Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed author E. K. McCoy about her writing and her recently released, When Stars Align, a deeply moving and gripping tale that takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of love and destiny. (Read the review here.)
E.K. McCoy is a Cincinnati, Ohio native who currently resides in Hawaii. At the age of ten, she fell in love with the magic she created, using a simple spell that consisted of a pen, a composition book, a flashlight, and her imagination. She spent fourteen years as a medical professional before she decided it was time to cast a new spell and trade in her scrubs for a MacBook. She and her husband, Kyle, enjoy traveling and spending time with their two fun-loving daughters, Ellie and Ava.
Twitter: I’m on twitter but I don’t tweet @EKMcCoy2
Facebook: E.K. McCoy
Follow me on Instagram! @e.k.mccoy
When Stars Align has the unique twist of having a playlist of songs associated with various scenes and chapters. What inspired you to create and include the playlist?
Yes, to help enhance the reader’s experience, I have created a When Stars Align Soundtrack listed in the back of the book. The soundtrack is also available on Spotify. I hope readers will check it out!
As a young reader, I always wondered how authors would get into character. For me, any time I’m starting a new chapter, it’s important for me to connect to my characters through their emotions. I do this through music. After outlining the chapter, I choose songs that help feel similar to the way the character is feeling. This is the way I make my characters’ feelings come alive through pen and paper.
I found myself listening to the songs I associated with each chapter not only while writing, but then again while I was proofreading. In doing this, it seemed to take the book to another level, almost like I was watching a movie. That’s when I come up with the idea of the soundtrack. Who knows, maybe one day When Stars Align willbecome a major motion picture and the soundtrack will be used as well. Cheers to making that day a reality!
You have fourteen years of experience working in the medical industry. Did that experience inspire the story of When Stars Align, or help you create a realistic world and plotline?
My years of working in the hospital most certainly helped me create a realistic world and plotline. Not only did I work in the medical field for so long, but in college I also dated a medical student for two and a half years. So my close relationships with doctors and medical students definitely influenced the plotline.
For example, Auggie’s career and the way he left Elsie were inspired by my personal relationship with said medical student. It was truly the meanest thing anyone has ever done to me. Not to mention, two weeks after he ghosted me (similarly to the way Auggie left Elsie) I lost the most amazing grandmother I’ve ever known and loved, Apple Betty.
During this time, I was a single mom who had just graduated from college and had landed my first “real job”. However, just as Elsie did, I focused on myself and through the pain I became stronger and built a successful career and life.
What are your favorite romance genre tropes?
My favorite romance genre tropes are slow burn, emotional scars, and forbidden lovers.
Which scene or chapter in the book is your favorite? Why?
Oh gosh, it’s hard to pick just one.
I’d have to say the chapter where Auggie meets Olive for the first time and spends Christmas with them. I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for 37 years, and I absolutely love Christmastime in the city. I wanted to find a way to share all my family traditions and all the happiness associated with the holiday with the readers. Having the main characters spend the holiday doing my family traditions was not only fun to write, it was a tribute to my family.
This is also a pivotal chapter for Elsie. This is the first time she not only introduced a man to Olive, but also introduced him to her home and studio, making herself truly vulnerable to another for the first time in her life.
Capturing the moment when your main character can truly let their guard down and say, “This is me, all of me,” was very special.
Which scene, character or plotline changed the most from first draft to published book?
Without giving too much away, the ending. Referring to Question 6, I changed the ending multiple times to help find a happy medium between being original, and delivering an ending I believe the readers will appreciate.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
In all my books, my main goal is to be as true to myself and as original as possible. However, accomplishing this along with pleasing my readers is my goal.
I will say the entirety of When Stars Align has been inspired by people I know, and it has many hidden personal inspirations. From the plot to the story setting, to the major issues the characters must overcome, and even in the smallest details of the main characters’ traits, names, birthdays, etc. I could go chapter by chapter and list why I wrote it the way I did, or what or who inspired my writing.
A couple examples: Elsie’s career as a musician was inspired by my husband, Kyle. I absolutely love listening to him sing and play guitar. Marie’s character is a tribute to my four best friends, whom I’ve had since grade school.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
A well-paying, full time job with benefits. I am laughing because I have already done this! In all honesty, I would give up almost anything tangible. I live for my family, my friends, and my writing. Anything else, I could give up.
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
This is actually a very difficult question for me. In middle school and high school, I fell in love with many of the classics. My favorite authors were Jane Austen and George Orwell.
After graduating from high school, I had my first daughter at the tender age of 19, so my priorities were solely on her and putting myself through college. In college, as a single mom, I studied nuclear medicine and ultrasound and I didn’t have much free time to read anything but anatomy and physiology and all the children’s books I would read to Ellie at bedtime.
Sadly, during this time, I think the only books I read for fun were a few of Nicholas Sparks’ books and the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer.
By the time I was financially secure and had more “free time” (around 2013), I began to take my writing seriously. So, every night after putting Ellie to bed, instead of reading, I began writing my three works (Surviving McCoy, When Stars Align, and Allie the Albino Squirrel).
What’s next for you?
My goal is to find a literary film agent. I would absolutely love to see Elsie and Auggie come to life on the big screen.
Until then, I’ll keep writing and submitting manuscripts for publication. I currently have three.
Categories: BookView Review Interview