Elizabeth Fountain lives in Ellensburg, Washington, in the heart of the beautiful and diabolically windy Kittitas Valley. Her professional experiences as a counselor, instructor, university administrator, and failed barista contribute to her fiction and creative non-fiction stories that capture the delight and unintentional humor in everyday life, seen through the eyes of aliens and angels, Death and dogs.
In 2011, Liz left a high-pressure job in higher education administration to return to her first loves: teaching and writing. She completed two comic novels: An Alien’s Guide to World Domination (2013) and You, Jane (2014), both published by BURST! Books (Canada). Her short stories have been included in Randomly Accessed Poetics and Shared Whispers.
Reviewers praise her novels as “unbelievably clever, witty, tongue-in-cheek” and “a good choice for anyone in the mood for something that asks as many questions as it answers.” Liz belongs to the Ellensburg Yarn Spinners, a club devoted to the art of oral storytelling and spoken-word performance, and is thrilled to read aloud to all types of audiences.
Liz blogs at Point No Point, where she hosts other authors and creative types, shares her short stories, poetry, and excerpts from her novels, and her thoughts about creativity, music, travel, friendship, and baseball.
Currently, Liz is working on a new novel that explores what happens when Death wants to retire early, a trilogy of tales about the power of forgiveness and the young girl who finds its formula, and a serial that examines the gentle humor of mid-life reboots, to be released in episodes on her blog.
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Email Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form below.
What’s your story?
I spent my childhood in central Washington state, fleeing to Seattle to go to college; I stayed there for nearly 30 years. I love Seattle: water, mountains, great bookstores and a terrific writing community. In 2011 I left my demanding job there as a university administrator to follow my dream of writing books. Life led me to Ellensburg, back on the east side of the Cascades; with its mix of college- and cow-town, it’s a fascinating, friendly, and funny community that’s welcomed me with open arms.
When did you start writing?
A while back, I was going through boxes in my garage, preparing to sell the house I’d lived in for about 10 years. I found one box oh-so-helpfully labeled “stuff.” Thank you, past self, I muttered, and opened the cardboard flaps to determine just what “stuff” it contained. I found some early poems and songs I wrote back in high school; that was in the early 80’s. I know I wrote stories before that, too, but (fortunately?) none seem to have survived.
In January, 2008, I found myself complaining to a friend about the usual “celebration” of Martin Luther King Jr Day – sales of big-screen televisions at the local malls and big box stores. He challenged me: “So what will you do to celebrate MLK Jr’s life and message that’s different?” That night I started writing my first published novel; it’s a story of a sister and brother who lose and find each other, amidst a whole collection of eccentric humans and aliens who realize that no matter what planet they are from, they belong to one another. My own zany, interplanetary version of the “I Have a Dream” speech? I guess so, in a way. And it hooked me on writing fiction in a big way.
Why do you write?
It’s always been a source of joy to me, playing with words. When I can put them together in a particular order that pleases the eye and ear, and also tells a ripping yarn, it’s a high like no other. I must confess the power to create whole worlds, to bring people and things and places into being by writing on a page, is intoxicating, too. So maybe you could say I write because it’s the best form of self-medication I’ve ever found.
But that leaves out the best part – connecting with readers. In November 2012, I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the third time, writing 50,402 words in thirty days. I posted the novel as I wrote it, and toward the end of the month, I got a note from a reader who threatened never to read another word I wrote if I killed off the faithful dog character! That was a deep thrill – someone was reading, and cared passionately about these characters.
Being human is profoundly about communicating with one another, and writing stories is my way of doing that. I am grateful to have the opportunity and means to do it.
What have you written?
My first novel was published by the BURST! imprint of Champagne Book Group in spring, 2013. It’s that story I began on MLK Jr Day in 2008; five years later, I sent An Alien’s Guide to World Domination out into the world to find where it belongs among readers.
Since then I’ve had a second book published: You Jane, the story of a woman whose ability to write fables that come true wreaks havoc in her life and the lives of her friends, but also brings her own true love, came out in spring 2014.
I’ve published several short stories, and I’m a regular monthly contributor to The Writers Vineyard blog, along with other great Champagne Book Group authors.
What are you writing now?
I’m working on The Life and Death of Saint Guinefort, a tale of Death, dying, and early retirement, along with guilt, redemption, and a magical Dodge van; and a trilogy that starts with The Law of Immediate Forgiveness, a story for young people that follows Amy June Pilgrim on a journey across the country and through her own fear and anger, accompanied by her grandfather and a heroic black Lab named Licky.
A very good friend of mine who is an amazing singer, songwriter, and guitar player likes to say “there are two kinds of musicians: those who are making music, and those who are making excuses.” Then he looks at me and reminds me the same goes for writers.
There are those who are writing, and those who are making excuses.
So yes, Dan, I’m writing… something. I promise.