Writers of WHQ: An Interview with Rani Elvire

In case you didn’t know, the Writers’ HQ writing community is the actual, literal best in the universe, full of amazingly talented and generous writers who make our little corner of the internet a very nice place indeed.

And so, we decided to show some of ’em off as a part of our monthly Writers of WHQ interview series.

Get to know our amazing WHQ members — how they write, what makes them tick, their influences, inspiration, top tips and favourite stories — and see just how different each and every writer is. ‘Cause there’s no one ‘right’ (write?) way to do things, right?

Gif from Groundhog Day of a white man in a hat and glasses saying "am I right or am I right?"

So today we are chuffed to bits to introduce you to WHQer, novelist and flash fiction writer, Rani Elvire AKA @forevermilliel!

Tell us about your writing journey — where did you start, where are you now, and how did you get there?

I guess writing is something which I have always done and have just gone on doing – a bit like breathing really.

I am not sure exactly when it all began. Maybe through watching my mother write and thinking that I could never write anything as amazing but I would give it a go and so I did.

Maybe with making up stories before I fell asleep because reading books was difficult after dark.

Maybe with making up stories for siblings and friends to act out. Stuff which infuriated my father who thought I sounded like I was directing a play.

Whatever, making stuff up is what I do, after all I managed to write my own life as a script, one in which I get to play the protagonist and antagonist.

Where I am now is writing a novel, running writing workshops and well just endlessly writing the rest of my life as I go along.

I have no idea how I got here – probably via the most convoluted winding route ever – so not a Roman road then.

Do you have a writing routine? How do you work best?

Yes and no – I tend to change things up as life and time demands but I generally begin with some journaling. Dreams are a major source of inspiration and I have always recorded my most interesting nightmares! Currently, I work on my novel in the mornings, use other slots to make notes or read, or simply to think. I might do some writing very late at night but not on my novel as this does not work so well when I tried.

Gif of Homer Simpson lying on a couch daydreaming about lying on a couch

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on book one of a series. My working title is The Lives and Times of Clara Dane. Book One has settled as a draft which I am currently editing. I wrote a few drafts which did not work out as something which felt right but which created workable material, characters, world building and backstory. I find that I sit somewhere between a Planner and a Pantser – overplanning does not work too well for me and I prefer to go back and clear up the bloopers which are a result of my make it up as I go along preference.

In-between, I write regular flash because this allows me to play around with the zillions of ideas which pop into my head.

What advice would you give to a writer starting out?

I generally avoid giving out advice because we are all so different – what works for me might not be a newts eye’s bit of use to you. Maybe take an eye of newt and go from there. Writing is rather like going for a walk without a map – let it unfold – follow the path – allow yourself to get lost – take a flask and a slab of chocolate – wear comfortable clothes and don’t worry too much about where you are going, or where you will end up.

What’s the piece of writing you’re proudest of (and why)?

I am just happy if I get words on paper but I guess those competition wins count as something. Mostly quite small in number as I am a bit prone to missing competition deadlines! Getting published in anthologies is also worth a toot of my tuba moment. At the moment, I am rather proud to be in the editing stage of my final draft, for now, of Clara. Hey, I am even proud to be writing this!

What are the main challenges you face with your writing?

There are so many interesting avenues which tempt me. I want to explore each and every one but I am only one person and, so far, have not found myself to be immortal. I have too many ideas and not enough me to write them all.

Cartoon gif of an extreme close up through the pupil of a shocked-looking blonde white woman - inside, there's a switch on the side of her brain which turns from off to on, lighting up the brain

What are you currently reading?

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok which is really amazing! Set between the Netherlands and USA this book tells the story of a Chinese family who probably have some pretty dark secrets hidden away.

What’s your favourite part of the Writers’ HQ Community?

All of it – being awarded a bursary has enabled me to connect with a super supportive community, try out courses and give this interview. Writers’ HQ helped get me through those strange times in which my life was removed from me but which I actually remember nothing about, except that something happened which made time seem endless, when time restarted, I found that I had nothing left of my previous life and so had to begin again. I guess someone trod on my sandcastle.  Stuff happens – we move on.

And finally, give us three recommendations of writers or stories you love.

Too many to mention and picking just three would cause the ghosts of the unmentioned to haunt me forever – which would take up rather a lot of their time really. I love stories which have some sort of something about them which hits the right spot at the right time. I think something in the way they are narrated either pulls me in or says not right now – it’s an in the mood kind of thing.

Rani Elvire / @forevermilliel
Rani Elvire / @forevermilliel

East London creative prolific writer aided and abetted by a sinister feline and a shape shifting pony, Pooka Max. Together they conspire to entice the unsuspecting through places imagined as reality. When not basking in their own sunlight they are busy hosting events in their locality. These three collaborateers enjoy perpetual snack wielding adventures as they entangle themselves in the world of some chick called Clara Dane. Wish them luck as they seek for a secret agent who will swallow their words whole and regurgitate them as a beast cellar! #WritingClaraDane

Rani most recently won the Globe Soup flash fiction competition!

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