Please welcome my special guest, YA fantasy author Brandon Ellis, whose new book, The PureLights of Ohm Totem, has already garnered some rave reviews. He’s here today to talk about his book and the inspiration behind it, among other things.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Ellis was declared an All State Baseball and All League Basketball player before he obtained his Therapeutic Massage License and became one of the most successful Sports Massage Therapists and teachers in the City of Portland. He’s now creating imaginative worlds of inspiration and art through his books. Visit his website.
About the Book
Zoey and Coda are like everyone else in their small town of Gladstone, but that’s about to change – forever.
Zoey has a dream, one that feels far more real than it should. A strange wolf with a beautiful violet crystal embedded in his forehead visits her. “Please help us,” the wolf implores. “Remember, Zoey, who you truly are.” Zoey wakes up, dismissing it as a silly dream. However, she soon realizes that it was far more real than she could have ever imagined.
Coda is Zoey’s older brother. Like many boys his age, he has a craving for adventure and a loathing for his younger sister. He can’t stand it that she constantly gets in his way, joining in on all his fun and ruining it during the process. And the worst, according to Coda, is that Zoey gets all of the attention from their parents. A big drag in his mind.
Then destiny arrives, one that Zoey and Coda must face together – if they want to survive.
Together, they journey to a place deep in the Cornell Forest, through a secret portal that leads them to an ancient world called Ohm Totem – to the place of the PureLights, the race beckoning for their help.
Caught between an age old war and finding their way back home, Zoey and Coda go on an amazing adventure, taking them beyond the veils, beyond everything they once knew and into the grasp of the unknown.
Watch the trailer.
Thanks for this interview, Brandon! Tell us about your inspiration for The PureLights of Ohm Totem.
That’s a long story, but I’ll make is short. My inspiration was an image in my mind that turned into an entire book series in a matter of seconds. I saw it all play out in my mind. I know, I know. That probably doesn’t make sense, so here goes my short version of how this book started.
It had been a long 10 hour work day. I’d just gotten home from work, dropped my keys off on the counter, then walked down the hallway toward my room. I was just entering my room, carrying my laptop, when I abruptly stopped. There, in my mind, came a single image—a tree in the darkness with snow all around. However, the snow wasn’t from clouds dropping flakes from above. It was from the tree itself, sprinkling snow from its branches and onto the ground. Then, like a movie, an entire story took place in my mind. I saw characters, action scenes, dialogue, and many other things. I quickly wrote down a synopsis of what I could remember, telling myself I’d get to it as soon as possible. When two years went by and I barely had anything, that’s when I started dreaming of the book. I saw ancient and sacred scrolls, more characters, more scenes, etc. I then wrote and wrote and wrote.
As I wrote, I had the help from a friend, one that didn’t know she was helping me. This friend of mine—a very dear and close friend—had a Near Death Experience (an NDE). That’s when someone dies, goes up a tunnel, meets angels/guides, has a conversation, then comes back down into their body. Well, she had one of the longest and most detailed accounts of an NDE ever recorded. So, with all the years I’ve known and been around her, she planted seeds in my mind full of wisdom and insights—things she learned from her NDE. I, in turn, planted those seeds in the books as well, hoping to give those same words of wisdom to the rest of the world, just as she has done throughout her life.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
It took a year and a half. In no way did I think it would take that long, but I have three kids, two jobs, and a loving partner. So, I had to find a way to write when I’m not parenting or working.
How would you describe your working environment?
I’m writing on an oversized desk given to me for free, in a small office, with a guest bed behind me. Also, I have my 2 year old on my lap wanting me to stop writing and put on some kitten video’s on youtube.
Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?
I thought that I would write non-stop, but something would nag at me during the writing process, like, “Go back and edit that last chapter!” You know, those kind of nags. Still, even though I edited, my real editors found more issues than I ever expected. Then, they made me fix them, helping me create a well polished book.
They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?
I haven’t had a negative review, YET! And I capitalize “yet” because it’s coming, some day. I knock on wood though, hoping it won’t show up. If it does show up, giving me a one or two star on the five star rating system, then I think my stomach would churn and churn. I wouldn’t stop thinking about it for days, thinking, what did I do wrong???
When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?
A night owl and early bird! Whenever I can, man! Whenever I can.
What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one? Do you think the wrong critique group can ‘crush’ a fledgling writer?
Critique groups are awesome. They help out more than you know. It’s so important that I had a lot in my critique group, helping me along, making my book better and better. I’ve not experienced anyone ‘crushing’ my efforts, though it almost happened, until they kept reading, then they couldn’t put it down.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Sing your song and write from your heart.
Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work?
Yes, I’ll send a free e-book in kindle (mobi), epub, or pdf to the first fifty people who agree to read my book and post a review on Amazon before July 27th, 2013. Just go to www.thepurelights.com, click on CONTACT, and send me an email if you’re interested.
Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!