Exclusive Interview with
E. N. Crane
When did you start writing?
I actually started writing before I could write. My mom showed me pages from her old bibliofile notebook where I drew squiggles and told her it was a story. Then had her translate the story underneath. Needless to say, I was often considered a bratty child, but I held the title with honor.
What makes writing your passion?
I love the idea that you can create a narrative or a story that is so different from your own without having to venture outside your own home. Sometimes I have imaginary conversations that would likely never happen, but they tell a story and with writing, I can give that story to someone else.
How long have you been writing?
My first story I started in elementary school. My American Girl of Today doll came with a book and I was convinced that writing the story of myself as a doll was the coolest thing ever. I then ventured into Fantasy in Junior High with Dragonettina (don't ask, I don't know) then in High School I wrote Laurie Halse Anderson style stories. In college there was action adventure. Essentially I've sampled all the genres.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
It was surreal. I listed it on Amazon and it was just there. My book was in the world. It didn't feel real until I held it and that feeling is unlike any other. I've made a great many things sewing and crafting, but my thought child in paperback form is a highlight I will never forget.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
For the Ampersand Series, Bridgette is based on all the snarky comebacks I think of after an argument is over. Her "family", both blood and chosen, are a combination of amazing people I've met through life mashed together into one super being on paper.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
It's not annoying as much as depressing, but the lack of response from agencies. Publishing, Literary Agent, marketing collaboration. Rejection emails suck, but I'd rather have them than wonder.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I usually watch a show or listen to an audiobook and wait for my characters to start talking to me again. Annoying is when they keep me up with their story but I'm too cozy in bed to get up and get my laptop
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I have a solid little friend fan-base that motivates me. They keep me working asking for details and showing me things I left open-ended and missed. They get ideas from my characters and share them, leading to a whole brainstorming collaboration. For new authors, I say find your tribe and love them fiercely. It's totally cliche, but people who love your work will make your work better.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Don't give up on your stories. One day, it will be easy to share them with the world yourself.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I do. There aren't many reviews on either of my books, but I read them all. The bad ones hurt. I usually text my mom and rant. Then I eat a bunch of junk food and stew in my bad mood for 20 minutes. Then I read them again, look for suggestions for improvement and let it go. Every bad review has something useful you can take moving forward... at least so far. I'm still waiting for the one that says "What the fluff is wrong with you?"
I'm sure it's coming.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
It's amazing, honestly. Not the number of stars so much as the feeling that the reader "got it". That you connected with a person and for the span of your book, two minds connected and understood each other.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Oh my... yes. In the upcoming final installment of the Ampersand Series there will be a section based on a conversation with a friend where he taught me a group of kittens is a kindle and my life was forever changed.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
My friends compare me to Bridgette. I love her as a character but I hadn't intended to base her on me in anyway. It's just what happens when your experience influences your writing, I guess?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
It's very important and really hard to imagine/create without any visual artistic ability.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love talking to readers! But they are all mostly also my friends. Also by "talk" I mean email/message because talking on the phone gives me anxiety.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
The second hasn't happened yet. The first... makes me wonder if they're just saying it to be nice.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I could no sooner choose a favorite child and all my children are dogs. I love Janet Evanovich, Jill Shalvis, J.K. Rowling, Michael Connollly, J.D. Robb... the list goes on but I'm too lazy to look at my bookshelf.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Janet Evanovich. I'd love to have series that run as long and successfully as hers do.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Yes, and I have. I've found and corrected mistakes in both books that are on the market. It's actually a little embarrassing.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Ummm... Like physically? Because I'd pick Laurie Nataro. She lives in Oregon, has a bunch of animals and a dry sense of humor. Literarily, probably J.K. Rowling. I'd just love to see inside her head.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I don't know... probably something like "you have the right to your opinion"? Despite my skill with the written word, I've never once successfully convinced someone their opinion is wrong so I stopped trying in 2016.
What would you say to your readers?
Books are amazing and I hope you love my characters because I love them.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I got married in 2020, my German Shepherd was my Dog of Honor. We live in LA County, we do not have COVID and we are both essential workers of varying levels of essential-ness.
What is your day job if you have one?
I work for a city government doing warehousing and storage of items.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Aside from writing, I sew, read, Cricut, walk half marathons and visit Disney.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I grew up in the 90s with un-diagnosed or mis-diagnosed depression and anxiety. So it's hard to say if it was unhappy or just I was.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Not that I can think of. Mostly I've always identified with that Happy Bunny sticker, "I live in my own little world, but it's OK they know me here."
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Yes, but none of them are finished or probably ever will be.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
I think we need to decrease technology in education. Kids should get to learn planting seeds and reading paper books in circle time on carpet squares. As a substitute teacher I know that teachers often leave us "easy" lesson plans, but I still wish technology wasn't so... everywhere.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
All the dogs/cats to have happy homes. No one to go hungry. People to just learn kindness and acceptance of one another.
What is your favorite music?
Rock, Pop, Musicals, whatever Taylor Swift is this year.
Share a secret with us 🙂
I was wearing Thumper underwear when I was in a motorcycle accident and they cut my pants off in the street. So... a lot of people have seen me in Disney underwear as an almost 30 year old.