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IR Approved Author E T Ellison: “Being a diehard recluse with simple needs, I’m not attracted to either fame or fortune.”

Treasure of the Holy Quincunx received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author E T Ellison.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Treasure of the Holy Quincunx; Published in 2019 by Clownbox Press.

What’s the book’s first line? 

“My nose spotted it first.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

When a dead body with exploded eyeballs shows up on his beat, Ranger Travis One-Shoe starts to worry, and he’s a dangerous worrier. Before he realizes he’s hooked, an old flame has hauled him into a plot to fleece the IsoTown of St Coriander of its trillion tero treasury. It should be easy … and not even illegal: the entire population died on one night, 20 years ago. But when two teams are going for the same prize, one team will lose everything and One-Shoe is about to discover he’s probably on the losing team.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

“Treasure of the Holy Quincunx” was an imaginary book in the (fictional) chapter on St Coriander in a future history entitled “Oddballs, Cults & Worldchangers: A History of the IsoTown Movement 2138-2288” by Lavendra Cortioli, PhD. The entire chapter (which I wrote, of course) formed the “Genesis” section preceding the narrative in the (indie) hardcover Chronicler’s Edition of “The Luck of Madonna 13,” the first book in the Last Nevergate Chronicles. This was my first novel and it won a Foreword Book of the Year award for scifi and was named one of the Best 92 Books of 2002 by January Magazine. Genesis created enough controversy among editorial reviewers (this was before Amazon and ebooks conquered the universe) to suggest that putting a substantial history lesson in front of the narrative had been a suboptimal idea on my part. AKA dumb.

Unexpected things happened and “The Luck of Madonna 13” disappeared from print until 2013, when I published a much-revised edition — without the Genesis section — in ebook and tradepaper formats. It also won a Book of the Year award. I wrote “Treasure” to give myself a break from my main writing ‘work’, the rest of the Last Nevergate Chronicles story (now six volumes). “Treasure” was intended to be a quickie thriller-ish first person novella that I could give to readers as a reward for joining my mailing list at some time in the future … which turns out to be now. Alas, the characters had other ideas and the story grew like a weed. But it never stopped being fun.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

One class of readers is anybody who likes fast-paced scifi thrillers (fans of James Rollins, for example) … or Jack Reacher fans who aren’t offended by the future and tech. Another class is future readers of my Last Nevergate Chronicles who may be attracted to a standalone adventure set in my Nevergate era worldscape.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

World-class worrier Travis One-Shoe is a straight-shooting loner type. He’s also dangerous enough that he should probably wear shirts that say “Don’t ask me what I do with those extra shoes.” He reminds me most of the now ubiquitous Jack Reacher, although One-Shoe has never been in the military.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

One-Shoe could be played by almost anybody big enough, which disincludes Tom Cruise … unless he buys his way in, of course, as he did with the Reacher movies. Preferably a part Native American manly man, or a guy who could pass for one.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I wrote my first novel at age 12, but it took me five decades to write one longer than a single page. Slow learner. In the interim, I wrote virtually everything else but novels.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

Nope. Three previous novels, including “The Ghost of Madonna 13″ (The Last Nevergate Chronicles Book 3) and “The Ashes of Madonna 13” (The Last Nevergate Chronicles Book 4), plus one non-fiction title, plus one ghostwritten and illustrated autobiography for a 2-D cartoon character named Guy Brickwall that I created for a former client.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

Write. Only. Period. I’m retired, not just from paid work, but from the myriad unpaid distractions of acreage life in a barn, with construction projects, tractors, chickens, pigs, canary grass, dogs, cats, vermin and a spouse. I even retired from guitarpicking to write. And, gave up cancer, which can really eat into one’s writing time, particularly during chemo. I have become a monomaniac in my dotage/remission.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

Unless it’s NaNoWriMo time, 8-10 hours/day, including publishing activities. My most recent NaNoWriMo was 12-16 hours/day.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

The best part of indie life is being able to do everything yourself, without an editor, publisher, illustrator or a contract. That’s also the hardest part.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?

Tough call. It would depend on the deal … and I’m not holding my breath. My eldest daughter got a book deal with one of the majors, including a handsome middling six figure advance. She writes literary fiction (way better writer than me) and had a track record of praise for her short fiction (including an O. Henry Prize for her first published story), so an agent came calling and got her a nice deal. She’s a pretty independent control freak, though, and said she’d never do that again. I maintained her website during the hardcover and tradepaper launches and got many an earful along the way.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

Being a diehard recluse with simple needs, I’m not attracted to either fame or fortune. That said, it would be fun to have millions of avid readers in multiple languages who couldn’t wait for my next book. I discovered the unsurpassed joys of making shit up and writing it down at a late age and decided I was in it just for the fun of it, although the idea of leaving the world a “cult classic” had some appeal and still does. My writer-daughter suspects I’ll have to die first, but who knows?

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Neil Gaiman

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Toss-up between “Neverwhere” and “American Gods,” both by Gaiman.