Hi Elliot!! It’s so nice to have you and a huge thanks for being willing to answer our questions! We are turning the questions over to Diane, who reviewed Rogue Wolf. Let’s get started!
First off, was there a specific inspiration for the Rogue Wolf story?
EC: Yes, definitely! My husband challenged me to write a story that included all of my favorite elements at that time: space pirates, werewolves, magic, and gay romance. The story I wrote for him ended up being the first chapter of Rogue Wolf.
What is your process for world building, particularly combining paranormal with science fiction?
EC: Sometimes I come up with a premise beforehand, sometimes I just make it up as I go. I write mostly by the seat of my pants. For Rogue Wolf in particular, I had to come up with a believable way to combine “magic” with a space opera setting. Kinetic powers particular to an alien species seemed the obvious route 🙂
Do you come up with the characters or do you get setting inspiration first?
EC: It depends on the story. Sometimes the characters come first, like with Junk Mage or Prince & Pirate. With Rogue Wolf the setting and characters sort of grew together out of the challenge I’d been given.
Rogue Wolf is left somewhat open ended, do you have plans or ideas about follow up books or do you like leaving the follow up to the readers?
EC: Usually I like to leave the follow up to the readers imagination. However, I do have loose plans to write several more stories in the Rogue Wolf universe – at least one of which would take place on the Cygnus but revolve around a different couple (two Fenrites this time). I’d started to write it years ago, but when I re-read it recently…let’s just say it was a very very rough draft lol! Another concept involved Trent’s ex finding his happy ever after following a run of hard luck. I hate to make promises though, because I know I’m a slow writer.
Do you base any of your characters on real people (people in your life) or primarily imagination (people you’d like to meet/know)?
EC: I tend to take characteristics from fictional characters that I like and meld them with characteristics of people I’ve known or my own traits. For me it’s easier to pluck a trait from a known character/person and build a new personality out of that versus coming up with someone from scratch.
You have written contemporary romance as well as spec fic, do you have a preference in genres? Does one genre flow better (aka write easier) than others?
EC: I don’t actually have a true contemporary out, since Hearts Alight does have supernatural elements to it, but my current WIP is 100% contemporary (though set in a fictional country). I definitely prefer paranormal/urban fantasy, especially with a dash or two of darkness. I feel like flow has a lot more to do with characters than genre for me. If there are strong voices, I can maintain the headspace of the characters better and for longer stretches, even with RL making me take breaks.
Have you had stories/characters where, once you have the initial idea, are very challenging to write? If yes, how do you deal with that or work around it?
EC: Yes, unfortunately. And normally those stories end up on the back burner or archived as a learning experience. There’s a story I’d like to pick back up again eventually that’s a historical fantasy set in mid 1800s America (sort of). I’ve tentatively titled it The Golden Gate. It involves some steampunk elements and a portal to another world. But the problem I have with it is the pacing. Normally my stories are very fast paced, there’s a lot of action, something’s always looming or about to go wrong. But in Golden Gate the narrator takes a slower approach, and the action unfolds slowly as he explores the frontier settlement on the other side of the portal, gets to know townsfolk, and eventually gets tangled up in the mysteries and politics the townsfolk are embroiled in. It was an ambitious project, and I think it’s something I just needed a creative break from until I grow some more as an author.
Do you have a favorite book/author that you go to for inspiration if you are struggling with a scene or character?
EC: No, I tend to daydream about my own story when I’m stuck, picking up different characters or plot elements, throwing around some what-ifs to try to stir up some solutions. Or else I talk to my spouse or a friend about what’s got me stuck. Sometimes they don’t even have to respond for me to figure out what to do or fix XD
What would you like readers to get from your books? What has been the biggest compliment you have received so far with your writing?
EC: I hope my readers are entertained and moved to feel something (a lot of somethings would be awesome!) 🙂 I had a reader send a very heartfelt letter about My Boyfriend’s Back and how realistic the characters’ varied emotions and reactions to Dax post-accident were and how much they appreciated it – I still think about it!
Do you have any books that you regret writing?
EC: Nothing published lol! I have written a couple stories that I realized were utter garbage before I finished them, thankfully.
Favorite paranormal – vampire, zombie or mage? Why?
EC: This is tough! Really I’d be most torn between shifters and zombies. But of the three listed, I’d pick zombies. I used to be a lot more into vampires, for many years. I think as a trans person I tend to gravitate towards transformation narratives and the struggle with that transformation. Sentient zombies have a lot to grapple with. Although depending on the lore, so do vamps. But I think zombies win for me because they’re usually grittier.
Describe yourself in three words.
EC: (Erg I’m bad at these. Um…) Creative. Learner. Pragmatic.
Short bio please!
Elliot Cooper writes speculative fiction featuring queer characters. His novels and novellas come with hopeful and happy endings, though his short fiction runs the gamut of styles and genres. He strives above all to make his readers feel, while also increasing positive representation of LGBTQ characters and their stories.