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Saturday 16 February 2013

Blog Tour - The Mystery of Nida Valley: Captured

KBR is delighted to welcome author and publisher Elaine Ouston, on blog tour with the second book in her Mystery of Nida Valley series - Captured. We hope you enjoy this insightful interview.

Welcome, Elaine. Tell us something about yourself.
I am an Australian writer, based in sunny (mostly) Queensland. I write for children and young adults. I became interested in writing at school and would spend hours coming up with interesting plots and, according to my mother, far-fetched stories, for the simplest English assignments. Work took over and I didn’t get back to writing until about 15 years ago.

You're mostly a fantasy author - would you consider writing in other genres?
I am a fantasy author, but an earlier animal adventure for young readers wasn’t written in that genre – although come to think about it, talking animals is fantasy. I have developed a plot for a YA book that isn’t fantasy, but I fear that once I get started, fantasy elements may creep in when I’m not looking.

What have you had published to-date?
I have four published books. The animal adventure Lost in a Strange Land for early readers, two books in a series (The Mystery of Nida Valley) and a picture book The Lost Shoes. Captured is my second book in the The Mystery of Nida Valley series.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Writer’s block is not a problem for me. Finding the time to write is my main challenge. I work in publishing, so I am very busy with other people’s books most of the time and have to fight to find space for my own writing.

Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
I’m a plotter. I need to, at least, have the beginning, the end and an idea of a couple of the big scenes before I start. Of course, like every other writer, my characters sometimes lead me onto a side road that I wasn’t planning to take, so some of my well planned scenes become something else entirely, but usually for the best.

Do you have a method for creating your characters and their names? The characters appear to me as soon as I start to develop a plot. Once I have established who they are, I do an interview sheet on each. I ask them many personal questions about their past, their dreams, their faults, and strengths, etc. I also ask each one their opinion of the other characters around them. This way when they start to interact, I know how they feel, and how they will react to their friends or enemies, etc.

Their names usually develop as I interview them. Sometimes they change along the way – names and characteristics. I try to give them personalities (or combinations of personalities) of the people that I know, so they are believable. I spend time sitting and listening to the teens around me, to try and make their dialogue believable.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am editing the first book in another series, Barben’s Magic Quest. I hope to have that published before the end of the year. And, having just published Captured, I need to get started on book three of the series. I also have a YA book that is half complete. I really need more writing time.

Elaine's latest fantasy novel, Captured, the second book in The Mystery of Nida Valley series (Morris Publishing Australia) is a tale of magic, time-travel, and adventure for readers aged 9+. The story also has an educational element, as the setting is a hidden valley full of ancient animals, dinosaurs, and much more. Captured is story of mystery, time-travel, and magic. Grundymere is still at large and seems determined to capture Meg. The elders of the Order believe it is to stop her from following in her grandmother’s footsteps and becoming the next Grand Leader of the order that protects the valley, The Guardians of Nida – but the reason is much more sinister.

Available from all bookstores in Australia, www.morrispublishingaustralia.com, and from Amazon, and many popular online stores as a paperback or eBook.