Please help me welcome Eliza Nellums to the blog today. She’s here to chat about writing and All That’s Bright and Gone.
Author Name: Eliza Nellums
Book Title: All That’s Bright and Gone
Book Genre: Crime Fiction
Release Date: December 10, 2019
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Please tell us about your book.
This is a mystery told from the perspective of a six-year-old girl who is trying to solve the murder of her older brother and, in doing so, bring her mother home.
What sparked the idea for All That’s Bright and Gone?
Watching my sister’s children grow up, I was struck by how much personality they had at such a young age – by three or four years old they already had goals and a unique sense of what they wanted from the world. I began trying to write a book with the youngest narrator I could imagine, just to see if I could do it. Originally the main character was going to be four. But good thing I didn’t stick with that idea, since it had actually already been done (by ROOM) and six years old is probably a little easier!
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?
I wrote the first draft very quickly, in about two weeks, but then I spent five years or so revising it. I didn’t have to do “research” per say but I would call my parents and beg them to help me remember what I cared about at that age. I was also lucky in that I have a childhood journal that dates back that far. The first entries are hilarious but they helped me remember what was on my mind during those years of my life.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
There is a point during revision where the book is just not that much fun any more. The jokes aren’t funny; the language isn’t fresh. There are no surprises left. But you just have to push through it because you’re so close to the end by then, and you have to trust that it’s all going to be new to the readers!
What do you love most about it?
I assume this is common among writers, but I love the idea of getting to live other lives, having the chance to walk around in someone else’s skin and see the world they way they do. That’s my favorite part, when you get that feeling of true escapism where you can kind of leave yourself behind for a while.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read All That’s Bright and Gone?
I would say it’s immersive, I have heard that it sparks people’s memory of being a child, the things they noticed or loved and or worried about. Right now especially, with this virus and the quarantine, is a wonderful time to read a book that takes you away.
How does your day job inform your novel writing?
I have worked in the environmental sector for many years, and even though I wasn’t aware of it as I was writing, there are a lot of plants and animals and connection with the natural world. This makes sense for a child anyway, as lots of children connect with animals and being outside.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I am a lousy musician and artist, but it brings me great joy. I am also fixing up my old house one room at a time right now. Followers of my Instagram will know that I am fostering a rabbit and am pretty passionate about my cat.
Are you working on a new project?
I do have a new project, but it’s not really ripe to talk about yet – but I hope readers will connect with me online and follow along as the journey continues!
Where can readers find you? Any upcoming events?
Website with newsletter sign up: www.ElizaNellums.com
And on May 8th at 8PM I will be doing a live reading as part of the virtual “Noir at the Bar” series to support local bookstores. The link isn’t up yet but you will be able to find it here: https://www.crowdcast.io/eaymar01
Thank you, Eliza! All That’s Bright and Gone is available NOW.
There’s plenty about the grownup world that six-year-old Aoife doesn’t understand. Like what happened to her big brother Theo and why her mama is in the hospital instead of home where she belongs. Uncle Donny says she just needs to be patient, but Aoife’s sure her mama won’t be able to come home until Aoife learns what really happened to her brother. The trouble is no one wants to talk about Theo because he was murdered. But by whom?
With her imaginary friend Teddy by her side and the detecting skills of her nosy next door neighbor, Aoife sets out to uncover the truth about her family. But as her search takes her from the banks of Theo’s secret hideout by the river to the rooftops overlooking Detroit, Aoife will learn that some secrets can’t stay hidden forever and sometimes the pain we bury is the biggest secret of them all.
Driven by Aoife’s childlike sincerity and colored by her vivid imagination, All That’s Bright and Gone illuminates the unshakeable bond between families–and the lengths we’ll go to bring our loved ones home.
Raised in the Detroit suburbs, Eliza Nellums now lives with her cat in Washington DC. She is a member of Bethesda Writer’s Center as well as the Metro Wriders, a weekly critique group that meets in Dupont Circle. Her short story “Changelings” was published in the anthology MAGICAL. ALL THAT’S BRIGHT AND GONE is her first novel.