Bestselling authors E.L. Seer spoke about their “Ethan Fox and The Eyes of The Desert Sand” book.
E. L. Seer is a husband-and-wife team – E for Eric and L for Lori. She writes non-fiction works and he writes fiction works.
After barely escaping abduction at the hands of Grimleaver vampires, thirteen-year-old Ethan Fox encounters a girl he is deeply drawn to. The two young strangers discover that they share a bond, both missing memories of their past.
Together, Ethan and Hayley are lured away, awakening at The Residence, a mysterious parallel world within our own. There, they unravel the mysteries of their tangled pasts and help the Caretakers protect the human world from the Grimleavers and their evil plans to enslave humanity.
Ethan and Hayley are expected to solve riddles and puzzles, navigate new worlds watching Earth, and unmask a traitor. All before they can solve the mystery of who they are, where they come from, and why Ethan dreams of eyes in the desert sand.
Eric writes the Ethan Fox Books original series, and the Ethan Fox Chapter Illustrated Books. Lori writes the Wordly Pagemore’s Early Worm Activities & Games series, and the Wordly Pagemore’s Educational Books and Board Games (coming soon). E. L. Seer lives with their two dogs in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where they enjoy frequent visits from their kids, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Every book has a story about its creation, what was your inspiration for ‘Ethan Fox and The Eyes of The Desert Sand’?
My wife. She has been a writer for years and wrote several books before I met her. As a career engineer, I was never good at English, so writing a book was the
last thing I thought I’d ever do. But I used to post a spoofy sports column on my fantasy football league’s message board. In it, I would poke fun at my friend’s teams while making mine out to be the best of the best.
Sometimes I would read them to my wife, who thought they were amusing and well written. She has always loved my wit and sense of humor and thought I would be a great writer. In addition, in high school, I wrote poems as lyrics for a friend’s rock band. That later morphed into humorous poems for fun and, even later, sweet ones for my wife.
So, she broached the subject with me and took me out to lunch to brainstorm ideas. She told me of a dream she had about a strange hallway with lots of doors, and I had a few odd ideas too, and she took notes on everything we discussed.
Several weeks later, I had a vivid, colorful dream of chasing a moth-like creature through a strange room. It landed on a small table, disappeared, reappeared, popped up, and started talking to me. That creature became Gruggins McGhee, and the room is the front room of The Residence. I also incorporated my wife’s strange Hall of Doorways and a poem I had written in high school, The Eyes of the Desert Sand, and from that, an idea blossomed…
You are a husband and wife team, how did you decide to team up to create literary works together? How does it help your relationship grow? What kind of challenges do you face while working together?
As a team, we are doing a lot more than just the Ethan Fox franchise. Together, we are The Ridge Publishing Group which includes several imprints, one of which is Ethan Fox Books. I write the Ethan Fox series and chapter books, and she writes the activity and/or learning titles that go with the series. She also writes all of the business, how-to, and Christian titles for the other imprints. I build the websites while she supplies me with the design and content for the sites.
As for the logistics of creating the books, she does all of the layouts and copy editing, and I do the cover layout and help her get them uploaded to Amazon and IngramSpark.
As far as challenges go… well, I am from Mars, and she is from Venus, so of course, it can be challenging. It is a learning process. Each and every time we do it, we seem to face new and different challenges that we didn’t run across before.
Sometimes it can be a struggle as we don’t always see eye to eye, but we always get through it and are always stronger as a result.
A good story is all about the setting, the descriptiveness, and the raw energy that captivates, all coming together to have the reader turning the pages effortlessly. ‘Ethan Fox and The Eyes of The Desert Sand’ includes all of them, what is one of the keys that you find is critical when getting into the writing zone.
I have to be in the right mood to immerse myself into the story. Sometimes when life brings too many outside distractions, it can be a significant drag on productivity. Right now, for instance, I am in the middle of writing book 2 of the Ethan Fox series. But my wife and I are going through a move & remodel, which has made it nearly impossible to keep focused on writing.
For me, writing a good story has been a huge learning process. When I finished with book one, we got some interest from Kate Jackson at Harper Collins, but in the end, her editor said that I did too much “telling” and not enough “showing”. Having never gone far with my English classes, this concept was foreign to me. So my wife got the name of an industry professional content editor, and we hired her. With her help, I proceeded to re-write the book three times over the next ten years.
Felicity (my editor) pointed out so many things that I did wrong in structuring the story. Everything she said resonated with me because she pointed out things I didn’t like in the first place but didn’t know how else to do. Since then, I’ve learned so much from her. I’ve learned about showing and not telling and the 3 act story structure, and I try to put all of these lessons together every time I write.
When Felicity edited my latest work, Mayhem in the Moongarden, she was delighted with the progress I’ve made as a writer. I hope I can continue to impress her more with each new project, and if Harper Collins comes calling again, I’m confident they will be much more interested this time around.
Ethan and Hayley are a great team, and keep readers engaged from beginning to end. Did you base these characters on anyone in your life? What is one of your keys to creating engaging and intriguing characters like these?
Some of Ethan’s background and look are loosely based on my childhood. I loved the outdoors and would play at the nearby creek catching snakes and frogs. And Hayley is loosely based on how I envisioned my wife would have looked and acted as a young girl. Other than that, I’ve mixed in other of my life’s experiences, high school poems, and/or character traits from interesting people I’ve met.
When readers finish this rather exquisite read what do you hope they take away with them?
I hope they come away feeling like they can’t wait to read the next book and see the movie when it comes out.
‘Ethan Fox and The Eyes of The Desert Sand’ has been a huge hit with readers and reviewers. Do you have another book in the works you can tell us about?
Yes, I am currently writing book two of the Ethan Fox series, Ethan Fox and the Shadow Princess. So far, I am about one-third of the way through and am loving how it is progressing.
Typically, it would have been finished already, but 2021 was a hectic year, and 2022 is starting the same. 2021 was my first year as a full-time writer and working with my wife. So, in addition to releasing book one, I learned how to create websites and created six of them with my wife.
Then, on my wife’s suggestion, I wrote our first illustrated chapter book: Mayhem in the Moongarden. It is an off-shoot of the Ethan Fox series, aimed at a younger audience. Writing the story only took a little over a month. The hard part was working with the artists to get the scenes out of my head and onto paper. It was quite a challenge, but in the end, My wife and I both loved the results. Lastly, as I mentioned before, we are moving from a large house into a smaller one that my wife is remodeling.
Absent all of these minor side quests, Ethan Fox and the Shadow Princess would probably already be out. But stay tuned, as we expect to be moved into our new place in a couple of weeks, and then it’s back to the grindstone. After that, I expect to continue with the third installment, which is tentatively titled: Ethan Fox and the Kraken’s Fury.
“Ethan Fox and The Eyes of The Desert Sand” is available on Amazon by clicking here.