YA Author Interview - Writer Spotlight: Elaine Cho

Before I welcome today's writer in the spotlight, I'd like to thank all who commented, tweeted, posted on facebook, and blogged about the book giveaway for THE FAERIE RING, by Kiki Hamilton. Your support and interest in Kiki's book is so appreciated. I wish there could be more than one winner. I did open this internationally (there were some questions about that). 

The winner of THE FAERIE RING is............AEICHA!!!!! Congrats!!! Email me your address and I will get the book out to you today!!

There are more chances to win a copy of Kiki's book.
See the book blog tour lineup on her blog here.

On to the Writer Spotlight. This is where it all starts (well, after the many drafts are written and slaved over). Maybe in the near future I'll have the chance to give away a copy of the works the writers in my Writer Spotlight pitch here on Write Now : ) How cool would that be?!!!

Today I'm pleased to introduce Elaine Cho. Another amazing writer I connected with at the WriteOnCon conference. Welcome, Elaine!!

Elaine Cho

I have to say, Elaine's use of words in her opening took my breath away. I can't wait for you all to read the excerpt, but try not to skip ahead. 

Not only is Elaine a writer, but an accomplished flutist, as well as a photographer and a superhero : ) Seriously.

What manuscript do you have out on submission now? (genre, title, word count)

FADE is a YA Urban Fantasy novel at 100,000 words.  It’s set in a world where people believe magic is a poison that takes over your soul.  Morality, any love that you held, and your previous beliefs are all inexorably overtaken.

Give us the three to four sentence pitch.

As the daughter of the Anti-Magic Regime leader, Rinoa Calister has never had reason to question her secluded life or the fear of magic that dictates the present society.

Until the day she becomes a sorceress. 

Rinoa is set up for an execution by her father and there she is rescued by an organization composed of the very people she was taught to revile. She is then forced to decide her allegiances as she becomes the cornerstone to both her father’s campaign and the resistance against him. Her decision will help annihilate magic, or crumble the belief system the world stands on.

Oops, that was five sentences.  I hope that’s okay!

: ) Rinoa has a lot on her plate from word one. Nice!!

Would you care to share the opening line or paragraph?

Rinoa often felt that her secrets were what illuminated the moon. Sometimes it was full, brimming over with her unspoken words. Sometimes it was the sliver of a mysterious smile before disappearing into darkness.

The moon would creep with Rinoa from her room at night. Every forbidden step made in the mansion’s darkness yearned to shout of its clandestine nature, but the moon kept its peace.

When there were social events at her mansion, the moon was the only one that saw Rinoa. The moon glowed through the curtain while the sound of talk and string quartets seeped into the pores of her bedroom prison.   Sometimes Rinoa curled up on the ground, her cheek against the wood, so the music throbbed in her bones.

The moon knew what nightmares made her flail at her blankets. It knew why Rinoa snatched the knife from under her mattress to slash away at her sheets even while her eyes were still closed.

And perhaps it understood better than Rinoa did what was going through her mind when she stood before a mirror at night, confronted with a reflection that was more a hologram than a physical figure. It was always a ghostly image, blending into the shadows even as she considered herself. She could reach forward and erase herself with a wipe of a finger, if she dared.

Wow!! Beautiful use of words!! You really hooked me, the tone, the mood, the visuals. Amazing!!

What is your least and most favorite word? Use each in a sentence, writing in the voice of one of your characters from any of your manuscripts.

Oh...this is such a tough question.

I guess for favorite word...I’d have to say rain and...cavort.  Rain because even though I live in California now, I’m definitely a Pacific Northwest, gloomy rain kind of girl.  And cavort because it’s so fun and I wish I could use it more often!

The smell of the rain filled Chase with a sense that was a small part euphoria, but mostly an inexplicable nostalgia.

“It’s really very simple.”  Jem said seriously.  “Either you want to cavort with a fellow under the moonlight, or you don’t.”

As far as least favorite word...It’s going to have to be “look”...Only because as I edit my manuscripts more, I’m finding I use that word too much.  Way too much.  I find instances of:  “he looked as if he...” or “he looked like...” or “she shot him a look” (what kind of look???).  And I’ve used it for lazy fillers between dialogue.  “He looked up.  She looked down.  They looked away.”  Sigh.

I can relate : )

What are you working on while you wait?

I’ve been editing/critiquing a lot of other works by people I met at the fantastic WriteOnCon conference!  It’s always awesome to be reading what others are up to, and it gives me insight on my writing as well. 

I agree, I learn so much when I critique. It's always easier to see what works and what doesn't when reading a wip. And I'm always amazed how different readers can give me such different and helpful tips/comments when reading my wip.  

Other than writing though, I’m making music!  I’m in the midst of obtaining my MFA for Flute Performance in California right now.

Wow (again), multi-talented!! Best of luck.

What book have you read in the past six mo that’s inspired you and why? 

My younger sister recommended Divergent by Veronica Roth to me.  Fantastic.  An addicting read and I became upset when I was interrupted while in the middle of it.  And who doesn’t love a kick-ass protagonist?  It made me ask myself:  How do I write something as engaging as this??  (Am I allowed to say kick-ass?)

LOL : ) Yes, ass-kicking, always makes a good read.

I also recently reread Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.  It’s a book of incredible contrasts -- so beautiful and yet so heart-wrenching.  You war between loving and despising the characters...I think because they speak your own insecurities.  It’s great also because Yates is amazing at defining the characters through their thoughts and actions.  As a writer, I’m always struggling with that show vs. tell aspect!  I’m a bit of a control-freak writer.

I haven’t read the second, I’ll have to put it on my TRL.

Do you have (if you were a teen, or had when you were a teen) a literary-character crush?

I guess I had a thing for Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables.  I have a friend that still refers to my future husband as “your Gilbert”!  I see though from your previous writer interviews, that he’s quite popular.  ; )

Hahaha, yes, he is the popular one.

I honestly fall in love very easily with literary characters, but at the same time I don’t think I’d want to date most of them.  I think the best written relationships are the ones where you fall so hard for the guy, but you can’t imagine him with anyone else but the main girl.  There was a book I read once that had a guy character I loved to pieces...And I was so upset at the end when his love for the main character went unrequited.  Ah why!  I must be a closet romantic.

Good point. I hadn’t thought of it that way. You’re right. Who could imagine Edward with anyone else but Bella? Alone they aren’t as interesting as they are together. Er, okay, so maybe Edward is still interesting on his own, but, I do enjoy watching him struggle with his inability to hear Bella’s thoughts.

Any random fun-facts you’d like to share about yourself?

Ever since I read an article on photographer Yowayowa I’ve been inspired to learn levitation!

Actually, it’s a matter of mastering the self-timer on your camera.  It’s difficult to get the right shot to make it appear as if you’re actually floating in air rather than caught in mid-jump!  And if there are people around while I’m running back and forth from the camera to set it up and jumping up and down in front of it, I get very strange looks (understandably so).  One time, a passerby asked me if I was exercising!

LOL, that's awesome!! My ten year old son does an amazing levitation illusion trick that he learned how to do on You Tube (that involves cutting a giant hole in a pair of good jeans, ahem). He loved your pictures, btw ; )

My friends also think I’m borderline narcoleptic.  I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, and in any position.  I’ve fallen asleep in an orchestra performance, while standing up, in the trunk of a car, and while riding a rickshaw.  When people ask me why I’m so tired all the time, I tell them it’s because I become a superhero at night.  : )

Hahahaha, love that excuse. I do remember Spiderman having that same problem.

Thank you so much for this opportunity, Paula!  And good luck to you and your manuscript as well.

Thanks, Elaine. It’s been so much fun learning more about you and all your creative achievements. Best of luck finding a home for FADE and keep us posted!! Be sure to visit Elaine's webpage.


  1. Thank you so much, Paula! This interview was such a fun experience! And I'm glad your son enjoyed my levitation photos! Haha. Best of luck to you as well!!


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  3. I love Elaine! Haha those excerpts are just amazing. Seriously. Great interview!!

  4. Wow, Ms Cho seems like a powerhouse multi-talented superhero indeed!Thanks so much for introducing us to her and I look forward to reading more of her work!

  5. great interview! I liked the excerpt "..the moon was the only one that saw Rinoa." I guess I forgot that line. And "Yes, ass-kicking, always makes a good read." Haha.

  6. Fingers crossed for Elaine! Loved learning more about you and your books- FADE sounds like a fantastic read!

  7. Such a fun interview! I LOVE that picture of you levitating Elaine! And as someone from the Pacific NW where it is raining NOW - it is more fun to cavort in the SUN!

    Good luck with FADE - it sounds very intriguing - and thanks, as always, for a great interview, Paula!


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