Elizabeth Miles grew up in Chappaqua, New York, not far from New York City. She graduated cum laude from Boston University in 2004, worked for several years at the Boston Phoenix, and now writes for the Portland Phoenix, an alternative weekly newspaper. She has won several awards from the New England Press Association and was nominated for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Award. Elizabeth serves on the board of trustees of Portland Players, a community theater and second home. She loves pizza; she can often be found running around on stage while scantily clad; and a cold winter night in Maine is one of the creepiest and most beautiful things she can think of. Fury, published by Simon & Schuster, is Elizabeth’s first novel:
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems…
Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better–the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.
On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel…something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.
In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.
Em and Chase have been chosen.
Are you a bookgeek?
Yes. No question. I love to read, I love owning books, I love reading about books. And I love writing, obviously.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given (and do you follow it)?
“Write every day.” I do try to follow it but I’m not as good as the person who gave me the advice (my best friend Lauren Oliver).
Which authors do you find most inspiring as a writer?
Stephen King is an inspiration both in terms of tone, and how prolific he is. He’s a kind of arbitrary choice, though. I really admire any writer who has the courage and tenacity to keep writing, stay motivated, and engage readers.
Do you have an audience in mind when writing, or do you just write for yourself?
Well, I definitely have my audience in mind when I’m shaping a storyline. (Will this make sense? Will he/she be an appealing character? That sort of thing.) But I try to distance myself from that when I’m actually writing, to allow the words to flow as easily as possible.
Where do you write, and why?
Until very recently, I wrote most frequently in bed (laptop on my knees), at a coffee shop, or on the couch (laptop on my knees again). But my life is about to change for the better! My wonderful boyfriend, who is a carpenter, made me a beautiful desk out of walnut wood. I can stand at it! (I prefer to write standing up.) I’m so lucky.
Tell us the book you most wish you had written.
Oh goodness. I wish I had written Eternity already (the planned finale to the Fury trilogy).
Have you always been interested in writing fiction?
Yes. As a child I wrote a lot of stories. Then there was a really big gap (in which I wrote a lot of non-fiction/journalism) and I didn’t really start writing fiction until about a year and a half ago.
Did you plot out the entire series before you began writing?
There was a sketchy arc for the whole series before I started writing; now that I’m in the nitty-gritty revising stage of Book Two, some things have been adjusted along the way. Two things I knew for certain: I’d have to figure out who the Furies were, and how the heck to get rid of them!
Fury has some of its roots in mythology, have you always been interested in that subject?
I have been, especially via Greek drama, although I wasn’t familiar with the Furies until a friend told me about them.
These Furies have some decidedly modern tactics; how did you go about blending an ancient concept into a more modern world?
This was actually the most fun and appealing part of the writing process for me. I love the idea of combining contemporary themes with paranormal/fantastical/horror ones, and tried to find different places where they could play off each other. I think particularly the mythological and paranormal elements allow me to get at the modern story from a different angle.
You’ve put together a Fury songlist that goes along with the book, did you listen to specific music while you were writing?
Yes, I did put together a playlist (learn more at The Crooked Shelf!), but the funny thing is that I CANNOT listen to any music when I’m writing. Too distracting.
What prompted you to tell the story through two separate characters?
I wanted to be able to tell two very distinct versions of the Fury tale, and since Em and Chase are so unlike one another, they provided great vehicles to do so. I was also interested in the challenge of writing from a male perspective, which ended up being quite enjoyable.
Although we see the story through Emily and Chase’s eyes, there is a fantastic cast of supporting characters, will we see more of JD and Drea in the following books?
I love JD and Drea too, and YES — you can count on seeing (much) more of them in the next two books.
Will other mythological elements be woven into future books?
To some degree, yes. I’m trying to draw in elements of other mythological stories/characters that are relevant to the Ascension world.
Additional questions by Jennie Blake