Monday, June 4, 2012


Ellyn Gibbs!

First, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am sixteen and I self-published my first book when I was fifteen. I live in Minnesota with my parents, my grandma, and my five younger brothers - and no, none of us say “You betcha” on a regular basis.

My three cats and my horse Indy are four of my best friends, I love drinking tea, I practice knife throwing and archery in my spare time, I love the smell of crisp, wintry days, and I’m obsessed with British period dramas like Pride and Prejudice. I have vowed to learn to play the banjo someday. I long to be a redhead, I manage to be a complete romantic and a tomboy at the same time, and there’s nothing I find so rejuvenating as reading my Bible or cleaning the house.

What is your favorite Homeschool memory?
That would have to be in seventh grade, when my brothers and I got to make geometric shapes out of colored marshmallows and toothpicks on the first day of school. Then we ate the marshmallows.
Can’t get any better than that.

What started you writing?
My dad. He really encouraged me in writing, because he was writing a story at the same time I began my first one, and he was always willing to read my writings and give me advice.

I started getting really serious when, at about age eleven, I did a program for school called “How to Write the Novel Way.” It forced me to finish my first “novel,” since it was technically schoolwork.

What role does your faith play in your writing?
I don’t write books that are explicitly Christian, but I still believe that my faith is present in what I write. These days, it can be dangerous to walk into the young adult section of the library and pick up a random book because you never know what you might find. Needless to say, some young adults don’t want to fill their mind with crude language and other trash, but it seems as if that’s all there is to read.

I want to be one who supplies young adults with fiction that inspires them to aim high, to work hard, and to break out of the unflattering teenage stereotype.

I want to keep in accordance with Philippians 4:8, which says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.” Writers can have all this and have a great story at the same time!

What is Torn Heart about?
Torn Heart is the story of a young thief, Jacha Simyrna, who finds herself with a choice to make. When the cruel Queen Livia catches her stealing in the palace of Garnethall, she spares Jacha’s life, but commands her to spy on a peasant family who is suspected to be playing an influential role in a brewing rebellion.

The queen promises great rewards, and Jacha is content to work for money at first. However, as she experiences the love and acceptance the peasants have to give, Jacha wonders whether the side with the most gold to offer is always the side to take.

You can read the official ‘blurb’ on the links below!

Where can people get it?
You can get it from either Amazon or the Createspace store. Also, check out my author blog, “Writing Passion,” at! Torn Heart has a page there as well with some more details.

What would you tell someone who wants to start writing books?
Writing a book isn't a walk in the park. Don’t do it for the glory, because if that’s all that drives you, you’ll have to get your fifteen minutes of fame somewhere else.

I will also tell you this - writing is never a waste. I wrote two completed novels, along with countless novel beginnings, before I got one that could be self-published. However, I don’t regret any of the work I did on previous books, because they were helping me to become a better writer. Practice, practice, practice!

Do you have any final thoughts?
Thank you, Sarah, for giving me an interview on this blog!
And for all you writers out there - a gift with words is truly a priceless thing that I think we often take for granted. Don’t give it up for anything, even if you feel like you’re ready to jam your whole manuscript through the paper shredder or flush your notebook down the toilet (that’s not really recommended for any reason).

Ellyn has given me a copy of Torn Heart to review and giveaway!  The review will post on Thursday, but you can enter to win it now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great interview! I know Ellyn from a teen writing blog, and have wanted to read her book since I've heard she was published.

  2. Wow, You are a lot like me :) I don't live in MN anymore, but I used to. All my relatives still live there.

    I hope I win the book, because I'd love to read it! I love medieval age books!

    Super awesome post :)

  3. It's very sad to see all the trash that is being put out to fill young peoples' minds. I also feel that, even if a Christian "message" isn't all over it, writing it well and wholesomely should always be the first priority. :) I think it's really cool that you write with your dad, Ellyn. My dad is a computer geek (literally), and my mom is busy homeschooling my younger siblings, so I'm on my own for writing. But you must have so much fun. :)

  4. What made you want to write this story??

  5. Hi, Ellyn! :) It's so fun to see you here since I feel like I already "know" you from GTW! :)

    So, my question is, do you have a system or something for coming up with the names you use? Naming characters is one of my favorite parts of writing and I love the name Jacha. How did you come up with it?

  6. Awesome, Ellyn! Your book looks good!

  7. Ellyn, what kept you going through writer's block?

  8. Hey, all :) Thanks for the great support.

    Becki - yeah, we're not writing 'together' but my dad IS an amazing editor and he came up with some of the main twists for Torn Heart. He's a computer guy too, though :)

    RJ - I'm not sure. It just sort of happened. I guess I really believed that I could finish this book and that it could go somewhere.

    Brian - thank you! Through writer's block... mmm, I'd whine to my family so they could help force me to go write, and I didn't hesitate to take breaks when I felt I needed them.

  9. Reading this makes me want to hang out with you, Ellyn :) Your book sounds wonderful.

  10. Keep up the hard work, Ellyn. The young adult readers need more books like yours, it sounds like. :)

  11. What is your favorite kind of book to read?

  12. Hi Ellyn! Your book sounds really interesting. Uncannily, it's also *slightly* like the book I am currently writing. Funny how that keeps happening! But since I'm still writing, lots of stuff is apt to change. Anyway, for a question...

    About how long did it take you to write this book? Did you use a computer? And did you ever write anything by hand? :)

  13. Thanks so much, Stephanie and Rachel :)

    LeAnne - hmm, well, my favorite kind of book to read has to have really strong characters and details I can taste, touch, smell, see. The plot has to whip me around like a rollercoaster ride. Genre doesn't matter so much. Some of my current favorites are "The Hunger Games", "The Help," and "Incarceron."

    Bethany - Thank you! :) Good luck on your book too! This book only took me about a year to write and edit. I wrote the first draft in about three months and then revised from there. I started the chapters by hand, but ended up writing the whole thing on the computer. I like to plan and outline by hand, though.

  14. Sounds wonderful! Have you ever allowed a story to just take tyou where ever it would or do you plane an outline first. Thanks!