Interview with Author Elena Van Peborgh – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Elena Van Peborgh

Elena Van Peborgh is her pen name. She was born as Ellen Peeters on the 15th of November 1996, so she’s still a young and upcoming author. Since her country is so small, it isn’t really known. She has the ambition to put it on the world map.

She’s been writing fantasy stories since the age of eight, starting with short stories, which she posted on Quotev and continued perfecting the craft throughout the years until now. All these years of writing resulted in her debut novel Dragon Dream, which was the first step to publish and conquer the literary world. Currently, when she’s not writing fantasy stories, she works as a software developer.

Tell me more about your latest book

Dragon Dream is my debut novel. I started writing it when I was 15 or 16 and finished it when I was 19, so I worked on it for about 4 years. I got the idea when I read Firelight by Sophie Jordan. In her thank you notes she wrote that she had written Firelight and the series it was part of because she liked dragons and stories about them, but she didn’t find many books with dragons appearing in them. I agreed with her and found this sad, so I wanted to write a book about them myself.

Dragon Dream is an adventure story about a 14-year-old shape-shifter girl, Tatiana. Her dream is to be a dragon in a world where she can choose anything but that. She’s the stubborn daughter of two shifters; a bear and a lynx, and it’s time for her to choose what kind of shifter she wants to be. Only, she doesn’t like the available options. She wants to be a dragon. When her parents chastise her for her dreams, she escapes to a place of solace where she meets Jon, a sheltered wolf shifter who instantly becomes her best friend in the world. But he isn’t as trustworthy as she thinks, and a depression will lead her on a journey to a druid that may have the answers to what she seeks, what she has always wanted.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

The world building. This world is full of shape-shifters and dragons, I had to think of what made them different. There are also some druids, who split up in two parts and they perform a different kind of magic. I had most of the story in my head since the beginning, so I didn’t need to think how to fill up the scenes, I knew most of them. Only the details needed to be added in the story, and it was the most difficult to explain those in the story. I had to spread them throughout he story to not dump a whole load of information on the reader at the beginning.

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

Since this was my debut novel, I had to find an agent or publisher. I started querying some agents, but since I didn’t have much credits I could add in my biography — I participated in a few contests in my country, but hadn’t won any and had no other publications — I was rejected a lot. So, I continued seeking a small, independent publisher who accepted writers without agent. Now I found a publisher, I can apply to publish my next book with them.

What motivated you to become an author?

I had to do a writing assignment for school when I was 8. I read a lot and solved crosswords with my granddad, so I knew a lot of difficult words for my age. My teacher complimented me on that, and she said my story was original. Later, I found out that my granddad and dad had written some stories too when they were younger. My dad had even won a competition in Belgium.

How many books have you written so far?

I currently have one published book: Dragon Dream. I also finished the first book of a series I’m working on now: The Ice Queen, it’s part of the series The Queen’s Throne. I also have some short stories, which are on Quotev. I’m going to move these stories, so people who sign up to my newsletter can read them. Currently, when you sign up to my newsletter, you can read A Mermaid’s Tale.

As an author, do you prefer the traditional book or online version? Why?

I always preferred to hold a paperback in my hands. I always liked the smell of the paper, and you can get it signed by the author.

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

It’s definitely not easy, especially when you’re a debut author. Like I said before, when you can’t list many credits in your biography, you’ll be rejected a lot by agents. I think it’s easier to maintain your career when you’ve published some books, but that’s something I’ll need to find out too.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing. When you’re querying, you can start on your next book. That way you have something to do and be excited about when you’re waiting for responses and if you get a lot of rejections. Plan some time everyday to write or read a bit. You don’t necessarily need to write each day, but just reading other books or reading what you wrote before also helps you grow.

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