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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Meet Author Cecelia Earl

Please welcome my first guest of 2017, Cecelia Earl.

Thank you so much for having me here today, Diane!<3 o:p="">

Glad you're here, Cecelia. Please tell us about yourself.

I credit my passion for penning fiction to a mandatory sixth grade study hall. I could have gotten my math done, but instead chose to write a teen mystery series, loosely inspired by Sweet Valley High, Trixie Beldon, and Nancy Drew--my favorite series at the time. I never shared the stories with anyone, and time moved on. Sadly, I had no more mandatory study halls during which to write. It wasn’t until I had three children, worked full-time as a teacher, and kept a home relatively tidy that I realized my passion for writing wasn’t something I had to give up with childhood and the end of study halls. Four years and five novels later, I wrote the first book in the Kingdom Come trilogy. 

I live with my husband, three sons, and male dog near enough to Green Bay, WI that my refrigerator is always stocked with cheese, and the first colors my children learned were green and gold. (I happily spend time with my female characters whenever the testosterone levels get too high in the house.) 

I can usually be found snuggling my kids, reading on the couch, drinking strong coffee, or sipping from a glass of Malbec. Once in a while I vacuum.

Where can readers find you?

Newsletter (for giveaways, updates, exclusive content, etc) http://eepurl.com/cdvvIj

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?

I used to start with the character(s), but that usually led to my books being completely character-driven with little plot. Now, there’s nothing wrong with character-driven stories, and my contemporary realistic manuscripts still are, but I realized that I still needed a better story, and I wasn’t getting there without outlining my plot points ahead of drafting. This led to loads of time being spent on revisions.

 In order to be more productive and make better use of my writing time, I researched various plotting and outlining techniques. I used Christine Frazier’s Better Novel Project Master Outline (link: http://www.betternovelproject.com/blog/master-outline/) before the first draft of When Ash Rains Down, but I still needed more revisions than I’d hoped for, and then I discovered Libbie Hawker’s book Take Off Your Pants. After reading it, I reshaped the book’s plot and am using her outlining suggestions for the next two books in the series.

I tend to research as I go, whenever I come across something I need to understand more carefully, either while drafting or revising.

What did you learn from writing your first book?

For my first “novel”, I penned a 120,000 word manuscript about a girl who could see auras and who traveled through portals to another dimension and met a boy named Phin. I don’t remember anything about that character other than his name… And I did everything, everything wrong. The novel opened with the main character waking up. Then she looked in the bathroom mirror to describer herself. I prided myself on using every dialogue tag I’d ever heard of. I loved adverbs, thought they were God’s gift to writers. I wrote passive sentences and so much purple prose. Sososo much. I wrote a two-page query, shrunk the text, sent it to my top five agents. Rejected. Surprised? I posted the manuscript online through writing critique forums. Both the query and the novel were red-lined. So. Much. Red. I rewrote the beginning chapters fifty-six-ish times. I never did nail down a query for that one (remember my plotting issues?) before I shoved it in a drawer for the rest of eternity.
How many hours a day to you spend writing?

I have three kids, ages 10, 8, and 5, and I work full time, so I write once they’re all fed and their homework is done and when we’re not at baseball (We play indoor baseball in the winters in Wisconsin, so it never ends!) and when the laundry and cleaning are done…so basically on the days I get up at 5 or 5:30 and the nights I can keep my eyes open until 11 or 12. So, anywhere between 1-2 hours, if I’m not using those hours to work on other book-related activities, like promotion, or to critique work for other writers.

Are your stories driven by plot or character?

Well, I guess I basically answered this before, but I’ll say again that they’re more character-driven. My stories begin, are driven forward, and end with my emotion toward, or rather the emotion I feel inside, my characters. I spend a lot of time contemplating my character’s arc and the theme of the novels. I try to incorporate these aspects in each scene of the novel.

How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?

I have some work to do in this area. I’m a huge procrastinator and work best under pressure, when there’s a deadline looming. Unfortunately, this means often times I’m pulling an all-nighter the night before a deadline rather than having used the two months prior to evenly space the work out. Maybe setting and sticking to a schedule should be a 2017 resolution… The biggest things to fall through the cracks after I started writing (since work and family are still a priority over writing) are my running and working out. The one way I try to balance this, and it works out really well, is that I get my best ideas for scenes and dialogues while running. So, when I’m feeling burnt out while sitting in front of my laptop, if I hit the pavement or treadmill, I take care of my health, fitness, and writer’s block issues all at the same time. The struggle is that I no longer run before work, so that’s writing time over coffee, and my kids are still too little for me to leave home alone. It’s hard to find that time to get to the gym… And I find little motivation to head there after they’re in bed at night. Guess I’ve found another 2017 resolution.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

Since my novels are character- and theme-driven, I hope they’ll be inspired to apply some aspect of my character’s growth or some underlying message to the struggles and challenges and issues they face in their own lives. I also hope they’ll enjoy some aspect of my writing style and voice, maybe find a quote or two that they reread two or three times or read out loud or bookmark or share.

What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?

Maggie Stiefvater and Kiersten White and Chelsea Fine and Rachel Morgan (Sorry, that’s four! I teach first grade. I promise I really can read, follow directions, and count 1, 2….)

Tell us about your latest release.

When Ash Rains Down is a paranormal novel for young adults. Since contemporary realistic is my go-to genre, it’s heavy on the contemporary realism with a splash of paranormal that turns into a bit of a tidal wave. The fantasy aspects of angels and demons is the main focus of the plot, obviously, but my main character is well-embedded in a normal contemporary world and is initially concerned with everyday issues concerning school, romance, family, and friends… you know, until her world is turned upside down and angels and demons begin to battle for souls and she, in turn, has to pick up her sword and fight back.

Book Blurb:

When Ash Rains Down is a paranormal novel for young adults.

The final battle between Heaven and Hell has begun and the devil has his sights set on claiming a human-angel hybrid, eighteen-year-old Julia White, to use as a pawn to destroy Heaven and Earth. 

Julia’s disbelief at the news that she’s being hunted by demons doesn’t stop her guardian angels from wanting her to fight on their side. Will it be too late to protect her family and friends from soul-siphoning demons by the time Julia believes that she needs to trade in her homecoming crown for a sword and a pair of angel wings? And will she accept her fate to become an undercover angel?

When Ash Rains Down is the first book in debut author Cecelia Earl's Kingdom Come series.

Book Excerpt:

This scene takes place in what Julia thinks is a forest, but is truly a training ground for warrior angels. After demons infiltrate it, and a battle breaks out, Nicholas tries to explain everything to Julia, who before this thought the world existed without angels and demons….

“So, Julia. This is about angels and demons. Those,” he points to the monsters, “are demons. The devil’s army. The final battles leading to the final war between Heaven and Hell has begun, and it’s trickled down from every dimension into your little town, because the devil has set his sights on you.”
He touches my cheek again, and I see he is like the warriors on the battlefield. He wears a golden aura and stark white wings behind him. A wave of tingles replaces all the pressure and nothingness in my back. He flicks something behind me, and I glance over my shoulder to see—
A pair of wings fly out from my back, not heavy, though I’d expect to fall backward from the weight of them, as they are attached…to my back.
There are wings attached to my back.
I spin around, trying to see them, but they move with me and stay behind me. I can feel them there, a part of me.
I reach over my shoulder to feel them and shriek, “Nicholas!”
A fiery sword is suddenly in my hand, blazing white and peridot, like the stone around my neck, which is warm and flashing on its own. A fierce blast of cold and hot washes over me, and I shriek again. I jolt back and drop the sword, my eyes flying to Nicholas’, needing an explanation, needing to wake up in my bed at home, needing something other than whatever is happening to me right now.
“I… I have wings.”
“Of course you do.” He stoops to pick up my sword. Holds it out for me to take. “You’re an angel.”

Buy Links:
Amazon Paperback $8.99

Amazon e-book 99 cents

Createspace (Paperback) $8.99



  1. Oooooo...the book sounds amazing and I love this cover!!!

  2. I enjoyed the interview. Good luck with the book- it sounds great!

  3. Great interview!
    Beautiful cover.
    Good luck and God's blessings

    1. Thank you! God's blessings to you also! Cecelia

  4. Fascinating premise! And, I so enjoyed the interview. I can completely relate to the first novel blues. :) I LOVE the Packers, so the green and gold really got my attention, LOL. I don't see how you get any writing done with a full-time job and three little kids at home. I work full-time (and edit, and this and that), but no small children. Although, my thirty-year-old is living with me, and sometimes it's like living with a toddler! LOL.Best wishes.

    1. Thank you, Alicia! Go Pack! Hoping for a win on Sunday!! Well, the writing time has taken a hit lately, which is unfortunate... Book Two's deadline is going to come up quickly! Ha, sometimes I think the same thing about my 37-year-old husband... <3 Cecelia

  5. Diane, sorry it took me so long to get here today! Thanks again for having me. I really appreciate you taking time to share this with other readers and writers. It was my first interview, and it was fun to do! :) <3 Cecelia

    1. So glad you enjoyed the interview. It was a pleasure having you here. I'm going to have to protest you & Alicia's loyalties to the Packers. I'm a Lions fan. LOL

    2. Ha! Well...enjoy the game on Sunday! Hope the Lions beat the SeaHawks!


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