brilliant C. Elizabeth Vescio, author of Elegantly Wasted. Elegantly Wasted is a novel that could be considered upper YA or new adult. Either way, it's about a kickass female assassin, or as I like to call her, an assasstress. I read Elegantly Wasted, and I liked it so much, that I read it again! It's funny, snarky, and action packed. This is a book that you don't want to miss.

Cara was awesome and agreed to let me interview her, so lets get to the good stuff, shall we?

1. What inspired you to write Elegantly Wasted?
My family. I love them to death... uh, no pun intended. I wanted to write something funny but with real life issues. I wanted a story about three cousins who aren’t the same at all but stick together out of principle. As I was writing these ideas down I realized that it would be interesting to add a big kick to it- so in came the contract killing idea.

2. Do you have any sequels in the works for it? A trilogy?
The second book in the series is called Uncontrollably Wasted and it’s due out late August. I have solid plans for a trilogy but I’m also tentatively planning four books in the series. I think I’ll make that final decision as I’m writing book three.

3. Have you written any other novels not in the Elegantly Wasted series?
I have but I never published it. I have been talking with my publisher about bringing it to light once I’ve closed the doors on the Fairholm cousins. It would be a total change for me- it’s a Science Fiction novel. I’m a huge Sci Fi nerd.

4. I like your characters in your book because they real. They feel like real humans with real flaws. I've read some books where some of the characters seem perfect or the love interest is flawless. Why is a flawed character so important for you to write
I suppose the cynic in me thinks that life is flawed. I’m sure that these impeccable characters are created as a release from the real world but in my world, I like action, grit and relatable characters- even if they are doing things you could never do. Frankie is a young woman, she’s still going to make a crap load of mistakes in life and she’s far from figuring it all out. I wanted her to grow up through the series. She may stay the same smart ass jerk but at least she’ll get beat up along the way. If she happens to make love work in her adventures then good for her... but I already feel sorry for that guy.

5. I know some writers say choosing a favorite character is like choosing between children, and refuse to do it. Do you have a favorite character you've written?
My favorite character to write is Johnny Yeh. I’ll admit it- I favor him. He was created by my friend Jeff who had read a very early draft and said “this story needs a Chinese assassin!” For the record, Jeff is Chinese. I could see what he was doing but out of our discussions, Yeh was born and I've adored him ever since. He’s that character who is omnipresent yet elusive. He’s probably the least flawed character at first glance but once you dig into him (book 2) you’ll find out he’s got some familiar issues.

6. What is one book that you wish you had written?
Can I alter this a bit and tell you I wish I had written a graphic novel? I’m in love with Hellblazer. I wish I had created John Constantine. Talk about a flawed character whose actions are morally questionable and he usually triumphed through cheating or misdirection... but usually for the “greater good.” He’s kind of a manipulative douche. I also like the magic, theological crap and supernatural conflict between the lines... if this answer is cheating then I wished I had written American Gods. Sorry, Neil.

7. How long have you been writing? When and how did you start?
I’ve been writing off and on since grade school. I was more into comics early on so I’d write short stories more than anything else. I was also really into Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine so my short stories were kind of dark and morbid. I was a happy kid though. I just happened to like the dark side of story telling.

8. Your publisher is a small publishing house. Why did you decide to go with a small press over a large one? What advice would you give to people trying to decide between self publishing, a small publishing house, and a large publishing house?
Honestly the idea just kind of fell into my lap as the press was being formed. I liked the idea of working with people I knew and trusted to get something off the ground. Sure,  having a big publisher means more... more credit, more exposure, you have more people sitting at your popularity table... but what I think it’s really about it the writing. Sure, I have to work harder at promoting myself but I think that’s half the fun. I've met so many amazing people in trying to get myself out there. I think that if the bigger success does hit, then I won’t be leaving those people behind. I’ll remember who put in the extra effort and really believed in me.

9. Are you a plotter or a panster?
I try to be a plotter... but I’m a panster with ADD. It’s a miracle I wrote anything. I do make an effort to map out characters, relations, plot lines etc. But when it comes down to it I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants gal. I find that my ideas will change regardless if I have an outline. With writing a series, I've had to buckle down and write ideas out to keep in mind... but even that will get changed a lot.

10. Do you write daily?
Hell no. I do write a lot, that’s for sure but I need my breaks. I need to step away from the writing and let my mind take in other stuff. I make time to see movies, go out with friends, play my Xbox... there are times when I’m immersed in my work and I don’t get out as much. My husband does a good job of reminding me to stop and take a break.

11. How long did it take you to write Elegantly Wasted?
I wrote the first draft out real quick. It was pretty short- about 50k words and needed a lot of work. I let it sit for a year and some before I really started working on it, editing it, and getting it ready for publishing. With the help of my editor, I really knocked it into shape... it still had some flaws but I like those.

12. If there was one theme song for your novel, what would it be?
Well the whole book is named after the song “Elegantly Wasted” by INXS... so it’s pretty fixed that it’s also the theme song. As far as a theme song goes for the series... The Devil Inside also by INXS.

Elegantly Wasted

The Devil Inside

13. Thank you so much for being on YA Stands today Cara! Do you want to give any parting advice for writers who dreamed of one day becoming a published author?
You’re very welcome! I think that the best advice I could give is to not look at others success and let it frustrate you. You have something to put out there as well! Also, don’t be afraid to connect with other authors! Sure, some of us are weird but most don’t mind listening or offering up some good karma. The dream is reachable... so keep pushing yourself.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Have you read Elegantly Wasted? Do you have another question for the author, C. Elizabeth? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. great interview. and i love that it's about family but has the twist of contract killing, sounds awesome!

  2. Thank you for the fun interview, Jolene!! <3 <3