Ask the Author: Elena Douglas
“Ask me a question.” Elena Douglas
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Elena Douglas Inspiration does not come from my conscious mind. It cannot be forced. So I keep a notebook handy. I often wake up in the night with the solution to a knotty problem in the plot or a way to express a character's feelings—sometimes an entire scene! I force myself to turn on the light and jot down my ideas in my notebook.
Elena Douglas Currently I'm rewriting the first novel I ever wrote, "Forbidden Shore." It came very close to selling in 1981. I had an agent, and an editor for Berkley Books was interested. I even met with her, and she told me how enthusiastic she was about my book. However she ended up leaving Berkley Books before she could publish it. Standards and tastes have changed since then, and I am bringing it into the 21st century. The process has been very exciting and inspiring.
Elena Douglas Since I literally become immersed in the plot and the characters I have created, I have a rich inner fantasy world and can never be bored. Sometimes I feel I'm leading two lives, my actual day-to-day life and that of my characters: their problems, their agonies, their loves.
Elena Douglas With great difficulty! I am not a disciplined person, hence I can always find distractions. There are many more interesting things to do than stare at a blank page or screen. I once had writer's block for nine years, when I came upon a seemingly unsolvable problem with the plot of my second novel. This coincided with a very busy period of my life. Then one day when my life's problems had cleared up and I was taking a morning walk, inspiration came and I found the solution. I went back to writing with a frenzy and finished "Warrior's Prize."
Elena Douglas "Shadow of Athena" is based on an actual ritual that took place in Lokris for hundreds of years. A Greek warrior in the Trojan War, Ajax of Lokris, reputedly committed sacrilege in the temple Athena during the sack of Troy. After causing his death at sea on his voyage home, the goddess exacted retribution from the citizens of Lokris by demanding that two maidens be sent to serve as slaves in her temple in Troy every year for a thousand years. This annual ritual continued until 300 BC, well into recorded history. When I stumbled upon the ritual of the Lokrian maidens, it literally took my breath away, for it provided a direct link between legend and history. It was a story just begging to be told. I decided at once to tell the tale of one of those unfortunate maidens. Hence Marpessa came into being.