Elizabeth grew up in the small town of Los Alamos, CA. At a very young age, she found herself drawn to both the written word and the stage. After graduating from Allan Hancock College with her Associate in Arts Degree in English, she was offered a scholarship to study Shakespeare and British Literature at the University of London, UK. During her time there, her passion for both writing and the performing arts grew. At the age of 20, Elizabeth moved to Los Angeles, CA, where she found success as a model and actress. She spends her days doing the things she loves most, dividing her time between Idaho, where her parents now reside, and Los Angeles. She is known by her family and friends for her creative flare, and she has always said that there is nothing more exciting than putting your imagination to work.
Midnighters, I have a fantastic post for you today! I had the honor of interviewing actress and author, Elizabeth Fields, who is currently writing the screenplay for a few of her horror stories that are slated to begin filming soon—which is so cool, by the way! The best part???? She is a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!!! Definitely the perfect match for us here at The Midnight Society. Enjoy:)
1. How did you get started writing horror?
I’ve been writing since I learned how to hold a pen. I read a lot of Goosebumps as a kid. I tried my hand at writing something other than hand illustrated picture books in fourth grade with a story I wrote about a girl who had premonitions about murders. I got a hold of a copy of Nightmares and Dreamscapes when I was ten, and I was hooked. I have always had a fascination with the things that scare us, and that turned into a passion for trying to scare others, or at least make them think a little. There’s a little darkness in all of us. I like to dig into the reader’s brain and plant the idea that even they might not be too far from crossing over…
2. You’ve done very well with your short story collections on Amazon. Could you talk about your adventure in publishing?
Thank you. It’s been quite the journey. I was super lucky with my first young adult book, Best FriendsForever. I tried to get it published when I first wrote it, but it ended up sitting on the shelf for ten years after a trail of rejection letters. I tried again after a decade, and lo and behold, I actually got a publisher! I was so excited! They loved the YA, but they didn’t have a need for horror. When I finished Don’t Let Them In, I thought about shopping it around, and then I thought, why not try doing it myself? I decided to go the self-publishing route, and I found that I really enjoyed it. I will say it’s a bit tedious and definitely time consuming, BUT I have total control over the editing, the cover art, marketing, and promotions… the whole enchilada. At first I was apprehensive, thinking people wouldn’t take me seriously if I didn’t have a big publisher behind me, but I think the stigma that used to come with self-publishing is a thing of the past. There are pros and cons on both sides, but the entire journey itself has been extremely rewarding. I’ve learned so much.
3. Here at The Midnight Society, we often discuss who we look up to. For example, Stephen King is responsible for many of us becoming the readers and writers. Do you have a rockstar writer or actor that you look up to?
My first big influence was R.L. Stine. I read every Goosebumps and Fear Street book I could get my hands on. After reading Stephen King’s Nightmare and Dreamscapes, I couldn’t get enough of his work either. Being so young, my attention span was fairly short, so short stories were not only easier for me to get through, but they ended up leaving the hugest impact. That might be why I favor that form so much. Also, in a society that seems to favor instant gratification, I feel like the short story is still prevalent. Side note, to this day, The Man in the Black Suit by Mr. King is still the scariest story I’ve ever read. For whatever reason, that’s the one that got me. It got me good!
4. Dolls and clowns have a certain freaky power over many of us who have watched movies like: It, Poltergiest, Dolls, Annabelle, etc. Some of our fears are irrational, and we know nothing bad can happen to us. There’s just something that trips in our brains, almost making us happy to be scared. Is there some outside force that scares you?
I am absolutely positive that all dolls come to life at night while we’re asleep. When I was a kid I used to turn them around so they wouldn’t “activate” or whatever they do. You can’t trust dolls at night. There’s a doll in my parents’ guest room, and every time I stay there, I am sure she’s watching me. Also, I am pretty sure that werewolves watch me from the trees when I go camping or step outside in the dark. They also lurk in dark parking lots and the garage if the lights aren’t on. I would consider this to be fairly rational though. Normal, right?
5. You not only write, but you’re also an actress. How awesome was it to work on Cowboy Up starring Kiefer Sutherland, Daryl Hannah, Molly Ringwald, and Tiim Daly?
Crazy! In the best kind of way. I am a huge fan of The Lost Boys, and Kiefer is pretty much the nicest guy on the planet. I had a lot of fun with him. Sadly, I didn’t get to shoot with Daryl or Molly, but just being credited alongside them is a treat. I have a sort of unnatural obsession with John Hughes films, so Molly Ringwald will always be an inspiration artistically.
6. You are working scripting a few of your stories that are slated to begin filming soon—which is so cool, by the way! How different is it to write a screen play vs. a novel or short story? Can you share with us a little bit of the process?
It is absolutely terrifying! Just kidding. It’s fantastic! I’ve read tons of scripts over the years, so I have a tiny bit of an advantage that way. BUT to be completely honest, this is my first venture into writing a feature film, and I was a little leery when I began. That wore off after the first scene was completed. It is a whole new world of expression. I thought I knew my stories and my characters, but reimagining them for the big screen is so much different. In writing a short story or a novel, you as the writer have the option to elaborate in between the characters’ dialogue and actions. You can tell the backstory and not worry about having to show someone what that looks like. You rely on your abilities as a storyteller as well as the reader’s imagination. Screenwriting takes you away from that particular comfort as you are now responsible for visual storytelling. You get to paint the picture in a whole new way. I’ve stayed true to my stories and my characters, but because of the differences in the way the stories must be told to make them visually and audibly interesting, I have been able to let my characters grow. They will soon be lifted from the pages and turned into walking talking people. That’s beyond exciting for me. As for formatting and setting up shots and transitions and the fun technical stuff, I am very thankful for the people who make screenwriting software, and I am grateful to the awesome people who let me work in film for so many years so that I may finally get to take a page from their books, so to speak, and use that education with my creation.
7. You have started a Kick Starter Campaign in order to do a book tour. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/157901407/dont-let-them-in-2015-tour
Can you share with us your plan, or maybe the cities you plan to visit?
The bottom line is touring is very expensive, even with the most modest of accommodations. Thankfully there are more and more cities asking me to visit, and with travel being as expensive as it is, we need to raise more money up front to be able to do that. Funds derived from this project will go towards new touring dates, publication fees, office and distribution fees and advertising. The plan is to book spring tour dates in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, and Texas. The tour will also help with promotion for the upcoming film project. I am beside myself to see how much support we have already. I am so thankful to everyone for their love and support. I owe a lot to my friends and readers. You guys rock!!!!
8. How and when do you write?
I write whenever I have the chance. I have a notepad by the bed, and there’s one in the kitchen. Inspiration strikes me at the weirdest times, and if I don’t jot the idea down right away, I often lose it. Sometimes I’ll remember it days later, but sometimes not, so I try not to risk it. I also use my phone’s memo app a ton. I actually sit down at my laptop about four or five nights a week. Sometimes, if the mood strikes, I will do nothing but write for an entire weekend. I like to have the TV on low in the background. I can’t work in silence. Quiet drives me nuts. Music is too distracting. I end up bopping along or singing, and no one wants that. Writing is something I will always make time for. The passion burns pretty deep. It just plain makes me happy. I’m my best when I’m creating.
9. Any advice you can give to writers seeking success, either as an Indy or traditionally published writer?
Independent publishing is a lot of work, so be prepared for that going in. Your book may be written, but it’s just beginning. You can do it, but success won’t happen overnight. You have to be willing to get the word out and push your work. Social media being what it is today is a huge help with marketing, but there is so much more you can do to get your work seen. It takes a real commitment to yourself to make sure you and your work are successful. Don’t give up. I am a firm believer that with hard work and determination ALL things are possible. It might take weeks, it might take months, it might take years, but if you keep at it, there are no limits to what you can do. If your dream is to be picked up by a publisher, be prepared to hear no. It’s not personal, even if it sounds like it is. Just keep submitting. It often has a lot to do with timing. There will be a time and place for your work eventually. The important thing is to keep trying. If you do get a positive response from a publisher or publishers, read the fine print. Always know what you’re getting into and who you’re working with. It’s okay to turn someone down if you don’t feel comfortable with it. Most importantly… just keep writing.
10. Okay, if you know me at all, you know I cannot conduct an interview without asking THE question. Who is your favorite Buffy character? A favorite episode? Spike or Angel?
I had a feeling. Yes! Buffy time! My favorite character is Oz! I know, but I forgive him for being a werewolf. My favorite episode… it’s hard to pick one, but I really enjoyed Drusilla’s arch on the show. She was the best kind of crazy, so I will say the episode where she and Spike first appear in Sunnydale stands out quite a bit. And… forgive me Angel lovers, but I have to go with Spike. I’ve always had a thing for bad boys with accents.
Twitter : @LizzieAuthor or https://twitter.com/lizzieauthor