Author Interview: E.L. Haines

1. My novels were inspired by my character, Sparrow. He’s a con artist, and he resolves nearly all of his conflicts with clever bluffs, or unbelievable facts. Although he started as a fantasy character, he travels (somewhat mysteriously) into other genres, such as historical mysteries, westerns, and contemporary thrillers.
The idea of an itinerant protagonist is not new. Many other “heroes without a home” are quite popular. But Sparrow is unique because he doesn’t simply travel to new locations in each book, but also to different time periods.
2. I try to read about four times as much as I write. I read established fiction, to learn how to improve; I read indie fiction, to learn from others’ mistakes; and I read non-fiction, to make my books more believable and immersive. And then sometimes I just read what’s fun, easy, and popular.
Some of my favorite popular series are Jack Reacher, who influenced my own main character’s itinerant behavior, and Harry Dresden, who influenced his magical mystique.

3. My recent novel is a portal fantasy adventure called ‘Stranger Back Home.’ My protagonist, Sparrow, travels back to his fantasy world origins to discuss his inheritance from his father’s will, and gets caught up in some deadly political intrigue. This book begins a trilogy, so there are two more books on the horizon to look forward to!
4. I wish I could give advice about how to market your books, because no matter how great an author you might be, you’ll never make it big without the right book marketing strategy.
But if you want to be a great author, I recommend that you read. See my answer to #2.
5. I think my two favorite authors, and the ones most influential on my own writing, are Michael Crichton and Lemony Snicket. I love the in-depth research that Crichton puts into his novels; I laugh out loud at the snarky literary humor in Snicket’s books.
As an author, I was also influenced by the role-playing campaigns that I’ve played. I think tabletop RPGs are a great way to learn to be a writer – you learn about characters and their motivations, and how to inspire them into action. You also learn about how to maintain a consistent setting and a logical plot progression.

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