Young adult fantasy and picture book author Ellen Davidson has achieved great success in the highly competitive children’s market. And she did it the old-fashioned way – by making painstaking edits, networking with other writers and pouring hours of research and passion into her stories.
Q: How did you come to be a writer?
A: I began writing compulsively in journals when I was a kid and continue to do so. When I became an elementary school teacher and a mom, I decided to write for kids. For some reason, I thought this would be easier than breaking into adult fiction. In fact, I’ve found it to be quite the contrary; children’s writing is a tough market and there is tons of skill — sometimes more than I think I will ever have — involved in a picture book.
Q: What are some of your current projects?
A: Currently, I’m working on a nonfiction picture book telling the true story of Archangel Trees. It’s a totally inspiring story about an ordinary man who was inspired after a near death experience to clone and plant the most ancient trees on the planet. Despite lack of money, education, and political connections, David Milarch is successfully planting genetic clones of ancient trees, especially redwoods, which sequester the most carbon of any tree and can be a potential buffer for climate change.
Q: How do you go about choosing names for your characters?
A: Naming my characters is always a lot of fun. Sometimes I know the name right off and sometimes the name changes as the manuscript evolves. In my yet-to-be-published fantasy novel, “Vision Singer,” the main character started out as the improbable Edacael and is now Lark. Have to admit, I love her more as Lark!
Q: Which do you think is the most powerful point of view for a narrative — first person or omniscient?
A: At the moment my novels are first person present tense. This lends to an immediacy for the reading and gives the feeling of “being in the character’s head.” However, I think third person (she/he) is valuable because it allows the writer more flexibility. Of course, omniscient has the most flexibility, but is also the most distant from the protagonist. Use of omniscient voice has the danger of too much bleed through of the narrative voice. But even this works at times — think of the narrative voice in Shakespeare plays and how much audiences love it. So I think the choice of voice is determined by the story. Every story has a nearly infinite number of ways it can be told. When a writer really nails it and finds the best possible way to tell a story it nearly always looks simple and easy.
Q: Would you consider yourself a spiritual writer?
A: Yeah, I’m definitely a spiritual writer. I know this because sometimes I write things in fantasies and then discover that they are happening to me in my real life. This is kind of eerie! A big example is that I wrote about a tree where my main character has visions. Several years later, I discovered that I love meditating under the old growth redwoods where I live. They really calm me down and beam me up! After a while, I realized I was having dreamy images and visions, just like Lark.
Ms. Davidson’s work is available on Amazon and can be found in the September issue of Boulder Home & Garden magazine.
Visit www.ellendeedavidson.com to learn more.