Thursday, October 16, 2014

BLOG TAKEOVER with Danielle Ellison

Follow Me Through This Takeover with Danielle Ellison:

Five Things That Led Me Here (Part 2) 

Danielle Ellison here with another blog takeover! To celebrate the release of my book Follow Me Through Darkness—which comes out on October 21! (eek!)— I am taking over fantastic book blogs twice a week to share stories and PRIZES! Thanks to the amazing Jen for letting me steal her blog today!Today, I’m going to share five things that lead me here—or part of them anyway. The first part is over Reading With ABC.
“Here” being pre-release on my book baby. “Here” being an author. “Here” being this blog. “Here” being (literally) my couch in Virginia.

3.      My roommates.

I’m a hard person to live with. I mean, I’m a writer. Most of us are hard to live with in general because we are crazypants. I’m relatively laid back, I think, but I have my quirks, which provide copious amounts of entertainment. My roommates, at various times in my life, have really all worked toward me coming here.

Lauren was only my roommate for one year of college, but she’s the one who told me to stop crying and take a writing class so she’s on my list forever just for that.

Then I had Bridget. She was there when I said, “I want to write a book.” She watched me scribble in notepads and even read things from that very first-in-a-closet-now book. She’s the one who bought me Scrivener for my birthday because I loved the trial so much and thought I should have it. She listened, brainstormed, gave feedback. She never questioned me when I fell into  a YA hole, or ran away to hide in my fictional world, and she generally stayed excited about everything I did. People like that? They are the only way you make it through.

Derrick, Josh and Nathan were next—and if you’ve read Salt’s acknowledgments then you’ve heard the story about how Josh opened my eyes to Supernatural, Derrick was always there to brainstorm and Nathan kept me smiling. But they did so much more than that. They kept me going, made me write, rewarded me, talked me out of corners, celebrated victories and made everything awesome.

Most recently, I also have Ashley—who has been my friend since high school theater classes. None of my roommates have had to deal with crazy like she has, and for some reason she stays.
What’s the point of this list?  

Other people. They are what brought me here, because without them I’d never even have tried, or I would’ve given up. The people you surround yourself with matter.

To everyone on this list, and everyone not (you know who you are) thank you for living with me, for supporting me, and for dealing with the crazy. You led me here.

4.    My (obsessive) love of television

I love TV. Like. I love it. Summer is the saddest time of my life every year—literally. I get really depressed in summer—and that’s because I’m a TV addict. I’m obsessed with it. Even as a kid, I loved television. (Snick! TGIF! Soap operas with my mom! Power Ranges! I watched it all.)

Watching as much TV as I do (and if you follow me on twitter then you know how bad it is!) has to have a positive. I believe you can learn a lot about writing from television.

Characters, dialogue, plot, writing, cliques, trends—all of these things are in television shows. I get a lot of comments that my books are conversational, and that’s because characters a driving force for me. As someone who started writing plays, I know the importance of dialogue—and as someone obsessed with television, I understand the other elements of story telling.

When I started writing plays, I actually did so because I wanted to work in movies. I wanted to write screenplays and direct. That’s the reason I took a theater class and had Cheryl as my teacher…but little did I know how everything would turn out.

So thank you, television, for leading me here.

5.  Stubbornness. (Or passion, depending on your rose-colored glasses.)

 This is the number one reason I’m here. I’m stubborn. I’m also passionate, which is a deadly combination when you put them together. Tell me not to do something, tell me I can’t do something, and I will do everything in my power to prove you wrong. (Wow, now I know where Neely gets it from.)

As a kid I got a lot of this. I grew up with a really large fmily in a really small area—everyone was always in each other’s business. I was a girl, I was chubby, I liked television and reading and pretending, and not doing anything else that everyone in my family did. I was the oddball—and boy did I feel that my whole life. I used to want to be a country singer, but everyone said I couldn’t. To their benefit I’m not a great singer so that’s valid, but as a kid I was determined to be that! I was told “no” a lot. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough, like what I wanted would never be mine, that I’d always be on the outside of life looking in.

Family is not supposed to make you feel that way, but mine did. I hated them all for that. They were never very supportive of me. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind I set out to do something amazing so they would be wrong. To show them—to show myself—that I could be more and do more and I could.

Pharrell said something on the Voice the other day that’s really stuck with me: No doesn’t mean quit. That’s what I did with writing. That’s what I try to do in everything, but sometimes I fail. 

To anyone pursing something their passionate about, no doesn’t mean quit. No means try harder. Try again. Try better. You have to let your stubbornness to settle for the “no” and your passion for the thing you love drive you. If you do, you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be. 

I wanted to be a country singer. I wanted to write and direct movies. I don’t do either of those things—but I do the thing I love. I write books. Some people love them, some people don’t. Some people get it, some don’t. Some support me, some don’t. Some want me to succeed, some don’t. This is life. But at the end of the day, I will do what I want to do. I will work as hard as I can to end up where I want to be.

So thanks, stubbornness and passion, for driving me here—to this moment, only days before my book comes out. Please continue to drive me to the next release and the next and the next.

~ About the Book ~

The truth won't always set you free.

Less than a year ago, Neely Ambrose’s biggest worry was having the freedom to follow a path that wasn't chosen for her.

Less than a year ago, she believed she could trust the Elders who said they had everyone’s best interest at heart and who said they were keeping them safe from the outside.

Sixty days ago, she discovered what they had planned for everyone she loved—and that all of it centered around her.

Now she’s on the run through a dangerous wasteland full of killing machines, secret organizations, and people who want to sell her back to the Elders for their own safety. The whole world outside the Compound is living proof that everything in Neely’s life was a lie manufactured by the Elders, which may even include the boy she loves.

All Neely wants is the truth, but each new piece of it drives her further from what she thought she knew. With only forty days until everyone she loves falls under the Elders’ mind control, Neely must decipher who to trust, what questions to ask, and how to get one step ahead of the Elders, who will do anything to keep their secrets buried.

~ About the Author ~

Danielle Ellison spent of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It's probably the reason she can't divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It's also probably the reason she's had so many different zip codes and jobs.
When she’s not writing, Danielle is usually drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. Danielle is also the author of SALT and STORM, a series about a snarky witch without magic. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites. 

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