Welcome to Spotlight Saturday! We have the lovely Elodie Colt joining us today. She writes romantic suspense. Let’s find out more…
Your debut novel, In Blood We Trust, has some scifi, suspense, and romance. It’s also set in the future, 2078. Describe your future for us. What drew you to write a story in the future?
I always had a thing for futuristic/dystopian stories like “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, “Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, or movies like “I Robot” or “Eagle Eye”. All these stories tell about a perfect world that’s not so perfect in the end. I wanted to create something similar but tried to stay as realistic as possible.
One of the futuristic aspects in my book is the universal “Key”—similar to an iPhone. People depend on it. It’s not just a phone but functions as a house key, a wallet, and contains every sort of document like driver’s license, passport, medical consultation history, and so on. I also added little things I imagined could exist in the future, like fast magnetic levitation trains instead of subways, cars powered by solar engine and equipped with software chips to prevent speeding, and drones buzzing around the city delivering goods. Additionally, I created futuristic weapons like guns with a corner shot function or the “Blaster”—a weapon shooting off shockwaves.
There are more cancer patients in the future as, with time, the world’s ozone layer started to crumble. Since then, the outside temperature increased so it’s hot all the time, the fertile land became rarer, and the rate of miscarriages became alarmingly high, causing the world’s population to decimate drastically.
In Blood We Trust, there’s been a cure for cancer, but with a side effect. Where did this idea come from? What is the cure itself? Where do your ideas, in general, come from?
I guess my father inspired me. He was diagnosed with cancer years ago and has to go through chemotherapy every three weeks. Imagine a world where there’s a remedy for cancer!
The Cure is a liquid medicine that comes in biotubes. People who want to receive this Cure need to register at the SDCT—the Scientific Department for Cancer Treatment. The Cure is dependent on the indication, meaning: There’s a different Cure for leukemia, breast cancer, etc. The worse the cancer, the stronger the Cure. The “Recipients”, as I call them, need to pay a lot of money for that, so there are always people who can’t afford it.
The side effect is that the Cure is such a strong substance it kills the blood cells which results in internal blood loss. Therefore, the Recipients need to consume human blood from the same blood type which is why there are also “Donors”—the healthy people who are obliged to donate the blood.
I got inspired by the movie “Daybreakers” with Ethan Hawke where a virus makes everyone a vampire and blood becomes a rare good. I wanted to avoid writing a vampire story so I chose a different approach.
You have another novel releasing in August, A Flare of Hope (Jaylior #1). What can we expect from this novel? How many books do you plan on in this series?
The Jaylior Series was the first story I ever wrote. It started out as a hobby—I sat down and wrote the first thing that came to my mind. After one month, I suddenly had 150,000 words. As I never intended on publishing it and didn’t have any concept to work on either, I put it aside to work on at a later point and started with In Blood We Trust as my debut novel.
The Jaylior Series is an Urban Fantasy story. Seven races exist apart from the regular human population, like Fighters (who are very strong), Racers (who are very fast), or Catchers (who have exceptional hearing abilities). Then there is an eighth race—the Naturals—who are extremely rare. They can connect to an ability from nature and are the most powerful creatures on the planet.
The series will consist of four books and I plan on publishing two this year.
Writing dystopian type novels, each story having its own type of “world”, how do you make sure your readers know what’s going on? (i.e. creating departments like the SDCT, FDR, etc.)
This is really hard to accomplish. I was lucky that for In Blood We Trust I had some very devoted beta readers on my side who told me exactly where there were any inconsistencies within the story. It’s always difficult deciding between what to reveal early and what to reveal later. You also need to think about how often to repeat things like “SDCT” or “FDR” to make sure readers internalize their meanings. I read the book twelve times after I was sure everything was understandable.
I think with the Jaylior Series it will be easier as the world isn’t that complex but let’s see what my betas have to say.
You live in Austria, and your native language is not English. What is your native language? Do you have your novel available in both languages? Would you say it’s been difficult or easy to write in another language?
Yes, I’m not a native which is why it took me a long time to decide on publishing. I figured I didn’t stand a chance with me not being a native. Then again, I’m reading English books my whole life and became pretty fluent over time and there are editors to eliminate the mistakes so I thought, why not trying?
My native language is German. Yes, I plan on translating my books some time in the future but believe me when I say, it will be harder than writing the books in English in the first place. The German language consists of so much more and complex vocab which is why it’s rather difficult to find the right words, and our grammar is also ten times more complicated. By now, English comes easier for me than German, at least when writing. It’s really funny because I guess I need to read some German books prior to translating to get familiar with the wording!
Is there anyone who influences you to write? Who and why?
My idol is and will always be the British author Stephanie Hudson. She wrote the epic “Afterlife” Saga that, by now, consists of 9 books. It contains everything—love, sex, drama, horror, action, vampires, angels, demons, Greek mythology, riddles, etc. Each book is about 400 to 600 pages—crazy! Stephanie has the best writing style I ever read. She uses metaphors that make you laugh until you get cramps. As far as I know, she suffers from dyslexia which gave her a disadvantage but seriously, her books are so good I’m glad she didn’t let that tiny issue stand between her and her work. I secretly hope to meet her someday and ask her everything about her books!
What has your experience been like as an indie author? Highs? Lows?
Well, as a non-native I don’t have any natives within my circle of friends which means I rely on all the people I meet online out there to read, blog, or help. I also don’t have any friends who write so I spend hours every day researching. Additionally, I have a full-time job, so I spend most of the weekends working on my books or building my author brand.
“Lows” occur every day. It’s the tiny things that make you frustrated. I try doing myself as much as possible like creating graphics with Photoshop or formatting my books. I think I uploaded In Blood We trust twenty times on my kindle until it was formatted like it was supposed to be. Another thing that really grew me gray hair was setting up my website. Lucky for me, I have an IT geek as a friend who helped me through it because this was where my knowledge ended.
I guess my biggest high was when I received the first ratings from my betas for In Blood We Trust. I thought I wouldn’t receive more than three or four stars and braced myself for heavy critique but it never came! I got so much great feedback I nearly burst into tears. Also, my editor encouraged me and said I should continue writing, so I will.
Crazy question time! You’ve been sucked into a time machine into your very own world in 2078. What’s the first thing you would do and why?
That’s a funny question. I guess the first thing I would do is try out the “Make-me-up”—it’s a machine that applies your make-up with tanks you fill with mascara, eyeshadow, etc. For example, you can choose “smoky eyes” and it will do exactly that. Convenient, right? Women would love this!
All cars are equipped with an autopilot function. This is not that unrealistic anymore if you think about Tesla and their autopilot cars so maybe, within the next decade, we won’t have to steer the car ourselves anymore. Still, I would really like to sit in one of that solar powered cars and let it take me to wherever I want while leaning back and relax 😊
Any last thoughts?
I want to thank all the gorgeous people out there on Facebook and Goodreads who support me all the time. No one can go through this journey alone and I’m glad that no one has any issues with me not being a native and making mistakes all the time—on the contrary. Everyone is so forthcoming and helps with editing and all the other stuff I’m useless at. You guys rock!
Thank you so much for joining us, Elodie! If you want to connect with Elodie, or check out In Blood We Trust, just click those beautiful links below.