Almost There: Interview: Author C. Elizabeth Vescio talks Elegantly Wasted

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Interview: Author C. Elizabeth Vescio talks Elegantly Wasted

Over here at Almost There we are huge fans of C. Elizabeth Vescio and Elegantly Wasted. If you want to see how much Tyler liked it you can read her review here. If you don't know what EW is, then go read it (see the links at the bottom of the post)! 

The book is incredibly fun and dangerous and alcohol-infused. We were lucky enough to get an interview with C. Elizabeth Vescio and couldn't be happier with it!

Hope you enjoy!

How did you come up with the title “Elegantly Wasted”?
I’m an 80s kid... one of my favorite bands is INXS and their tenth album goes by the same title. It was the final album recorded by Michael Hutchence before his death. People often forget about the song and the album because it was kind of buried underneath all that scandal. The story progressed as this girl who kills people and is also a teacher at an etiquette school... it fit. Very contradictory terms lol

What made you decide to write about the world of contract killers?
Up until 2009 I had been writing this big science fiction book that never went anywhere. I was frustrated with it and I needed something completely different. I thought maybe I could do a family drama. I have some pretty colorful family members who don’t mind having some of their stories exploited... I started jotting down some ideas and then one day I just remember randomly thinking ‘you know what would make these stories better? A gun.’

Rumor has it that the family in EW is based on your own. True or false?
Ha. True- kind of. It’s very embellished. Like I said, when I needed that change of pace it was totally aimed at a family type story... and my family’s structure is pretty amazing. I’m a bastard child, the different side of my family don’t like each other, my mom and her sisters would go years without talking to over minor issues... my grandmother wasn’t a very nice person... the list goes on.

I thought if I could just write a coming of age story about a black sheep in a chaotic family- that was my angle. I know a lot about that stuff.

If true, how do THEY feel about it?
My family has been overwhelmingly supportive- the members who speak to me anyway.

Kat and Addi are hugely inspired by my cousins, Amanda and Amie. They love it. In the very beginning stages, Amanda was there giving me ideas while she drank wine on her back porch. My mother and her two sisters love it. They aren’t huge characters but they add so much to the story. I’m relieved they love them. I’m relieved they can just stand back and laugh at themselves, imagining this big contract killing ring in the background.

Don’t worry... 75% of the book is just my imagination.

Why do you think readers love Frankie so much?
I have no fucking clue, but I can’t describe how awesome it is.... or I’m terrified, I’m not sure which. I wanted this main character who was flawed... heavily flawed with a major mental imbalance. Killing people isn’t a good thing. Who is this Judah guy and why does he insist she’s a killer? So I gave her this sarcastic outlook on everything. Don’t get me wrong, people who don’t enjoy cynicism absolutely hate Frankie and I’m perfectly okay with that. I think there should be a portion of the population who just wants her to die. However, I’ll be hanging out with her fan club because I fit in much better with those people.

Was there a particular subject you researched the most in writing EW?
Mental illness, drug cartels and guns... a nice broad research group. Needless to say if the government has my Google history, I’m probably on a no-fly list. I grew up around psychologists. Both my aunt Norma and cousin Amie are in the mental health field so I always have them to reference. Amie helps me with types of meds to prescribe my fictional characters too- which is fun.

The entire book is narrated by Frankie (which we LOVE). Was it hard to write the book in her language/tone?
Not at all! She’s a pretty big manifestation of myself. Although, as cynical as I am, she started to wear me out. She’s way intense, and I would imagine she’d be the kind of girl I could only take in small doses. I look at my sister, Dannielle- who is around Frankie’s age- and see what kind of issues she’s dealing with and try to figure out how Frankie would handle the situations. My sister tends to have a short fuse but she’s hysterical- she’s the perfect person to look at and be like- ‘yeah, that’s something Frankie would do.’

We have to ask, on a scale of Kat to Addi, how “into” fashion are you?
Haha... um, probably Addi. Katharine is the one who keeps both Addi and Frankie in the fashion world. Everyone in the Fairholm family was kind of bred to have this elaborate taste in material possessions but Katharine took it and ran with it. She’s the socialite. Addi’s priorities aren’t in how she looks. I honestly don’t think she’d care if Katharine wasn’t shopping with her. So, I’d have to say I’m more of a fashion spectator. I like it... I like brand names- that’s my mother’s influence. However, I like saving money too.

What was the hardest part about writing EW?
Creating an underworld. I don’t want it to be so cliche but at this point in time it’s hard not to to... so I have to make it relatable on the same page. Add a little humor to the dark and you have something that might have been done before, but at least it’s amusing.

What was the easiest?
Creating Frankie. I worked her out in one day, started to write her style of thought and the rest was downhill. Frankie built Elegantly Wasted. Love her or hate her, she’s the reason you’re reading this.

Give us three words that you would use to describe Elegantly Wasted?
classy, gritty, mayhem

What are you working on now?
Book 2 in the series! It’s called Uncontrollably Wasted and it’s due to be released in late August of 2013. I’m excited to actually have a series because now Frankie has a solid foundation and her adventures can be endless... but they won’t be. She’s in the wrong profession to live forever.

Jack of all trades and stereotypical black sheep, C. Elizabeth has been writing somewhat dark and morbid since that teen angst hit in the early 90's- probably because her dad was a mortician. After pursuing a degree in English, she changed gears to photography and design in 2006... although she kept penning stories for fun while reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde and Hemingway (whom she adores even though he was a huge douche canoe). In 2009, her life shifted considerably and she found herself writing Elegantly Wasted- helping her sort out a bunch of stupid feelings and other lame stuff. 

Want more of Cara and Elegantly Wasted?

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