Elena Paige is a children's and teen author with a background in counselling psychology. She loves creating stories that inspire and transform young readers - either through empowering them, entertaining them, or encouraging them to be more creative and imaginative.
Her books, while being filled with magic and wonder, have real life characters with real life issues - like fitting in, trusting yourself, dealing with inner conflict and more!
Her greatest value in life is CREATIVITY - nurturing it, enhancing it and using it! She loves encouraging children to believe in themselves and accept their own way of creating, even if it's outside the box. The most amazing creatives of our time rarely fitted in!
Her absolute favorite book as a child was "No Flying in the House." She always knew magic was real, but when all attempts to bring her favorite teddy to life failed, she adopted a dog instead. Her Moodle dog, named Lucky, is always by her side when she writes.
On Sunday mornings you can find her hiding under her bed covers reading, while her children are wondering where their favorite book has disappeared.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH ELENA PAIGE:
Joining LitPick today for an author interview is Elena Paige, prolific author of middle-grade fantasy books. Her latest book, The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane, has recently been reviewed by LitPick book reviewers. It has received both the Five-Star and Top Choice Book Review Awards.
One student said, “The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane reminded me of Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella.”
Another said, “The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane is a beautifully written book. Whenever I picked up the book, I was immediately drawn into it and felt like I was part of the story.”
Be sure to pick up your copy today and get drawn into the wonderful world created by Elena Paige.
***How many books have you written?
The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane is my 19th Children’s book. One more and I hit 20. Hooray!
***Many of your books have a fantasy element. What do you like most about that genre?
Fantasy make things that are impossible, possible. I think I like it so much because it’s a little bit of an escape from mundane ordinary life. But also, I like it because anything can happen. Once there is magic, anything and everything is possible. It breaks down all barriers and creates even more complex choices for people. Plus, I do secretly want to live my whole life believing magic is real!
***How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies. I can write some very quickly. I wrote my chapter book Evie Everyday Witch (Secret Magic) in fifteen days. I hoped to write The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane in one month, but it ended up taking five months. That’s the longest it’s ever taken me to write a book, but I must admit I think it turned out better because of the extra time I took. Also, books that are first in the series often take longer as I’m meeting and exploring characters and plot for the first time.
***Do you have a favorite character you’ve created?
I confess the magical talking creatures in The Splendid Secrets of 66 Lilly Pilly Lane are definitely my favorite, and I am slightly partial to Jeremy, the hot pink fox.
***Which is more challenging – writing the first book in a series or the subsequent books?
I find writing the first book in the series is more fun but harder to write. More fun because no one has read it yet and I can do what I like. Plus, I’m discovering the story for the first time myself. But harder to write because it’s all new and I’m often not sure where the story is going. Having said that, as a discovery writer or pantser, I make up each book as I go – I don’t plot them. So every book is challenging in its own way because of that. I don’t know what’s going to happen in book 2 or 3 of any series any more than anyone else does, until I start writing them.
***Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Writing definitely gets easier and easier with every book. Like everything else, practise is the key to improving. So if you love writing, keep going!
Elena, thanks for joining us for another wonderful interview. It’s always fun getting to know more about you and learning how you approach each new project you write. We can't wait to hear about what you're working on next.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH ELENA PAIGE:
Joining LitPick for an author interview today is Elena Paige, author of middle grade and young adult books that have wonderful elements of magic and fantasy.
Secret Magic: Evie Everyday Witch, the first book of her newest series, has just been released this summer, and it has received the LitPick Top Choice Book Review Award.
One student reviewer shares an important message found within the pages of this book: “Secret Magic will especially appeal to fantasy lovers ages 10 and under but teaches an important lesson that applies to everyone: never try to change yourself for the sake of being like everybody else, because you are the only you in the whole world.” (https://litpick.com/review/secret-magic-evie-everyday-witch-book-1-review-hawkreader10).
***When writing your first draft, do you like to write by hand or on the computer?
I write on the computer but always have a notebook on hand to scribble out ideas.
***What was your favorite childhood book?
Many favorites amongst my most memorable No Flying in the House, The Hobbit, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and all things Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl.
***What is the most exciting part about being an author?
First, bringing a story that didn’t exist before to life! I like watching something I made up come to life. That’s super cool for me. Second, hearing from readers and getting their feedback and ideas for future works!
***What is the most challenging part about being an author?
Bringing an idea that starts in my mind to life cohesively into a story that flows and makes sense. It’s a lot harder than it seems to get all the parts of the story to work together. Thank goodness for editors!
***What are three writing tips you've found beneficial?
1. Let my imagination run free and don’t stop at the first idea. Push and push for new ideas that didn’t initially come!
2. Make it really hard for the main character in the story. Make them work for the ending and help them transform as a person!
3. Be okay with all that I create. No one was born great. It takes time and practise. I love all the stories I create, no matter how “good” or “bad” they are. Getting good is about creating lots of stuff. The key is to push my creativity more and more each time and honor each project as beautiful in and of itself.
***What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love watching movies and TV. I love reading. I do martial arts. I walk my dog daily. I play with my kids. And I love meeting new people and hanging out with friends!
Elena, thank you for joining LitPick for an author interview. We love the writing tips you shared, and we are sure they will benefit our readers who have dreams of becoming authors one day. We look forward to hearing about your next masterpiece.
EXTRA CREDIT INTERVIEW WITH ELENA PAIGE:
Joining LitPick for an Extra Credit Interview is Elena Paige, author of magical books for children and teens. Her latest book, The Greatest Magician, has received the LitPick Top Choice Book Review Award, and this is what one student had to say about the book:
“The Greatest Magician by Elena Paige is an adventure-filled, fast-paced read.”
Be sure to check out the animated review of The Greatest Magician (https://youtu.be/Rrrs3fbMuY4).
***Do you have a solid outline before writing, or do you usually get ideas as you go along?
I write a really rough outline and then begin writing. As I write pretty much everything changes from my original plan. So I mostly write as I go along but every few chapters check story structure principles so that my story stays on track in terms of conventions.
***Has someone you’ve known ever appeared as a character in a book (consciously or subconsciously)?
People I know constantly appear in all of my books. I’ll change names, of course. Or sometimes people I know end up in my stories as their names, but their characters will be different.
***What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Mostly I do something else, like take a walk or watch Netflix. Or work on my website. Things that aren’t related. I also talk about my problem with my kids, and they sometimes give me a solution. Generally, I need some time away from the writing for new ideas to begin to generate.
***If you could live in a book’s world, which would you choose?
It’s a boring and predictable answer, but I’d have to say either Harry Potter’s amazing wizarding world or Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree period. Both are filled with so much magic and wonder.
***What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Little Women. I loved the book and loved the movie equally well. It wasn’t ruined or changed too much. I like the book to match the movie, and this book and movie captured the characters so well.
***If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive), who would it be?
It would have to be Beatrix Potter, who was self-published originally. She is an inspiration to have pursued her dream of being published at a time when it wasn’t done, and especially not by women.
***You have a passion for creativity. What advice do you have for others to foster the creativity within themselves?
Your imagination is the key. Let it roam and allow ALL your ideas, no matter how silly, to come to you. Write them down. Play with them. Mould them and see what emerges. But also, creativity requires action. Always finish what you start, no matter how good or bad you think it will be. It’s important for continued creativity to finish every project. Push through when you feel stuck, but always finish.
Elena, thank you very much for your wonderful advice about fostering creativity! We look forward to finding out more about your next project.
SIX MINUTES WITH ELENA PAIGE:
Joining LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author today is Elena Paige, author of The Magicians Convention. Keep an eye out for other books in this series to be released later this year. Be sure to check out the two five-star reviews written by our LitPick student reviewers.
***How did you get started writing?
I started writing children’s books completely by accident. I am originally a psychology counselor and I love the study of alternative health. I wrote and recorded several adult meditation CDs for good health. So I decided one day it would be cool to write some meditations for kids. But I wanted them to be more fun than calming. My own kids had listened to calming bedtime meditations but found them boring–especially once they started school. So I wrote six meditations for them and recorded them on CD.
That was in 2010 when CDs were still a thing. I made them fun and adventurous and designed them to make bedtime inviting. The results for my own children were so good that I decided to share it with other kids – not only did they run for bed, but their concentration improved and they began to think and feel more positively. When the CD started to sell successfully, I thought it would be a cool idea to turn it into a book. Hence, I started a learning curve and a passion for book writing and publishing in July 2016.
I have since published seven books in the Meditation Adventures for Kids series and have published two other series for kids aged 4-9 years of age (Lolli’s Happy Heart Rhymes, and Taki and Toula Time Travelers). In May 2018, I released my first middle grade book: The Magicians Convention. So I’m slowly but surely learning how to write for kids, and loving every step in the process. My books are all fantasy and wonder books–with underlying themes of inspiration, emotion, and inner transformation. But ultimately, my aim is to ignite the imaginations of children and get them reading.
***Who influenced you?
When I was fourteen, I had one of those amazing English teachers we read about in books – she encouraged me to write. And believed in me. So I believed everything she said. But one day she said to me, “You’re the second best writer in the class.” I replied, “Who is the best?” It was a girl named Danielle. Her writing was far better than mine, I had to admit – she used big words and I was (and still am) a rather plain and simple writer. When my teacher told me that, I thought, “I’m going to be the best writer no matter what it takes.” This is a completely true story… one week later, Danielle died in her sleep from an asthma attack. It was incredibly tragic. But when I found out, my first thought was, “Ha! Now I’m the best writer in the class.” Well I lived with that guilt for many years. One day while I was struggling to write and plagued with self-doubt, I realized I still had anger at my teacher for telling me I was second best (no one should be compared or be given a rank as a writer). And I was incredibly guilty for thinking I had somehow contributed to Danielle’s death. Not to mention what I had thought afterwards. It was then that I recognized how wrong I had been all those years. In the end, that experience influenced me to write. Because I was the lucky one: I was alive. On days when I struggle to get the words out, I remind myself two things:
- It doesn’t matter if I’m the best or worst at writing. It doesn’t matter if I’m no good at all. What matters is that I am creating something out of nothing, and that’s a special gift. Creativity is the greatest gift I was given, and I mustn’t waste it or compare it to anyone else.
- Danielle loved to write more than I did back then. I know that now. That’s what made her better than me at it. So to honor her memory, I give thanks that I was blessed with meeting her and that I’m still alive and able to write. I remind myself to enjoy the process and not just the outcome.
***Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
My favourite book ever is No Flying in the House. Goodness how I loved that book. The idea of a girl being a real fairy and then choosing to give it all up just so she could have parents. I couldn’t understand it at the time, but I respected her decision. I was and still am a huge Enid Blyton, The Magical Far Away Tree, fan. But I also love to read lots of current day middle grade books. There’s something magical about books written for this age group – all the adventure and wonder is very appealing to me.
***What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
The right thing to say is “write every day,” but actually what I really want to say is "daydream a lot." Writing is 80% imagination and 20% good writing. Don’t spend so much time caring about how you write but what you write. It’s a great idea that captures the minds and hearts of others. So write down your ideas. I find my greatest story ideas come when I’m jumping on the trampoline or swinging, so I do both every day, and it works a treat. I spent the first year of writing convinced I wasn’t very creative, but I realized I had let that part of my brain glue shut! To open it again, I let my fancy take me wherever it wanted. So let your imagination roam.
And read a lot too. Mainly this will teach you story structure intuitively. I have read a lot of plot and structure books, but its innate in me to write middle grade books, because I’ve read so many.
And finally, my advice is to just do it. Write. And I’m a true believer that you need to let someone read what you wrote – share it. Lots of people thought I was crazy to share my first novel with the world: The Magicians Convention. The common advice is that “your first ten novels won’t be very good.” But I can’t bear to write something that nobody will ever read. An artist shows their art. A musician shares their music. But for some reason, a writer has to have written ten books, and have them edited twenty times each, and have 30 beta readers, before their book is any good. Share your work with others, because storytelling is a critical part of life. And look for the parts where the person reading or listening to your story lights up. That’s how you’ll become a better writer. And never ever apologize for your writing or your story. Each one is a perfect piece of creation. Now write the next one.
***Where is your favorite place to write?
I tried writing in my bed for a while. But then at night instead of sleeping I would toss and turn thinking about my plot. So then I tried doing it at my desk, but that’s my marketing desk, so that didn’t really work either, because I would get distracted with emails. Finally, I set up a new writing desk and area in a little den at the back of the house. It’s where I paint. So I turned it into my creativity studio, and I commit to spending at least two hours in there every day. And I aim to write a minimum of 1000 new words every day. It’s been a great way to be consistent. Some days I write more, but I never write less. I also just sit in there and let myself dream about possibilities. It’s a wonderful space, and I have my dog for company.
***What else would you like to tell us?
Believe in yourself first and foremost. Most people wait for a publisher to tell them they’re worthwhile, but a publisher is thinking about profits and money – not readers. As an independent author I fund all my own books. Each book costs me between $1,000 and $3,000 to create from start to finish. That’s a lot of money I could have used to travel or do other things. But I publish my books, because if one child reads any of my books and is helped, transformed or encouraged, then it was worth the investment. I didn’t need someone else to give me permission. You can do anything you want to do. Believe in yourself first and eventually others will believe in you too.
Elena, thank you for the inspiring messages throughout your interview. May people be encouraged by your advice and courageously put their books out into the world.