Conducting author interviews was not part of her plan, but one day when she was perusing a writing publication she came across an announcement about an upcoming workshop in which author interviews would be the focus. Motivated by her long-term love of fiction, her ever-expanding love of writing, and her quest for authorial knowledge, she decided to take the workshop. Initially she interviewed Paul Lisicky and Jill McCorkle, writers with whom she had already studied. After these interviews were accepted by a prestigious art magazine and literary journal, she interviewed other writers with whom she had studied: Ron Carlson and Margot Livesey. Ellis then started reaching out to authors she had never met before: Edward P. Jones, Julia Glass, Steve Almond, Amy Bloom, Chris Abani, to name a few. And the amazing thing was that the majority of authors she approached agreed to be interviewed. After she realized she had nearly enough interviews for an anthology the concept of Illuminating Fiction was born.
The interviews contained in Illuminating Fiction include unique questions drawn from the text of the authors’ work, questions about narrative voice, character, place, point of view, plot, revision, questions about the arc of the story/novel, questions about writing process, questions about the trajectory of the writer’s career, and questions about the role and importance of writing courses and mentoring. Interviewed authors also provided their opinions of quotes about writing and creativity by other authors and artists, and they respond to questions about the challenges they face in developing their craft. The reader is thereby able to gain an intimate and specific understanding of the writer’s words and craft, and what was going on in the author’s mind as they created their novels, short stories, and poems.