Author Interviews Series: Young And Talented Elena Shelest Author Of "The Seven Lives of Grace"

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Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written: 

I immigrated from Ukraine at the age 15, so English is my second language. I have always been an avid reader, but writing my own books felt like a distant dream. I've been journaling as long as I remember and writing a blog, but this year I published my first full-length fiction novel. I am very excited about that.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

The name of the book I just published is The Seven Lives of Grace. The idea came to me when I was trying to move to another state and lost my job. I was stuck at my friend's house with nothing to do and decided to finally write down the novel that was brewing in my heart. It is a story of a young woman who sacrificed her own dreams to care for others, but got a chance to find her purpose in life after receiving her magical inheritance. It's a sort of a fairytale fantasy book in a modern setting. A fun and easy read that is inspiring at the same time.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I like to binge-write, although it's not always possible with family and work. I feel like I am at my best when I get into the mode of writing and stay there for hours.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a devotional journal that will accompany the book The Seven Lives of Grace. It will be a fun way for women to apply some of the concepts from the book into their own lives.

What authors, or books have influenced you?

I read a lot of books both fiction and nonfiction. The one book that I helped me get the results and actually get things done (like writing my first book) is the one by Gary Keller - The ONE Thing. Writing a book takes a lot of time, focus, and dedication. It had become the ONE thing for me in these last two years. Making it my priority helped me get to the finish line.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?

Amazon :)

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Keep writing and don't stop until you've reached your goal. It might be a hard and long process, but it's worth it. I think what helped me the most is writing the whole story down first. It took me a long time to work on it afterward, but having it out helped me to push forward. Don't let your self-doubts stop you. Don't get stuck in self-editing and perfecting - get feedback from others, get an editor involved. You can't do it all on your own.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Writing is a skill that gets better as you practice it. Anyone can develop it.

What are you reading now?

Before the Broken Star by Emily King.

What's next for you as a writer?

I have lots of plans. First, I will be working on a non-fiction companion journal for my novel, then I have a few children's books to finish and, of course, I will be writing the next book in a series. I also have a few ideas for short stories and novellas.

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?

Probably the books about surviving on a desert island :). But if it was an island with a five star all-inclusive resort, I would bring lots of books to read for fun and books about the craft of writing to study.

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