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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Interview: Eilis Flynn

The Long and the Short of It is very happy to welcome Eilis Flynn, author of Introducing Sonika. Eilis has spent a large part of her life working either on Wall Street or in a Wall Street-related firm so, as she says, “Why should I write fiction that’s any more based in our world?” She spends her days aware that there is a reality beyond what we can see … and writes stories about it.

I asked Eilis about her heritage and she told me, “My mother was Japanese and my father came from Arkansas. I’m a mutt, basically.” This background, though, came into play when she wrote her first book, The Sleeper Awakes, about Cal Deveney, who wakes up after an earthquake in a place and time she doesn’t recognize... so she doesn’t know if she’s awake or asleep. Eilis said a number of factors went into writing this book. “First, in my mother’s hometown, outside of Tokyo, there’s a shrine that has a series of gates, one after another. I loved that image,” she said. “Why was it designed that way? What happens if you go through them all? What’s on the other side? Then I read a few articles about people for whom their dreams are more real than their lives. And I knew that somehow I wanted to explore both those things.”

Eilis told me she wanted all new writers to know, “Writing a story can be as daunting as swimming across the Pacific or as easy as breathing. Sadly, we never know which it’s going to be.” It’s also important, she added, to make your reader care. “No matter how boring the subject,” she said, “or objectionable, if your reader cares, one way or another, that’s good writing.”

In Eilis’ writing, usually the plot comes first, but she said, “Sometimes the plot comes in the form of a character. That was the case with my second book, Festival of Stars, when Dare Borodin came to mind. What do you do with a character who can’t accept who he is? What is he drawn to? And what does he do when he falls in love with a woman who is everything he wants to be?”

Eilis has written five or six books, but Introducing Sonika is the third one published. She comes from a different route than a lot of romance writers. She told me,”I come from a comic-book background. I worked in the comic book industry; I wrote a few comic books; I married a comic book fan. I knew I’d use a comic book theme in one of my books, so when the plot of Introducing Sonika came to mind, I knew that I could finally combine writing romances and super-heroes, two of my favorite things.” She added, “Actually, I got to turn one of these earlier books, a category-style romance called “30 Day Guarantee” into an online graphic novella, so I was pretty pleased about that too.”

On a more personal note, I asked Eilis if she ever cried during movies. “It’s embarrassing,” she said, “I think I can more easily name the movies I haven’t cried during!”

I also asked her if she was a morning person or a night person. She told me, “See, I wake up at 5 AM during the week, because I want to get some writing done before I go to work. But truly, I’m only awake for about fifteen minutes between 2:00 pm and 2:30 pm.”

Please, check Eilis’ website out at

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