Thursday, March 1

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, March 01, 2012 10 comments
Today I've invited author Elle Strauss to talk about her latest release, a middle grade novel entitled It's a Little Haywire.

About It's a Little Haywire:
Owen True is eleven and eleven twelfths and has been "exiled" to the small crazy town of Hayward, WA, aka Haywire, while his mother is on her honeymoon. All he has to whittle away the time is the company of Gramps, his black lab Daisy, and his Haywire friends, Mason and Mikala Sweet. They don't look so hot this year, in fact, the whole town has gone to pot since the mill shut down.

Owen has his first encounter with a real life homeless man who ends up needing Owen's help in more ways than one. But how does a rich city kid help the small town's suffering citizens?

And what is Owen to make of the fog train and its scary, otherworldy occupants that appears out of thin air on the old tracks behind Gramps's house? Do they have the answer Owen is looking for?

Welcome, Elle!

As Owen revealed himself to you in the writing process, what surprised you about him?
I came across some old letters my eldest son had written to my parents when he was ten. His "voice" was so MG, I borrowed strongly from these letters to find Owen's voice.

I love your names in this story, like Mrs. Pershishnick, Gramps’s persistent lady friend. What are some of your favorite ways to develop character names?
Pershishnick is an actual last name of a family from my parent's small town. Too great not to be used! Naming characters can be hard. I knew with this book that the character names had to be as interesting to the reader as the story. I tried to imagine how they would sound read aloud.

While you are Canadian, you’ve tended to place your stories in the US. What special challenges has that posed?
Though I'm a proud Canadian, the facts are that the population of Canada could fit in the state of California. I've set most of my stories in the US because that is where my primary market is, though I usually always tip my hat to Canada by mentioning it or having a Canadian character in my stories.

The main challenges is in the differences in spelling, and some phrasing, ie: neighbour/neighbor, washroom/restroom

What is your favorite part of the writing life?
Working at home and not caring what time of day I get dressed. =)

What do you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process, and why?
Since I'm fairly new to Indie Publishing, everything about the process is new and there's so much learn, especially about marketing, a field I had zero experience with prior.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a new cover scheme for the Clockwise series, and prepping to release the sequel in April and the companion book in June.

Thanks for having me, Laurel!

Elle Strauss writes Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction. She's a married mom of four, and lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, famous for beaches and vineyards. She's fond of Lindt's sea salt dark chocolate and hiking in good weather. Her young adult rom/com time-travel CLOCKWISE and contemporary/otherworldly middle grade IT'S A LITTLE HAYWIRE are now available on Amazon. You can visit her blog at


  1. I've heard all good things about Elle's book and I'm looking forward to reading it!

    1. I think you'll enjoy Owen's transformation as he sets his own troubles aside to help folks in this sleepy town.

  2. Thanks for having me, Laurel!

    1. My pleasure, Elle! My your readership grow as the word continues to get out about this heartfelt read.

  3. Great interview! I love that Elle used her son's letters as inspiration :)

    1. I know. It makes me want to scour through old correspondence to see if I have some characters or story ideas lurking there!

  4. Elle's book sounds great! Wonderful interview. :)

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Lydia. Her book is a fun read.

  6. Awesome interview, Laurel. Thanks for sharing! I think one of the best things about indie or self-publishing is getting to be your own boss.

    I'll have to check out this book. Sounds like a great read! :) Best of luck with all your current projects, Elle!


    The Red Angel Blog

    1. Thanks for coming by, Red Angel. Being one's own boss has some appeal--though I can relate very much to Elle's learning curve with marketing.