Elena Abbott: A Sapphic Fiction February Interview
For Day Twelve of Sapphic Fiction February, I’m interviewing Elena Abbott (sometimes known as Lily Hardt). Elena writes Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Paranormal fiction, and has a book of the latter coming out in just a couple of weeks! Pack Of Her Own will be available on March 1st, and can be pre-ordered here. It looks amazing and I’m so excited!! Trans rep and wolves, you say? What could be better?
So let’s hear from Elena herself!
Elena, tell us a little bit about you - who are you, and what do you do?
I'm Elena Lily Abbott! (or sometimes known as Lily Hardt) I'm a transwoman who works in a warehouse during the night and works on my books during the rest of the night. I have a beautiful wife and son who put up with me while I complain about my day job and dream of a day that I can write full time. Outside of writing I do a lot of reading - obviously - and play video games though I'm not as into them as I used to be. I'm a pretty big hermit, I don't get out much, so a lot of my life experiences I live vicariously through television and books. I have severe social anxiety so most of the time I'd rather stay home and obsess about my books.
What made you want to sit down and write your first book?
I started writing when I was in my early teens after a classmate told me that it was something she did and honestly, I wanted to impress her. That turned into my first novel (which can be found in the bowels of the internet still, I believe) that I wrote instead of paying attention in school. Fast forward twenty-some years and I have my first self-published books available on Amazon and my first traditionally published book, Pack of Her Own, coming out March 2023!
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I almost always start with at least one character, if not more. I decide who they are, where they come from, what they're like, usually taking bits and pieces from my own life to round them out as a person. Then I drop them into scenarios that seem like they'll fit best in, and build the plot around them. The plots themselves often come from random mashups of things from books and movies and shows. I break down scenes and plots of other media until I have something moldable and then I rebuild these pieces into the plot I want to convey to the reader over several drafts of my work in progress.
Which of your characters do you relate to the most, and why?
I relate to the main characters in my stories a lot, but probably the most would be Lucy from my novella, NEED, published under my pen name, Lily Hardt. She has literally no confidence in herself, feels like she's unlovable, unwanted, and has no place in the world. I spent a lot of years feeling that very same way until I met my special someone who helped to pull me out of that pit. Though I do still fall down from time to time, she's usually there to pick me back up.
Has your own writing ever made you cry?
While I'm writing it? Never. After the fact though... I have to admit to getting a little teary-eyed when I go back to some of the stuff I wrote years ago, mostly because I can see the evolution of who I am as a person through the main characters I wrote. Starting with a man who was comfortable being effeminate to a side-character who openly crossdressed to main characters who were seriously questioning their gender and facing opposition to it, to now with my fully realized transgender characters.
Does anyone you know in real life read your books?
One of my friends from my work is actually my alpha reader, I send her chapters as soon as I finish them. Otherwise, my wife keeps promising to read them but is taking her time, though she'll help me with a scene I'm having troubles with from time to time.
Imagine your book, or one of your books, was made into a film. Who would play the lead roles?
Oh goodness, I don't think I've ever actually thought about this before. I guess the most important part of this for me would be ensuring that we casted transgender actors for the roles of my transgender characters. Someone like Hunter Schaefer from Euphoria, possibly, to play Lucy from NEED or Natalie in Pack of Her Own.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
I binge watch cooking competition shows like Guy's Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen. I can't cook at all, but I've watched both shows and others like Chopped so many times. Otherwise I'm playing video games or reading books. Or napping. I nap a lot.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to being an author?
The best advice I've been given is just to write. Don't wait for the perfect moment, don't wait for something magical to bring your laptop to life and plunk itself down in front of you. Just write. And keep on writing. Even if it sucks, get the words down on the page and keep working on it whenever you can. That's how a draft gets written. You can always go back and change what needs to be changed. You can't edit nothing.
How about in general life?
Forgive yourself. It's something I'm still working on. All that pain you hold onto from your childhood, that you blame yourself for. Forgive yourself.
What is a motto you live by?
I've never really considered a motto or mantra, really, but if I had to tell myself something every day and try to believe it, it'd be "You are enough."
How can people connect with you?
I can be found on twitter @WriterElenaA, or on Hive and Mastodon and a lot of places on the internet under @WriterPrincess. Instagram is @Writerprincess8, though I rarely use it. I can be emailed directly at Writerprincess8@gmail.com
Finally a light-hearted one. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be?
A Monte Cristo. Because, and I quote my wife here, I am a classic bitch who's also a little extra.
If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, my new novel The Summer We’ve Had is available now!