Author E.L. Farris – This week’s Mother Freakin’ Co-Host

I’ve really been looking forward to the release of El’s book, Ripple A Tale of Hope and Redemption. I’m only on chapter 2 of her new book and it is AMAZING. I love El’s style of writing. Her use of imagery is great, but not over powering. She doesn’t lose me in the details, and at the same time, I can see exactly what the characters are seeing. I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing, but for now…let’s here from El, herself:


The MFP asked me to talk some about how I wrote Ripple, and the thing is, I’m about as anti-method and disorganized as a writer can be. And for the life of me, I can’t sit still or be quiet, and so while I write a book, I talk to everyone about it.

Some writers hole themselves up in their rooms and hide away their manuscripts right up until it’s time to show them to the world, but I think that’s incredibly selfish. Clearing throat. Uh, okay, I talk a lot and I tend to write by committee. Seriously.

Mostly, I talk to my husband. Every night, my family takes a walk together, and while the kids shove, elbow and er, walk in front of us, Travis and I walk and talk about our days. When I was writing Ripple, I would tell him about the latest plot twists or character problems. For example, before I wrote the first draft, there was a good prosecutor named Eric, but my critique partner reminded me that the main theme of my novel is women helping other women. So this prosecutor should be a woman, she argued. And so was born Elizabeth Baldwin, or “Ellie” for short.

So many of my ideas for Ripple came from the people that inhabit my life. For example, the child of mine that most often makes me laugh, cry, stutter or even scream turned into one of my favorite characters, a little boy named Zander. This little guy provides comic relief and a dose of needed silliness to an otherwise often serious storyline.

And my husband, and all the times I have glared at his ever-expanding pile of dirty laundry, gave me some juicy bits of dialogue to use. Several times, Cassandra, one of the main characters, grouses at her beloved husband, Frank, after a long day at the office, “Frank, pick up your fuc*ing laundry!”

On a deeper level, one thing that people keep asking me is: how autobiographical is this novel? And when people ask me this, it’s sometimes with a note of sadness or trepidation. And I’m not going to deny the obvious. I know my topic, one that ranges from sexual abuse to chronic PTSD to practicing law to recovering from addiction and depression and all sorts of troubles rather intimately. For sure a lot of me can be found inside my characters, but the funny thing is that once I created Helen and Cass and Phoebe, et al., they took on a life of their own inside my head.

Maybe that sounds crazy, but it’s the truth, and I think it’s why they seem so real to readers. They became real to me. I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner with them; ran for hours alone with them; and even dreamed about them. And always they were talking, laughing, arguing, loving and living. And the magical thing is that now they get to talk and laugh and argue and love and live inside the minds of my readers.

And that—that is the magic of writing novels. You get to create this world and once it’s complete, you invite your readers to meet and get to know the people inside the pages. And that’s when the real magic occurs: when the reader meets those people and maybe sees a bit of themselves in one of them. And just maybe the reader will realize that he or she is not quite so alone in the journey they’re on, and in so finding that, maybe they will feel some hope and find some healing too.

To buy an e-copy of Ripple, please see:

To buy a paperback copy, please visit:

And for an autographed copy please visit El’s blog:


Make sure you check out El’s new book and keep up to speed with her on her Facebook page!

~The MFP


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11 Replies to “Author E.L. Farris – This week’s Mother Freakin’ Co-Host”

  1. Speaking as that “main critique partner,” I can attest that everything El has written here is true. She is a phenomenal writer, and her book is amazing!

    I often feel like there should be a another genre: fiction with jazz hands. That’s what you made, El. It’s based on you, but it is beyond you, too. Ripple speaks a universal truth. I can’t wait to see the reviews come in.

    1. Best damn critique partner ever! And I love your concept for a jazz hands genre! I am grinning as I type this because, well, it’s so darn true and it’s funny too. I’ll tell you something else, and it’s 100% honest: it’s incredibly humbling to self-publish a book. I’m having to ask people to please read my book, and this business side of it is both oddly exhausting and occasionally incredibly uplifting. People are being really kind, hun. And I appreciate that so much.

      Thank you so much for visiting me over here! CreateSpace just mailed me 15 copies, so I’ll have yours out to you soon. It’s been a bit delayed, not sure why, but I’m grateful for this print on demand capability.


      1. I cannot wait to read Ripple, El, and I was thrilled to see you were going to be a guest with the MFP — two of my favorite bloggers. :) Thank you for sharing your methodology, as unorthodox as you may think it is. I, too, live with my characters. they are so much a part of me because they ARE me. Many blessings!

        1. Awwww Dee Dee, so good to see you here! Thank you so much for your kind thoughts! And I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in talking to my characters all the time!! xoxo

  2. “I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner with them; ran for hours alone with them; and even dreamed about them. And always they were talking, laughing, arguing, loving and living. ” LOVE this. I’ve read books where I can tell the author just thought through a general description of a person, gave a guy a name and a job, an appearance. I never identify or care about those characters. I can’t, really, because the author didn’t give me enough to want to. For all the technical tips for writers, I still think really knowing the people we place in our books is the most important step.

  3. That was a great read El. So glad I read it. Given I’m still reading Ripple and knowing what I already did about you, this will help when I finally get that review of mine on Ripple written. Hope to finish reading next week while I’m on vacation.

    What I found really interesting, as a writer myself, was what you said about the 3 characters, though based on you one way or another, eventually taking on a life of their own and living inside you as they did. This mirrors a comment made to me by one of Canada’s most famous authors, Margaret Laurence, when I interviewed her for writer’s publication back in the 70’s. She told me how her characters all started with someone in her life but took on a life of their own and she ended up living, breathing and talking with them daily until the book she was writing was finished. This made me wonder about my own writing: I’ve so often said I can’t write fiction, that I’m incapable of creating a character that doesn’t exist. But you’ve now given me hope that maybe I can.

    Once I’ve finally finished my own, very real biography about incest, perhaps I can transition to creating a new character based on that girl I am writing about now from a different perspective with different experiences and this time, fictional. It’ll be fun to try. But gotta finish reading Ripple first, then finish writing my own book, and then, if I’m still around and not blind with the cataracts now making it hard to read, I’ll have a crack at fiction at last! Thanks for motivation!


  4. I felt some of that “magic” in reading this book, and I hope it was also the beginning of some healing for me as well – not as a direct victim of abuse (it did not happen to me), but as someone who was unable to protect others. I am very grateful for this book.

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