After a long day’s work, I really like to relax and read a book. When I find a good book, I feel like everything around me disappears and I imagine myself in the world the author has built. Unfortunately, the book marketing is being more and more filled books with very similar themes. I almost feel that I can no longer say that each new book I read is a completely new experience. I was really glad to come across E. S. Renfield author of Diem Mortis, who have introduce something new and refreshing to the world of fiction.
Michael: Elizabeth, can you tell us a bit about your background?
Elizabeth: I come from a small town in Ohio. I am 21-years-old, soon to turn 22. I recently graduated with my Bachelor’s in Mass Communication and am currently working on my masters in Library Science. With that being said, I have worked in a public library for five years now doing various jobs involved with Circulation, Resource Sharing, and Community Information. I am also self-taught on piano and am currently trying to teach myself how to play the ukulele. Music is a part of my life that I will never let go, no matter how busy that I get. The same goes for reading and writing.
Michael: Wow, that’s impressive to be a published author at such a young age! Where and when did your writing journey begin?
Elizabeth: I began writing when I was 13-years-old (in Ohio). I started out writing fan fiction (I am slightly ashamed to admit) and I did a lot of roleplaying on MySpace. After that part of my life was over with, I started trying to write novels. I had two ideas for books and began writing, posting chapters of them on my MySpace blog. The novels weren’t going anywhere and I became discouraged. Then, after reading Jane Eyre, I got the idea for Diem Mortis (which was then called Birchwood Manor). I was 15 at this point. I wrote the first 30 pages of it and then didn’t know what to do next. I made an outline which changed over the years. I took a break from writing because of school. When I was 17, I wrote more of the book, getting to around 100 pages of it. I started college and focused on college. Then, after studying abroad in Paris in 2013, I was inspired to finish the novel, and I did just that. After that, I focused on short stories. I’ve written a few and had one published in Nexus Literary Journal. As of now, I am focusing on both novels and short stories.
Michael: So you started writing this book at the age of 15? That’s amazing. There seems to be so much depth to your novel; I am really impressed. Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
Elizabeth: My favorite authors include Anne and Charlotte Bronte, John Green, and Felix Palma. What I liked about Anne and Charlotte were their strong female leads and I think every book that I write seems to have a strong female lead. With John Green, I enjoy his humor and honesty. I try to be honest in my books but I interpret my own, unique humor. With Felix Palma, I enjoy his prose. I think he has a strange and appealing way of writing. I absolutely cannot imitate that in any way but it influences me to just be myself when I’m writing, even when I think what I am writing is weird.
Michael: So at your age, you must be busy with school. What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
Elizabeth: My routine is quite simple: 1) Get up, 2) Exercise/Eat/Shower/Get ready for the day 3) Work 4) Come home and do schoolwork/read/play piano 5) Go back to work 6) Watch TV 7) Sleep. It sounds boring, but I’m content for now. Writing is a part of my life and currently I’m more focused on academic writing and research on current issues in the field of Library Science. I plan on jumping back into fiction after I obtain my masters.
Michael: I sure hope you get back to writing fiction soon because your novel, Diem Mortis, sounds fascinating. Can I know that you touched on how you got the idea earlier, can you go into a little more detail?
Elizabeth: I got the idea of Diem Mortis after reading Jane Eyre. I was so inspired by this story when I was younger. I thought Jane Eyre went through so much and Jane’s love interest, Mr. Rochester, wasn’t even that great of a guy in the grand scheme of things. I am largely influenced by tragedies and while I do enjoy stories with happy endings, I prefer writing stories with either bittersweet or tragic endings. I wanted to write a Jane Eyre story and make it even more tragic. It started out just as that and was titled “Birchwood Manor.” Some time after coming back from Paris, I wanted to add a time travel element to it because I became very obsessed with Doctor Who. The title “Birchwood Manor” turned into “The White Connection” as I wrote the main character, Catherine White, into two different “connected” time periods. After finishing the book and reviewing the title, I decided I didn’t like it. I love the Latin language and came up with “Diem Mortis” which means “Day of Death.” I won’t say why—-spoilers!!
Michael: Oh, now you’re just being tease! The evolution of your book title gives us an idea of what a unique novel this is. What sets this novel apart from others within its genre?
Elizabeth: Well, personally, I haven’t read too many time travel mysteries, so I think that’s what sets it apart from other books. It isn’t a typical “whodunit” mystery either, it’s more of a “who is this person” and “why does this seem familiar” mystery. It’s really a combination of paranormal/supernatural/fantastical elements, time travel, mystery, and Gothic literature. I’ve never read anything like it.
Michael: That definitely sounds like it has a great combination of elements to make it interested. What also gets me excited about a book are the characters. Who is your favorite character in your book and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Elizabeth: My favorite character in the book has to be Cillian because he always brings humor into a situation, he’s serious when he needs to be, but he doesn’t let life bring him down. I think I might have written a part of myself in him with the fact that I always try to be positive and make others laugh.
Michael: From the synopsis of your novel, it seems very dark and intense. I’m glad that you have a character in there that balances it with humor. It must have been fun to find that balance as you were writing the novel. Which scene in your book did you have the most fun writing?
Elizabeth: I had a lot of fun writing the prologue as well as the scene where Mr. Wilson discovers that his wife has been keeping a secret. I’m not going to say anymore because, again, spoilers!!
Michael: I sure hope the readers are as interested in the novel as I am right now. To further nurture that interest, what do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your novel?
Elizabeth: As the take away, I want readers to know that humans are capable of truly horrific things, that nobody is inherently good or evil, that people sometimes make mistakes that haunt them for the rest of their lives, that no matter what you do, you can’t run away from your past, and that despite horrible things that happen, sometimes it doesn’t all turn out bad.
Michael: That really sounds like something that is truly worth reading. You published this book last year in 2014, what have you been working on since? What do you have in store next for your readers?
Elizabeth: For the most part, I have been working (almost 300 pages) on a 2nd novel (young adult) called Suicide in the Style of Bermuda which is about a 14-year-old girl who kills herself and finds herself in a peculiar afterlife where she journeys with other people who have killed themselves and learns about their lives. Think Alcoholics Anonymous but for dead people.
Michael: Sounds like you’re going to have another amazing novel! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I think this might be a book that I will enjoy after a long day’s work!
For those of you interested in reading this book, visit the book’s amazon page.