Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Elissa Grossell Dickey

Elissa Grossell Dickey is a mother, writer, and multiple sclerosis warrior who believes in the power of strong coffee and captivating stories.

Her debut novel is The Speed of Light.

My Q&A with Dickey:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The book’s title, The Speed of Light, is perfect for the story in numerous ways. It refers to the fact that my main character and her love interest are both Star Wars fans, and they watch the movies throughout their relationship. It also refers to the fact that snowflakes falling against a windshield can make it look like you’re flying at light speed. Most of all, it refers to the fact that life can—and does—change quickly, for better or worse, be it a getting devastating diagnosis, meeting a handsome stranger, or enduring a chilling act of violence at work. You never know what life will throw at you, and The Speed of Light shows how one woman navigates this.

What's in a name?

I chose my main character’s name, Simone, basically just because I liked it! But while she’s not named after anyone in particular, I do think the name fits her character, as to me the name invokes a quiet strength.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

I think beginnings are harder, and thus, I tweaked my beginning a lot more. You need to pull the reader into the story at just the right time, giving them enough context that they care about the character, while also making it lively enough that they aren’t bored. For Simone’s story, I ended up starting with her getting her annual MRI, since it’s a unique enough experience to hopefully be interesting to readers, while also providing background as to what she’s dealing with.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

Simone’s journey and her experiences as she goes through her MS diagnosis and comes to terms with her illness are based on my own, so in that way it’s a very personal story to me.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

The book was very much inspired by my own MS diagnosis. Writing this story and my main character’s journey coming to terms with her diagnosis was very therapeutic for me; in a way, I wrote the story I needed when I was first diagnosed. The fact that it debuted on March 1, the first day of MS Awareness Month, made it all the more special.
Visit Elissa Grossell Dickey's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Speed of Light.

The Page 69 Test: The Speed of Light.

--Marshal Zeringue